Seabiscuit: The Birth of Performance Enhancing Drugs

The first high-profile case of the usage of performance enhancing drugs was Seabiscuit, a champion thoroughbred race horse made popular today by the 2003 film, Seabiscuit.

Red Pollard riding atop Seabiscuit, horse growth hormones (HGH), and various anabolic steroids.

A symbol of hope during the Great Depression, Seabiscuit rose from anonymity to become a dominant racehorse. Tragically, Seabiscuit sustained a career-threatening injury, which he miraculously sprang back from.

It was his surprising comeback in 1940 that sparked the curiosity of sports reporters across the nation. Not only was the comeback remarkable, but the horse’s physique had noticeably changed since he was last on the track.

Not until Red Pollard’s death on March 7, 1981 did he reveal that he and the trainer, Tom Smith had indeed given Seabiscuit anabolic steroids and horse growth hormone.

The side effects of using HGH and anabolic steroids haunted Seabiscuit for the rest of his days. Up until his death in 1947, Seabiscuit experienced male-pattern baldness,

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9 Responses to “Seabiscuit: The Birth of Performance Enhancing Drugs”


  1. 1 Jay July 9, 2010 at 3:06 pm

    Who ever wrote this article has to some kind of idiot. Where’s the proof? Where is documents proofing your accusations? Where you at Red’s bedside when he died? Why would ANY jerk want to ruin a legend? This horse uplifted a nation, Let’s shoot down our heroes.

    I have researched every article I could find on Seabiscuit. I have looked every picture I could find after he retired. There is NO sign of male-pattern baldness. He sired a number of colts after his retirement. GET YOUR FACTS STRAIGHT before you write such a article. It is people like YOU who ruin America.

    • 2 Sammy March 17, 2011 at 9:39 am

      Smith was busted spraying ephedrine (a stimulant that enhances performance in the nostrils of several of the horses he trained, and was suspended for a year – that’s a black mark right there. I’m sure he used it on Seabiscuit as well. What do you make of that, you moron?

      • 3 Claudia January 24, 2013 at 12:42 pm

        Smith did not do the spraying. it was one of the grooms who admitted he did it on his own because if they could get a horse to beat a certain speed at morning workouts they got a bonus. The horse (one horse proven) was not Seabiscuit. Smith was suspended because as trainer he was held responsible.

  2. 4 citizenlen July 17, 2010 at 3:20 am

    Read the quote from the article “The side effects of using HGH and anabolic steroids haunted Seabiscuit for the rest of his days. Up until his death in 1947, Seabiscuit experienced male-pattern baldness.”

    It was meant as a joke. This blog is done in a tongue in cheek way.

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