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, Seabiscuit.
This once broken down little horse, 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.
“His determination and resiliency in facing numerous challenges and setbacks is a lesson for us all,” said Gary Stevens, Hall of Fame racing jockey and actor – What a legacy to preserve and protect.