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Racing into History: Willits Hosts Inaugural Seabiscuit Legacy Film Series

Celebrate 75th Anniversary at Santa Anita Park

Seabiscuit's Stud Barn listed in National Register of Historic Places

Home of Seabiscuit Gets Historic Status


May 14, 2015 | Download PDF version of this Release


Racing into History: Willits Hosts Inaugural Seabiscuit Legacy Film Series
Mendocino Film Festival and Seabiscuit Heritage Foundation
Present New Program - Sunday, May 31

Seabiscuit Legacy Film Series in Willits CaliforniaWILLITS, CA - Willits 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, Seabiscuit.

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. That same year, Noyo Theatre was founded. Now, 75 years later, as the Mendocino Film Festival celebrates an anniversary of its own, the remarkable hidden history of Willits is at the center of the Seabiscuit Legacy Film Series, which features award-winning films, a panel discussion on the history of film at Ridgewood Ranch, the present-day therapeutic riding program, a guided ranch tour, and a 1940s-themed reception.

On Sunday, May 31, the Mendocino Film Festival will launch the Seabiscuit Legacy Film Series, honoring horses that embody the spirit of hope that Seabiscuit instilled in his fans and in generations since. In partnership with the Seabiscuit Heritage Foundation, the Mendocino Film Festival will restore an old tradition to the Festival's newest venue.

“My great-grandfather Charles S. Howard and his wife Marcela loved the fine old Hollywood classics,” according to Colonel Michael Howard, family historian and a panelist at this year's Seabiscuit Legacy Film Series. "They hosted many 'movie nights' at Ridgewood Ranch with their inside links to Hollywood (particularly through Bing & Dixie Crosby)."

The inaugural Seabiscuit Legacy Film Series, hosted by Cynthia Ariosta, will pay homage to that rich heritage.

"This year's Willits program presents films with a focus on extraordinary equines that live up to the legacy of Seabiscuit as a beacon of hope and films that explore the history of Seabiscuit and Ridgewood Ranch," says Mendocino Film Festival Executive Director Michael Fox. "As we celebrate two major milestones for Noyo Theatre and Ridgewood Ranch, we look forward to celebrating many more."

"We are thrilled to partner with the Mendocino Film Festival in hosting the Seabiscuit Legacy Film Series at Ridgewood Ranch, including films that exemplify Seabiscuit's winning spirit," agrees Jacqueline Cooper, president of the Seabiscuit Heritage Foundation. "The horse continues to inspire!"

The program opens with a ranch tour at 10:00 am. Three films will screen at Ridgewood Ranch, starting at 12:00 pm: The Making of a Legend: Seabiscuit's 1940 Victory at Santa Anita Park, compiled by Kip Hannan, Ridgewood Ranch -- Home of Seabiscuit, a project by Mendocino County Museum featuring original cinematography by Dr. "Doc" Raymond Babcock, and Riding My Way Back, the story of a veteran battling PTSD and the horse who saved him. A panel discussion follows the films.

Colonel Michael Howard will represent the Howard family on the panel. He is the great-grandson of C.S. Howard and a decorated veteran, as well as the official Howard Family historian and primary source for Laura Hillenbrand's best-seller Seabiscuit: An American Legend. He will be joined by local luminaries Erin Holzhauer, program director and instructor at the Ridgewood T.R.A.I.L. program, and Alison Glassey, director of the Mendocino County Museum.

Then, a 1940s-themed reception at the historic Howard House transports attendees back to a bygone era.

The reception begins at 1:00 pm and will be held at the historic Howard House, with the Dorian May Trio crooning Bing Crosby songs and other tunes typical of the era. A 1938 Buick and a 1941 Buick will be on display in a nod to C.S. Howard's background as west-coast Buick automobile magnate. During the reception, author Roni McFadden will sign copies of her book, Josephine - A Tale of Hope and Happy Endings, the heartwarming true story of one of the bravest "Lil' Biscuits." The menu will feature hors d'oeuvres and fine wines by Seabiscuit Ranch and Barra of Mendocino.

Screening at Noyo Theatre at 4:00 pm, Harry & Snowman concludes the 2015 program. Harry& Snowman tells the poignant and inspiring true story of Dutch immigrant Harry deLeyer and the old plowhorse he rescued from a trip to the slaughterhouse -- and their subsequent victories as national show jumping champions. This underdog story speaks to the power of friendship and determination. Karin Reid Offield, founder of "Brek-n-Ridge Farm," executive producer of Harry & Snowman and competitive hunter, jumper, and dressage trainer, will be present for a Q&A. Karin's original archival footage of Harry deLeyer and Snowman was an essential part of the film.

Tickets are now on sale. For film tickets and information, visit For ranch tour and reception tickets, please visit A portion of the proceeds benefit the Ridgewood T.R.A.I.L. therapeutic riding program, now serving veterans. (

The Seabiscuit Legacy Film Series is made possible by the generosity of many supporters, including Noyo Theatre, Barra of Mendocino, Maple Hill Stables Company, Veit Automotive Foundation, Baechtel Creek Inn, Mendocino County Museum, Neartown Animal Clinic, Shanachie Pub, Frank R. Howard Memorial Hospital, Sparetime Supply, Ag Unlimited Farm Supply, Out and About Media, and Santa Anita Park.

Special Thanks to Early Iron of Ukiah Car Club, Tres Bien Creamery, Silvestri Machine Shop, Ridgewood T.R.A.I.L. Riders Association, Willits Rotary Club, and the Frank R. Howard Foundation.

Download PDF version of this Release

View details of the event film series


March 2, 2015


on the 75th Anniversary of their
Final Victory at Santa Anita Park
- Arcadia, CA -

"May the world never forget the magnificent Seabiscuit!" - Laura Hillenbrand,
Best-Selling Author of
“Seabiscuit, An American Legend”

On March 7, 2015, the Seabiscuit Heritage Foundation (SHF) and Santa Anita Park will celebrate the 75th Anniversary of Seabiscuit and Red Pollard's history-making win in the Santa Anita Handicap of March 2, 1940.

This historic race made Seabiscuit the world's top money earner of his day:  $437,730 --- almost $2.3 million in today's dollars and it almost didn't happen!  Seabiscuit was seven years old and both he and his jockey, Red Pollard, had just recovered from what appeared to be career-ending injuries.  78,000 race fans wildly cheered them to victory as Seabiscuit broke the Santa Anita track record at the time.

Santa Anita Park announced plans to host a post-race screening of the 2003 blockbuster hit movie "Seabiscuit" following the races on Saturday, February 28. The film, based on Laura Hillenbrand's book, was nominated for seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture, starred Tobey Maguire, Jeff Bridges, Chris Cooper, Elizabeth Banks, William H. Macy and Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens, an honorary Seabiscuit Heritage Foundation board member.  Directed by Gary Ross, "Seabiscuit" is regarded by many as perhaps the greatest racetrack-themed film of all-time. Unfortunately, this event was cancelled due to inclement weather.

Festivities on March 7th will include a presentation of a stunning bronze sculpture of Seabiscuit and Red Pollard titled "Final Victory", replicating the dynamic image as horse and rider cross the finish line, to the 2015 Santa Anita Handicap champion by Seabiscuit Heritage Foundation president, Jacqueline Cooper. "It is an honor to help commemorate the 75th anniversary of this historic achievement at Santa Anita Park. Seabiscuit was a depression-era hero that, thanks to Laura Hillenbrand, continues to inspire. The horse embodies hope." said Cooper. Seabiscuit's owner, C.S. Howard, one of Santa Anita's original investors, would have been pleased.

The winning jockey will receive a St. Christopher medal from Dr. June Donaldson, Media and SHF Public Relations Director.  Apparently, prior to the 1940 race, Marcela Howard, Seabiscuit's registered owner, pinned a St. Christopher's medal on the left side of Seabiscuit's saddle blanket and Agnes Pollard (Red Pollard's wife) had given him the same medal to wear in the race, thus the significance of this gift.  

Dr. Donaldson will also present the winning jockey with an inscribed copy of a poem written by Norah Pollard Christianson.  The poem is called "Questions I Never Asked My Father" and it is from Norah Pollard's book of poems called "Leaning In".  This touching tribute relates to Pollard and his passion for his craft.

The March 7 program will further include a chance for race fans to win a dazzling, limited edition, Seabiscuit print from the Howard family private collection.  The original artwork was commissioned by Marcela Howard and said to be a personal favorite. Proceeds are in support of ongoing historic preservation and conservation efforts of Seabiscuit Heritage Foundation at historic Ridgewood Ranch, home and final resting place of the legendary racehorse.  Members of the Howard and Pollard families will be present to participate in the celebration.

The Seabiscuit Heritage Foundation will also have a display table at the Big 'Cap where information on the Foundation, membership, Ridgewood Ranch - home of Seabiscuit - tour information and Seabiscuit buttons will be available to racing fans.
The Foundation and Santa Anita Park are honored to have received the following tribute from Walter F. Mondale, former Vice President of the United States, SHF Honorary Board Member and supporter:

"Congratulations to the Seabiscuit Heritage Foundation of Willits, CA and Santa Anita Park of Arcadia, CA for joining together to celebrate the 75th anniversary of Seabiscuit and Red Pollard winning the coveted Santa Anita Handicap of $100,000 on March 2, 1940.  That historic win was their last ride together and resulted in Seabiscuit becoming the highest money-earner of his time.  To think that 75 years after that monumental win, this legendary horse and beloved jockey will be celebrated at Santa Anita on March 7, 2015, is joyful proof that hard work, determination and belief in oneself are still time- honored qualities.  Best wishes to all as you celebrate this special day!"

Plan to join us at Santa Anita Park on March 7 for what promises to be a special day in a glorious setting, celebrating true heroes who represented the American dream.



May 23, 2014



March 2, 1940, Santa Anita Handicap $100,000 win, Arcadia, CA

“As dusk fell, Pollard walked up.  Smith put his hand out to him.
‘Red, you put up a great ride today.’  ‘I got a great ride,’ Pollard said.
‘The greatest ride I ever got from the greatest horse that ever lived.’ ”

‘Little horse, what next?’ a newspaper would read the next morning” 
“Seabiscuit – An American Legend” Laura Hillenbrand 

Willits, California, May 23, 2014 – Tributes poured in today at the formal recognition, plaque unveiling and celebration of Seabiscuit’s stud barn at Ridgewood Ranch in Willits, California listing in the National Register of Historic Places. 

This celebration date is the 81st anniversary of Seabiscuit’s birth.  It is significant that 74 years after Seabiscuit’s record setting win of the 1940 Santa Anita Handicap, he is still recognized, loved and celebrated.  The festivities kicked off with a guided ranch tour with the formal plaque unveiling and with a recognition program at noon.

Endorsements were heartfelt with VICE PRESIDENT WALTER F. MONDALE providing this written statement: 

“My family and I were delighted to learn of Seabiscuit’s stud barn at Ridgewood Ranch being listed in the National Register of Historic Places.  I know that Joan would have been thrilled with this news as she was a long-term, devoted Seabiscuit fan. “
The Vice President and his late wife visited Ridgewood Ranch in May, 2009 where Joan unveiled a commemorative Seabiscuit – War Admiral stamp.  “Once again, Seabiscuit’s memory is honored and I couldn’t be more pleased.  Congratulations to the Seabiscuit Heritage Foundation on realizing this special recognition.”

LAURA HILLENBRANDphenomenal best-selling author of the critically acclaimed book “Seabiscuit, An American Legend”, a book that spent 42 weeks as #1 on the New York Times Best Seller list, and resulted in the movie “Seabiscuit”, nominated for 7 academy awards including best picture, added this written statement:

“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 1930’s, 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.”

GARY STEVENS, Hall of Fame racing jockey, actor, television personality, sports analyst, and 2013 Sportsman of the Year sent a note of congratulations stating:

“Having had the privilege of playing the part of George Woolf in the movie “Seabiscuit” I’m honored to comment on the significance of Seabiscuit’s stud barn at Ridgewood Ranch in Willits, California being listed in the National Register of Historic Places.  The fact that Seabiscuit continues to be recognized in such a noteworthy way tells us that Seabiscuit connected with human hearts not only on the race track but in a far broader way.  His determination and resiliency in facing numerous challenges and setbacks is a lesson for us all.  He showed us what can happen when people, from very different walks of life, band together to give each other hope, support and opportunity.  I have been blessed to ride many spectacular horses.  I wish Seabiscuit had been one of them.  Congratulations to the Seabiscuit Heritage Foundation on their success in having Seabiscuit’s stud barn recognized in such a meaningful way.”

A wide range of international guests, racing enthusiasts, horse lovers, public officials, historic preservationists, land conservationists and community members paid tribute to Seabiscuit, the legendary, beloved, underdog, race horse who inspired men, women and children during the 1930’s Great Depression, giving them hope to carry on. 

Ardent supporters included the property owners, members of the Golden Rule Church Association, who granted hearty approval for the Seabiscuit Heritage Foundation to move forward with the nomination to the National Register, now officially accepted by US Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, the National Park Service, the National Register of Historic Places staff, and by unanimous vote, the California Historic Resource Commission with the recommendation of State Historian William Burg.

“While Seabiscuit’s racing career ended prior to the construction of the stud barn, owner Charles Howard held the racehorse in such high esteem that he constructed a new barn, luxurious by equine standards, for Seabiscuit’s use.  The barn featured a guestbook signed by over 5,000 visitors between 1940 and 1947.”  stated Burg in his staff report, adding the building is significant based on the property’s role in horse racing history and tourism.

Mayor Holly Madrigal, Mayor, City of Willits and Supervisor Dan Hamburg of the District of Mendocino Countypresented proclamations in honor of the achievement to Tracy Livingston, Board Chairman of the Seabiscuit Heritage Foundation. 

SHF President, Jacqueline Cooper, recognized honorary board members Vice President Walter Mondale, Laura Hillenbrand, and hall of fame jockey Gary Stevens for their support, as well as internationally recognized artist Stan Watts of Atlas Bronze Casting who donated the bronze plaque. Watts is also known for his work on the life-size statue of the champion racehorse adorning the lawn adjacent to Howard House.   

Also recognized were committed historic preservationists Mike Garavaglia and Becky Urbano of Garavaglia Achitecture, San Franciso; great grandson of Charles Howard, Col. Michael Howard (Ret.) US Marines and his wife Lynn Howard who provided a historical review; members of the Rotary Club of Willits who sponsored the Seabiscuit stud barn rehabilitation in 2004 and a tasteful event reception; Dr. Barbara Mack and Maureen Moore for pictorial documentation and nomination photos;

In addition, Cooper expressed appreciation for important partnerships with entities such as the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Whereas Ridgewood Ranch had been declared one of America’s 11 most threatened historic sites in 2004, the National Trust and others are now working with the foundation in securing funding for a historic preservation management plan, to include Seabiscuit’s stud barn and other ranch buildings remaining from the Howard era. While the listing in the National Register of Historic Places may protect the place Seabiscuit called home, there are other related, historic structures the foundation hopes to save from demolition. 

Mendocino County Museum and the Willits Chamber of Commerce and were recognized for their support in promoting both Seabiscuit and Ridgewood Ranch as a destination site that contributes to the local economy.

Hal Wagenet, Chair of Visit Mendocino County, Inc. stated “Seabiscuit made his mark in the big world and retired to the pleasures of country living in Mendocino County. The Stud Barn is a welcome addition to the stable of heritage treasures sprinkled around the county, just waiting to be discovered.”

Tracy Livingston, SHF Chairman presented a Lifetime Achievement award to board member Emeritus and author, William (Bill) Nichols for literary contributions to the legacy of Seabiscuit and contributions to the Thoroughbred Breeding Industry. Nichols, who owned and bred one of Seabiscuit’s most successful grandsons, Sea Orbit, was a Charles Howard/Ridgewood Ranch employee in the 1940’s and a founding member of Seabiscuit Heritage Foundation board. Nichols also contributed as a source to Hillenbrand’s best-seller. 

USMC Col. Michael Howard (ret.) Great Grandparents Charles and Marcela Howard and Howard family historian expressed his thanks on behalf of the Howard family for all that the Willits community is doing regarding its special heritage with the Howards, both Ridgewood Ranch and Howard Memorial Hospital. “My Mom, who passed away a few months ago, who gave me the gift of life, a reverence for God, and a patriotic spirit, loved the work that all of you do to preserve the past here at Ridgewood Ranch and at the hospital.” he added.

Jack and Ida Lowe, Canadian ranchers and patrons of the Seabiscuit/George Woolf life sized bronze located at the Remington Carriage Museum in Cardston, Alberta, Canada, which houses the largest collection of horse drawn vehicles in North America, joined the celebration.  

A colorful Mendocino County Sheriff’s Mounted Posse Color Guard entertained guests; children floated balloons; and visitors enjoyed interacting with Seabiscuit descendants, Washoe Valley Sal and Dashing Lil’Biscuit.

The formal presentation wrapped up with a meticulously customized plaque by sculptor and artist, Stan Watts, President of Atlas Bronze Casting of Kearns Utah, being unveiled by USMC Col. Michael Howard (ret.) and Jacqueline Cooper.  This stunning tribute will be positioned outside Seabiscuit stud barn at Ridgewood Ranch, Mendocino County, California.

Dr. June Donaldson of Calgary, Alberta, Canada, the home province of Seabiscuit’s jockeys, Red Pollard and George Woolf, was MC and she wrapped up the program with an invitation to all present to attend a reception sponsored by the Rotary Club of Willits held at the historic Howard House.  

Visitors were invited to join Seabiscuit’s winning team by joining the winner’s circle. ( Special Seabiscuit memorabilia was made available to members, including a limited edition Seabiscuit print from the Howard family private collection. The original was personally commissioned by Marcela Howard and is said to have been a favorite. 
Guests also purchased select Seabiscuit art by Donna Stropes and Seabiscuit Ranch wine.  Rene Watts and Stacey Liddiard represented Stan Watts stunning bronze artistry.  Both authors William Nichols and Jack Lowe signed books commemorating the legend.

Out and About Media ( captured the celebration to be televised at a later date.
Event photos available by contacting Maureen Moore at or 

The Seabiscuit Heritage Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, formed to promote and protect the cultural legacy of Ridgewood Ranch in Willits, California, the home and final resting place of the legendary racehorse, Seabiscuit, through historic preservation and environmental conservation.

S E A B I S C U I T   H E R I T A G E   F O U N D A T I O N
16200 N. Hwy 101, Willits CA 95490 Tel.: 707/459-5992
s e a b i s c u i t h e r i t a g e. o r g


February 3, 2014

Home of Legendary Racehorse Seabiscuit

Achieved Historic Status

Seabiscuit's Stud BarnWillits, CA -- On January 22, 2014 Seabiscuit’s stud barn, located at Ridgewood Ranch in Willits, California was officially listed in the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.

The 15-month nomination process conducted by Seabiscuit Heritage Foundation ( president, Jacqueline Cooper, was supported by individuals around the world, including Howard family historian, Col. Michael Howard, US Marines (ret.) and organizatiosns such as Santa Anita Park, Rotary Club of Willits, as well as the property owner, Golden Rule Church Association.

During a recent California State Historical Resource Commission meeting, William Burg, State Historian, stated: “While Seabiscuit’s racing career ended prior to the construction of the Stud Barn, owner Charles Howard held the racehorse in such high esteem that he constructed a new barn, luxurious by equine standards, for Seabiscuit’s use. The barn featured a guestbook signed by over 5,000 visitors between 1940 and 1947.” Burg went on to say the building is significant based on the property’s role in horse racing history and tourism.

Laura Hillenbrand, celebrated best-selling author of "Seabiscuit - An American Legend" said:

"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."

Artist Stan Watts of Atlas Bronze Casting, who produced a life-size memorial statue dedicated to the champion racehorse installed at Ridgewood Ranch plans to donate a plaque commemorating the achievement.

Charles and Marcela Howard once said: “Seabiscuit belongs to the people”. After all these years, we can be certain he still does.

Media Contact: Dr. June Donaldson

Seabiscuit Heritage Foundation

Media and Public Relations Director

760 321-7681 or 403 861-7700


March 1, 2013 | Arcadia, CA

Santa Anita Park supports Seabiscuit Heritage Foundation Efforts

Santa Anita Park supports Nomination of Seabiscuit's Stud Barn and Ridgewood Ranch as a U.S. National Historic Site

Have YOUR NAME go down in history by supporting Santa Anita Park and the non-profit Seabiscuit Heritage Foundation on the 73rd Anniversary of Seabiscuit and Red Pollard's big win of the "Hundred-Grander" Santa Anita Handicap on March 2, 1940.

Sign below to support the application now underway to have Seabiscuit's stud barn at the Ridgewood Ranch in Willits, CA, Seabiscuit's final home, designated as a US National Historic Site!


Meet Stan Watts, artist/sculptor who, in collaboration with Kim Corpany, sculptor, created the stunning bronze of Red Pollard and Seabiscuit at the finish line of their big "Hundred-Grander" win; a bronze that is for sale to support the Foundation. The other bronze for sale is of George Woolf and Seabiscuit on a morning workout. These items, and other Seabiscuit memorabilia, are available at the Seabiscuit table in the paddock area.

How to submit your nomination: Please sign below to support the historic site nomination and leave this at the Seabiscuit table in the paddock area; or mail it to the Seabiscuit Heritage Foundation at 16200 North Hwy 101, Willits, CA 95490; or scan and email it to Tracy Livingston, President of the Foundation, will be at the Seabiscuit table to answer any questions.

DOWNLOAD Press Release and Form to sign and submit

TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN: Reference: Nomination. Please accept this as my letter of support for the Seabiscuit stud barn in Willits, California to be designated as a historic site with the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. (Click for Form to mail or scan)

Print Name: _______________________________ Signature: __________________________________

Address: ____________________________________________________________________________

City: ______________________________ State/Prov: ______________ Zip/Postal: ________________

Pictures of Seabiscuit's beautifully restored barn, thanks in part to the Rotary Club of Willits, and additional copies of this brochure are at Thank you for supporting this heart-warming project. May you always be first at the finish line!

Seabiscuit Heritage Foundation Bronze Statues

Download a full color brochure for more information about the beautiful bronzes, "Final Victory" and "Morning Workout", as well as backgrounds of artists and sculptors, Stan Watts and Kim Corpany. Sales support the Foundation.

Download Brochure


November 15, 2012 | Willits, CA


The Seabiscuit Heritage Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to preserving and protecting the cultural legacy of Ridgewood Ranch, home and final resting place of the legendary racehorse, plans to submit a National Register of Historic Places nomination for Seabisuit's restored stud barn and is garnering support both locally and internationally. 

"Seabiscuit's home at Ridgewood Ranch is a resource of significant importance and an integral connection to the local culture and history of the Willits community and Mendocino County" stated Alan R. Falleri, Community Development Director of the City of Willits. In addition to providing people who have enjoyed and appreciated the inspirational story of Seabiscuit the ability to visit the very place that he lived, and the important economic benefit to the area that Ridgewood Ranch offers as a tourist attraction, Ridgewood Ranch is a source of great pride within the community. "

Lynn Kennelly, Executive Director of the Willits Chamber of Commerce also commented: "Ridgewood Ranch, with its rich and diverse history, is an important economic stimulus establishing Willits as a destination for tourism within Northern California. The Willits Chamber applauds the Seabiscuit Heritage Foundation's ( efforts to preserve and protect the heritage of Ridgewood Ranch for current and future generations from all over the world to enjoy."

Celebrated author and honorary SHF board member Laura Hillenbrand, in support of an SHF-hosted "Bid for the Biscuit" online auction (, shared the news with friends and fans through her social network encouraging them to bid.

Longtime California Congressman Mike Thompson strongly supports the nomination of Seabiscuit's stud barn to the National Register of Historic Places, applauding the dedication and vision of Seabiscuit Heritage Foundation, along with the local community including the Rotary Club of Willits, for doing outstanding work to restore and preserve Seabiscuit's stud barn and other historic structures at Ridgewood Ranch.

In an official letter, Congressman Thompson stated, "I join the Seabiscuit Heritage Foundation in nominating Seabiscuit's stud barn to the National Register so that this legacy will receive the official recognition it merits." and added, "The legendary racehorse served as an icon of hope and possibility for millions of Americans by persevering and becoming a national hero during a major time of distress in our country. Since the 1930s, Seabiscuit's barn and the historical Ridgewood Ranch adjacent to US Highway 101 between Ukiah and Willits in northern California have drawn visitors, making this location an outstanding treasure and point of interest in Mendocino County."

In related events, Seabiscuit's primary jockey, Red Pollard, of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada was honored posthumously this past August when 79 St. NW in Edmonton became the "Red Pollard Way" while his friend, George "The Iceman" Woolf, another famous Seabiscuit pilot, was recently memorialized in a stunning bronze in Cardston, Alberta. Dr. June A. Donaldson of Calgary, Alberta, instrumental in the naming of "Red Pollard Way", visited Ridgewood Ranch this summer and met with SHF leaders. "I fully support their efforts to have the beautifully restored Seabiscuit stud barn declared a US historic site. Along with it being a beautiful and spiritual building, it is the right and honorable thing to do for this horse. "

Numerous letters of support for the National Register nomination have already been received from various International sources. The SHF strongly encourages Seabiscuit fans and admirers everywhere to add their own letters and emails of support for the application nomination, addressed to Seabiscuit Heritage Foundation, 16200 North Highway 101, Willits, CA 95490 ( These letters can play a significant role in ensuring the nomination's success.

"We cannot lose the Seabiscuit story to time. We must tell it and celebrate it and one of the best ways to do that is to support the many Seabiscuit Heritage Foundation initiatives - and this is one of them. In that way, Seabiscuit too will be honored in a permanent, significant and visible way, as it should be!" concluded Dr. Donaldson.

Friends of Seabiscuit will surely agree.


October 17, 2012 | Willits, CA

National Register of Historic Places Nomination Sought for Seabiscuit Stud Barn

Non-Profit seeks to Preserve and Protect Historic Treasure

Seabiscuit Stud Barn National Register of Historic Places Nomination Nonprofit seeks to preserve historic treasure
    Photos by Dr. Barbara Mack

All those associated with and are admirers of the legendary racehorse Seabiscuit, will be pleased to learn a National Register of Historic Places nomination is sought for his stud barn.  Many would agree, Seabiscuit’s home, Ridgewood Ranch, is very special and memorable, including the Seabiscuit Heritage Foundation board seeking the nomination with the support of members and friends such as honorary board member Laura Hillenbrand, author of the best-sellers Seabiscuit and Unbroken. (

SHF spokesperson Jacqueline Cooper states, “I know people recognize the importance of the mission of the foundation, and I am glad to have the opportunity to still be involved and bring folks up-to-date regarding the organization’s activities and positive achievements.”

The not-for-profit public benefit corporation, specializing in historic preservation and land conservation, seeks to preserve and protect the cultural legacy of Ridgewood, a 5,000 acre ranch nestled in the oak and old growth Redwood studded woodlands of northern California.

One of the projects generating renewed excitement is the current restoration of the historic Carriage House at Ridgewood, in addition to the nomination to the National Register of Historic Places of Seabiscuit’s stud barn where Seabiscuit enjoyed his life and retirement. Newly restored in 2004, thanks to the generosity of the Rotary Club of Willits, the site continues to draw hundreds of visitors each tour season. 

The California State Office for Historic Preservation is working with the nominating party (SHF) in completing the nomination process estimated at 6 mo. - 1 year. If approved, inclusion in the California Register of Historical Resources is automatic and the National Register of Historic Places listing may be celebrated with a public ceremony sponsored by Seabiscuit Heritage Foundation with a commemorative bronze plaque. This generally produces positive public feedback and qualification to pursue Federal grants for historic preservation, when funds are available.

This effort by Seabiscuit Heritage Foundation is pursued with the expressed permission of the property owner, the Golden Rule Church Association. The foundation hopes to establish that criteria for a nomination have been met, including a pattern of American history and the association to Individuals such as the Howard family, as well as architecture and craftsmanship regarding alterations made, including similarity of materials used to determine restoration efforts retained historic integrity.

To aid the effort supporters are encouraged to visit Public letters of support addressed to Seabiscuit Heritage Foundation ( could be included with a nomination application and forwarded on to Washington D.C. 


Seabiscuit Stud Barn
    Photos by Dr. Barbara Mack



October 12, 2011

Seabiscuit and Parducci to Kick-off Mendocino County Wine & Mushroom Festival on November 4, 2011

Ranked Among Top 6 Food Festivals in the Nation by

Willits, California is centrally located to the majestic Redwoods, the gorgeous Mendocino Coast, and California’s Greenest Wine Region, with over 60 boutique and well known wineries. Unspoiled, a delightful destination! Every fall, Mendocino County has its 10-day Wine & Mushroom Festival with everything from mushroom dinners, wine and food pairing workshops, mushroom exhibits, guided mushroom foraging walks and much more, yielding it one of top six food festivals in the nation by

On Friday, November 4, 2011 Seabiscuit Heritage Foundation and Mendocino Wine Co., in cooperation with Visit Mendocino County, Inc.( are proud to present two fabulous events to kick off the annual festival.  Seabiscuit, wine and mushroom aficionados will enjoy a docent-led walking tour of historic Ridgewood Ranch-Home of the legendary racehorse, followed by reception at Parducci Wine Cellars, ( Mendocino County’s oldest and greenest winery. (For more information or to reserve visit

Parducci with deep roots and legendary wines, is committed to sustainable winegrowing practices that yield top quality grapes and wines while protecting the environment supporting the community and local farmers. Guests will enjoy wine tasting and mushroom hors’ d'oeuvres, featuring Parducci Pinot Noir, Paul Dolan Pinot Noir Organically Grown and Paul Dolan Filigreen Pinot Noir Bio-dynamically Grown wines, plus True Grit Petite Syrah. Carriage rides by Lynette Rose reminiscent of yesteryear will round out the evening (weather permitting), as well as fine art by Priscilla Gaston, a book signing by local author Roni McFadden. Endorsed by Laura Hillenbrand, McFadden published an inspirational children's book featuring a Seabiscuit descendant overcoming incredible odds when orphaned at four days of age.

Six Celebrity Mushroom Cook-off Judges are expected guests of honor: Sue Elliott from Popular Plates, Katie Arnold Ratliffe from O', The Oprah Magazine, Sara Schneider from Sunset Magazine, Gibson Thomas from Edible Marin & Wine Country, Elizabeth Turner from Vegetarian Times and Diane Werner from Taste of Home, a Reader’s Digest Association publication. Proceeds from this special event are in support of ongoing historic preservation efforts by the Seabiscuit Heritage Foundation, such as the restoration of the historic Carriage house at Ridgewood Ranch.

Ridgewood is historically unique in its association with the renowned racehorse Seabiscuit, who lived here during a period of recuperation from injury in 1939 and enjoyed his retirement at the ranch from 1940-47. Although racehorse owner Charles Howard purchased the 16,000 acre ranch in 1921 as a cattle ranch and country home, he transformed it into a thoroughbred facility unparalleled in the state. That the ranch became home and final resting place of Seabiscuit makes it unique. That so many of Howard's ranch buildings still stand - testimony to horse racing's heyday of the 1930's and 1940's - adds to Ridgewood's historical significance.

More than twenty buildings survive from Seabiscuit and ranch owner Charles Howard's legacy. He constructed most of the buildings for his 1930s - 40s Thoroughbred operation. Seabiscuit's specially constructed stud barn serves as a centerpiece and has been newly restored in 2004 thanks to the generosity of the Rotary Club of Willits, California. A few structures utilized by Howard date back to entrepreneur William Van Arsdale. Besides his 1905 Craftsman home and Carriage House, which may be architecturally significant, Van Arsdale's most important contribution to Ridgewood Ranch was an elaborate water system and a hydroelectric powerhouse.


The Seabiscuit Heritage Foundation is a 501 (c) 3 charitable nonprofit organization formed in 2004
to promote the cultural legacy of Seabiscuit through historic preservation and environmental conservation.
For further information or to make a contribution, contact:
 Seabiscuit Heritage Foundation @Ridgewood Ranch
 16200 North Hwy. 101, Willits, CA 95490
 Tel. 707.459.5992/Fax: 707.459.5969

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Ridgewood Ranch
Photography Workshop

November 12-13, 2011 
Ridgewood Ranch is very pleased to announce a weekend of photographic discovery with George Ward, one of America's leading landscape photographers. An enduring presence in American landscape photography for almost 30 years, Ward's stunning images have been widely featured in national publications, including regular appearances in the Audubon Society and Sierra Club calendars and note cards. Magazine credits include Sierra, Newsweek, Outside, Backpacker, Outdoor Photographer, Nature's Best, Smithsonian and Sunset.

Limited tickets available.
For more information or to reserve click here.



New Howard Foundation Wellness Center & Historic Preservation Efforts
by the Seabiscuit Heritage Foundation Supported

Best-Selling author Laura Hillenbrand Honored with Special Statue 

Willits, CA, May 22, 2010 – Friends, fans and supporters of the legacy of Seabiscuit and Charles S. Howard gathered together at Ridgewood Ranch, the home of the horseracing legend Seabiscuit in celebration of a Seabiscuit themed art exhibition and benefit auction on the Anniversary of the first patient admitted at Frank R. Howard Memorial Hospital in 1928 and the Anniversary of Seabiscuit’s birth on Saturday, May 23, 1933. 

The festive evening included artwork depicting the legacy of the Great American horse racing icon in a variety of styles and media, show tunes of the 30’s and 40’s by the accomplished pianist David Lisle and such “Hollywood Luminaries” portrayed by talented community actors, such as Clark Gable, Carol Lombard, Bing Crosby, Shirley Temple and John Wayne, as would have frequented the ranch in the days of Seabiscuit, Charles and Marcela Howard. Noted radio host and actor Justin Briggs conducted the lively live auction and Black Bart poetry reading at the conclusion of the evening. 

Numerous community artists generously agreed to participate in the event with their works featured at auction and for exhibit. “We are truly touched by the generous show of support of our community artists and beyond.” noted Jacqueline Cooper, Executive Director of the Seabiscuit Heritage Foundation. 

The event, in support of Frank R. Howard Foundation currently raising funds for a new Frank R. Howard Foundation Wellness Center, as well as the continued historic preservation efforts of historic Ridgewood Ranch led by the Seabiscuit Heritage Foundation, also honored Laura Hillenbrand, author of the best-seller Seabiscuit – An American Legend for her contribution to the community of Willits.  

Seabiscuit’s owner Charles Howard devoted himself to turn a tragic event, the untimely loss of his son, into our ultimate good by funding the Frank R. Howard Memorial Hospital in Willits and thereby benefitting generations to come. Since 1928, Frank R. Howard Memorial Hospital has served the community of Willits and northern Mendocino County with distinction. (

Ridgewood Ranch is the champion’s home and final resting place. With 5,000 acres of the original 16,000 acres remaining, many of the historic buildings of the Seabiscuit and Howard era also remain today. Most are in an urgent need of repair and state of preservation.

The Seabiscuit Heritage Foundation is a nonprofit corporation formed in 2004 to preserve and display the historic and cultural artifacts, landscapes and buildings that constitute the legacy of Seabiscuit, sponsoring special events and programs, including historic walking tours, and seasonal docent-led nature walks for the general public at historic Ridgewood Ranch.  (

“I would like to express a special thank you to the members of the Rotary Club, among others, who have generously supported us by funding Seabiscuit’s Stud Barn restoration in 2004.” emphasized Tracy Livingston, the President of the non-profit organization. The beautifully restored barn, including Charles Howard’s craftsman style home have become an attraction for tourists far and wide.

Representatives of Atlas Bronze Casting, artisans Kim Corpany and Stanley Watts, produced a special sculpture of Seabiscuit titled “Morning Workout” to be presented to Laura Hillenbrand as a token of appreciation. This bronze sculpture of Seabiscuit with George “The Iceman” Woolf  was created after Marcela Howard’s favorite photograph of the great horse.

In a statement read on his behalf, the Great-grandson of Charles Howard, Col. Michael Howard U.S.M.C. (ret.) honored Hillenbrand, who is currently authoring a second book on the occasion of her birthday as well. 

“Not only do we want to honor you on what you have accomplished regarding Seabiscuit, but we also know that you have wrapped up your second major work after seven long years. We wish you the very best on this book, and that the editing and publication process will consist of “fair winds and following seas” … Keep that wonderful, indomitable sense of humor of yours. As in Seabiscuit, we know that you have once again poured your heart and soul into another worthwhile project. We can’t wait to read it.” stated Col. Howard. 

In addition, authors Bunny McLeod and Roni McFadden, a resident of Willits, conducted a book signing for their story book titled: Josephine-A Tale of Hope and Happy Endings. This is atouching account, told from a little filly’s perspective is based on actual events, portraying the doubts and uncertainties a young orphan may feel as she faces the prospect of going on without the most important individual in her young life, her mother. 

The inspirational book published by “The Biscuit Press” in association with American Legend Horse Farm (, features “Josephine” the first descendant of Seabiscuit born at the historic Howard mare barn in over 50 years. Sadly, the young filly was orphaned at just four days of age. Her story became one of survival and hope.

The book, underwritten by Mendocino County Farm Supply, is beautifully illustrated by Sierra Gaston and endorsed by best-selling author Laura Hillenbrand. All proceeds from the book are in support two charitable causes: The new Frank R. Howard Foundation’s Wellness Center, as well as TRAIL a therapeutic riding program located at historic Ridgewood Ranch since 1993.    


The Seabiscuit Heritage Foundation is a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit organization formed to promote the cultural legacy of the Ridgewood Ranch through historic preservation and environmental conservation. To make a contribution or for further information, contact the Seabiscuit Heritage Foundation, @Ridgewood Ranch, 16200 North Highway 101, Willits, CA 95490, email or visit or call 707.459.5992

Since its inception in 1966, The Frank R. Howard Foundation, a 501(c)3, mission is to establish, promote and support programs that maintain, as well as improve, health care for the community of Willits and the entire Northern Mendocino County area. The Howard Foundation strives to ensure that quality medical services remain an integral element of the region through an acute care general hospital.  For more information please visit: or call (707)459-3047. 

Media Contact:

Jacqueline Cooper, Executive Director

Seabiscuit Heritage Foundation

16200 North Hwy. 101

Willits, CA 95490

Tel.: 707.459.5992

Cell: 707.972.4541

Fax: 707.459.5969   


Ian Fitzpatrick

Frank R. Howard Foundation

Tel: 707 459-3047


Event photos are available upon request.




May 22, 2010 - The Seabiscuit Heritage and The Frank R. Howard Foundation Present: Seabiscuit’s Legacy ART EXHIBITION & BENEFIT AUCTION Read More

April 5, 2010 - The Seabiscuit Heritage and The Frank R. Howard Foundation Present: Seabiscuit’s Legacy ART EXHIBITION & BENEFIT AUCTION Read More

January 14,2010 - The Seabiscuit Heritage and The Frank R. Howard Foundation Present: Seabiscuit’s Legacy ART EXHIBITION & BENEFIT AUCTION Read More





May 24, 2008 – Col. Michael C. Howard, U.S.M.C. (ret.), great-grandson of Seabiscuit's owner, Charles S. Howard, proudly announces the release of two specially commissioned, limited edition bronze sculptures of Seabiscuit. Read more


July 11, 2007 Seabiscuit Statue Officially Unveiled, Dedicated At Ridgewood Ranch - Home Of The Legendary Racehorse - In Willits, California Read More

June 4, 2007 Seabiscuit Statue To Be Unveiled, Dedicated At Ridgewood Ranch, Willits, Ca On Saturday, June 23 Read More

April 4, 2007 Seabiscuit Statue - The Homecoming Tour April 2007 Read More

February 7, 2007 Seabiscuit Statue to Return: After an absence of more than 55 years, a life-sized bronze sculpture of the legendary American racehorse Seabiscuit is coming back to its original home in northern California. Read More

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