Column: Keeping Seabiscuit descendants a secret is an honor

I always know a few days before most this little secret I am gifted to hold onto until Jacqueline Cooper, founder of the Lil’ Biscuit Breeding Program, makes the post on Facebook.

Last time, I even knew the horse was going to be named after “Seabiscuit: An American Legend” author Laura Hillenbrand before Hillenbrand herself did.

In a year of great loss for many of us, a gift of life arrived in the wee hours of April 27th in a stall at Ridgewood Ranch in Willits, California, where Seabiscuit was retired to stud.

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I have been to the ranch many times and have seen Seabiscuit’s stall and a scale marked with his weight. I have been there to visit the horses and attend events such as Walter Mondale hosting the reveal of the Seabiscuit stamp in May 2009. That stamp depicted Seabiscuit’s legendary win in 1938 against Triple Crown winner War Admiral. Mrs. Mondale even requested the use of my photo from the event for her Christmas card that year.

I witnessed in person and documented the birth of Dashing Lil’ Biscuit in a stall in 2005 and watched him run in the same pastures that his great, great, great, great, great granddaddy did.

Since moving back to the East Coast, I continue to “visit” the ranch via Facebook posts from Cooper, and when another baby is on the way, I get access to the nursery camera so that when another Lil’ Biscuit is due, I can take part in foal watch to alert Cooper when I see a birth on the horizon.

On Tuesday after 3 a.m., I noticed Bronze Sea restless and ready, then watched a short time later as she gave birth to her colt. For an hour, I was glued to the screen watching the dark colored colt try to stand—and finally succeeding. And then I waited for that first suckle and saw that little tail twitching like baby horses do when they feed.

And for two days after, I continue to login and spy on the baby to watch him flop down and nap in the sun and run circles around his mother as I saw this morning.

Those long legs are a sure sign of his lineage and he’s already cutting corners. I daydream and wonder if I have witnessed a future Kentucky Derby winner enter the world.

And when the official announcement comes, they are a joy to read.

“Announcing the arrival of Sea Seraphim (Bronze Sea x Jersey Town)…“Flame,” a colt descending from Seabiscuit, born on April 27, 2021 at Ridgewood Ranch.”

The public announcements mean that the healthy baby is ready for the spotlight and the secret is out.

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