Alberta's Provincial Historic Sites, Interpretive Centres and Museums
Remington Carriage Museum in Cardston, Alberta

About Remington Carriage Museum

The Remington Carriage Museum houses the largest collection of horse-drawn vehicles in North America with over 290 carriage of energy and the complexity of the problems it can create. It does this in a humorous and memorable way.

George Woolf/Seabiscuit Memorial

“So Long, Charley!”

SeabiscuitA monumental statue depicting George Woolf riding Seabiscuit to victory in the 1938 match race against War Admiral was created for placement in Woolf’s home town of Cardston, Alberta. It was unveiled on the grounds of the Remington Carriage Museum in Cardston at 11:00 a.m. on July 17th 2010.

The statue was donated to the people of the Province of Alberta by Cardston area ranchers Jack and Ida Lowe. The life-size bronze depicts the historic moment when George Woolf called out to War Admiral’s jockey, “So long, Charley!” This phrase was chosen by Lethbridge artist Don Toney as the name of the piece, which preserves an instant of flying hooves, straining muscles and steely concentration frozen in bronze.

In 1938 Woolf was the leading jockey on the American horse racing scene, and the contest with War Admiral was billed as the “Race of the Century”. The Admiral was the prohibitive favorite, so much so that only racing journalists from Seabiscuit’s base in California gave “the Biscuit” a chance. But owner Charles Howard, trainer Tom Smith and jockey Woolf had other ideas.

The eastern press talked of Seabiscuit’s poor chances, and the opposing stable and their jockey, Charley Kurtsinger, openly derided the thought that Seabiscuit was anywhere near a credible challenge to War Admiral. Meanwhile, literally under the cover of darkness, Smith and Woolf were training Seabiscuit to respond to the starting bell with a burst of speed.

Seabiscuit’s other principal jockey, Red Pollard, was also an Albertan, from Edmonton. Sidelined with a shattered leg received in a riding accident, from his hospital bed Pollard advised Woolf to take the lead, but allow War Admiral to catch up before the homestretch and look Seabiscuit in the eye. The result, he predicted, would be explosive.

On race day the experts were immediately confounded when Seabiscuit bolted to a two-length lead off the starting line, taking the rail position which War Admiral had won in the pre-race draw. Seabiscuit led around the first turn, but down the backstretch War Admiral steadily closed the gap between them, until going into the far turn the horses were even.

They matched stride for stride for a quarter mile, running like a team in harness until they rounded the homestretch turn, where Woolf held Seabiscuit back imperceptibly, just enough to allow War Admiral to look him in the eye. The explosion predicted by Red Pollard was immediate, and as Seabiscuit surged ahead, Woolf looked over his right shoulder at Charley Kurtsinger.

Shouting “So long, Charley!”, Woolf pressed his face to Seabiscuit’s neck and called for all his horse could deliver. And deliver Seabiscuit did, opening a gap of a head, a length, two lengths down the stretch. War Admiral ran his best time ever at the distance, but lost to Seabiscuit by four full lengths. That evening, Seabiscuit was chosen by the sportswriters as 1938’s Horse of the Year.

And still they ride on through history, George Woolf and Seabiscuit, in a run to immortality.

Horse University

Remington Carriage Museum Horse University for kidsCome learn about horses at the Remington Carriage Museum Horse University!

Solve a puzzle, watch informative and fun videos, play the games and learn about horses. You can even race miniature chuckwagons!

 

 

 

Last reviewed/revised: March 18, 2016