America's Best Racing The Jockey Club & NTRA Racing Website August 2012
You should have been there. The West Coast's first-ever major match race turned into a slugfest, literally. A pair of jockeys engaged in hand-to-hand and leg-to-leg combat as their mounts barreled to the wire.
Breaking track records at every pole, roaring down the stretch both horses were neck and neck. The crowd was crazed. So were the jockeys – George “Iceman” Woolf on Seabiscuit and Noel “Spec” Richardson on Ligaroti— who unleashed an epic wrestling match on horseback.
At the eighth pole Ligaroti began to weaken. Richardson grabbed Seabiscuit’s saddlecloth. Seabiscuit was towing Ligaroti forward. With seventy yards to go Richardson released the saddlecloth and snatched Woolf’s whip hand. Then he locked his leg with Woolf’s-- a common roughhouse maneuver in those days. With twenty yards to the wire Woolf ripped his hand free and retaliated by grabbing Ligaroti’s bridle and tugged the horse's head back and to the side as Seasbiscuit’s head bobbed forward. Seabiscuit flashed under the wire first, by a nose.
Running the nine furlongs in 1:49, Seabiscuit shattered the track record by four seconds.
Oscar Otis was perched on the clubhouse roof at Del Mar racetrack calling the 1938 race for the first-ever national radio broadcast.