After a one-week delay due to California's closed ports, Bay Meadows will be the first to venture into horse bobblehead giveaways. The San Mateo, Calif., track will hand out 8,500 Seabiscuit bobbleheads on Oct. 19, the first of these popular nodding statuettes to honor a horse instead of a human.
The mini-Seabiscuits were supposed to make their debut on Oct. 12, but the shutdown of West Coast ports in a labor lockout stalled the bobbleheads' delivery. Track officials pushed back the promotion until they had their Seabiscuits in hand.
Seabiscuit, the 1938 Horse of the Year, has plenty of Northern California connections. Owned by San Francisco's Charles S. Howard, Seabiscuit won back-to-back Bay Meadows Handicaps in 1937-38 during his Hall of Fame career. He retired to the Howards' Ridgewood Ranch near Willits in Mendocino County.
A new wave 'Biscuit popularity followed Laura Hillenbrand's best-selling biography, Seabiscuit: An American Legend
, which is also the basis for an upcoming movie.
Bay Meadows' bobbing tributes have attracted some national attention. The National Museum of Racing in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., requested two bobbleheads to add to its current Seabiscuit exhibit, according to Bay Meadows officials. Offered by opportunistic fans, some Seabiscuit bobbleheads have already shown up on the Internet auction site, ebay.com.