Racing into History March 2, 1940
Willits, California boasts an illustrious and star-studded history, with many of Hollywood's biggest
names, including Clark Gable, Bing Crosby, and Carole Lombard, frequent guests of Charles S. Howard
at Ridgewood Ranch. Perhaps the biggest star of all to grace the grounds was the legendary racehorse,
In 1940, Seabiscuit won the Santa Anita Handicap, smashing records and racing into history as he
cemented his legend and inspired the nation, before retiring a hero at Ridgewood Ranch. Seabiscuit Heritage Foundation and Santa Anita Park commemorated the 75th anniversary of this historic win at the March 2015 Santa Anita Handicap.
In April, we were proud to be part of the 10th Anniversary Mendocino Film Festival Program with the inaugural Seabiscuit Legacy Film Series.
1933 - 1947
“Because Seabiscuit was one of the greatest racehorses who ever lived, his barn is a landmark in sports history. But it's more than that.
Seabiscuit was a beloved popular icon of the 1930s, a rags-to-riches hero who captivated and uplifted a nation stricken by the Great Depression. His barn is a treasure of our history, and it is so fitting that it now occupies a privileged spot on the National Register of Historic Places."
~Laura Hillenbrand, Bestselling Author of Seabiscuit and Unbroken
Seabiscuit's Stud Barn
Thanks to the generosity of the Rotary Club of Willits, Seabiscuit's stud barn was newly restored in 2004 and is now officially listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
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The Seabiscuit Heritage Foundation was established to promote the cultural legacy of Ridgewood Ranch, the home and final resting place of the
legendary racehorse, Seabiscuit,
through historic preservation and
A battered horse named Seabiscuit, along with his owner, Charles Howard, a self made San Francisco businessman, Johnny "Red" Pollard, a down on his luck prize fighter turned jockey and a little known trainer named Tom Smith embodied the American spirit and gave hope to millions of Americans during the darkest economic era our nation has ever faced. With the help of these three men and one victory after another, Seabiscuit lifted the citizens of our country out of the despair of the Great Depression. In 1938, he became the greatest icon of his time garnering more press than President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
The Seabiscuit Heritage Foundation
The Seabiscuit Heritage Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, was formed to promote the cultural legacy of Ridgewood Ranch in Willits, California, the home and final resting place of the legendary racehorse Seabiscuit through historic preservation, environmental conservation and public education.
With the recent development of Glenn Riddle Farm (now a multi-million dollar gated community with two golf courses) home of Seabiscuit's arch rival War Admiral and Seabiscuit's great grandsire, the legendary Man 'O War, Ridgewood Ranch becomes one of the few remaining sites that can remind of us of a time in our history when a little racehorse with a big heart captured an entire nation.
Without a focused historic preservation and land conservation effort, Ridgewood Ranch is at risk for development and too could be lost.
The National Trust for Historic Preservation recently designated Ridgewood Ranch as one of America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places.
The Seabiscuit Heritage Foundation is dedicated to preserving the remaining 5,000 acres of Charles Howard's Ridgewood Ranch by restoring historic buildings and conserving the Ranch's creeks, oak woodlands, old growth redwoods and open rangeland. The SHF is working closely with the Mendocino Land Trust to purchase conservation easements to limit development and protect resources through a permanent deed restriction. The Foundation is collaborating with the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and others, to secure historic preservation easements for the historic sites on the property and to rehabilitate and preserve the Howard family residential buildings, the mare barn and other ranch structures.
» Home of Legendary Racehorse, Seabiscuit Achieved Historic Status - Stud Barn officially listed in the U.S. National Register of Historic Places
» Seabiscuit's Gravesite: Where is Seabiscuit Buried?
» National Register of Historic Places Nomination Sought for Seabiscuit Stud Barn
The Foundation's Goal
The Foundation's ultimate goal is to create a living museum by continuing Ridgewood's 150-year history as a working ranch. The Foundation is committed to develop, maintain and expand educational programs that reflect the broad cultural heritage of the Ranch, including the occupation by the Northern Pomo Indians and the development of the land as a working ranch by a succession of owners, including Charles Howard who retired his champion racehorse Seabiscuit here in 1940. The Foundation will focus on recreational and interpretive programs that will increase public access and enhance the understanding of Ridgewood Ranch as a rich historical, cultural and natural resource.
The Seabiscuit Heritage Foundation will carry on the legacy of Charles Howard and the Golden Rule Church Association.
Help Us Preserve Ridgewood Ranch
Individuals interested in directly contributing to the preservation and conservation of Ridgewood Ranch should send a donation to the Seabiscuit Heritage Foundation at 16200 North Highway 101, Willits, CA 95490.
Donate Online using PayPal - it's fast, free and secure.
For more information call Toll free: (877) 459-5992 or (707) 459-5992 or contact us.
Keep informed on the restoration and conservation projects as they happen at the ranch. Find out about our upcoming events and ongoing programs. Join or mailing list on the Stay Up To Date page.