Seabiscuit : Racetrack Bloody Mary Recipe

Year Released: 2003
Directed by: Gary Ross
Starring: Tobey Maguire, Jeff Bridges, Chris Cooper, Elizabeth Banks
(PG-13, 141 min.
Genre:
Drama

Seabiscuit2003.jpg

“Though he be but little, he is fierce.”  Amended from William Shakespeare

Who doesn’t love an underdog?  And we have 4 here. “The horse is too small, the jockey too big, the trainer too old, and I’m too dumb to know the difference.” – Charles Howard, Seabiscuit’s owner 

Based on the 1999 novel by Laura Hillenbrand, Seabiscuit: An American Legend– she also wrote the terrific Unbroken – the film closely follows her well-researched, thrilling epic.  Hillenbrand herself sums it up best:

He didn't look like much. With his smallish stature, knobby knees, and slightly crooked forelegs, he looked more like a cow pony than a thoroughbred. But looks aren't everything; his quality, an admirer once wrote, "was mostly in his heart."  – Laura Hillenbrand

Yes, this little horse who was all heart captured the hearts of the down trodden victims of The Great Depression of the thirties.  His victories became theirs.  He was the living, breathing symbol of what the little guy could do in spite of so many things being against him.

It is the character development of three others with big hearts that separates Seabiscuit from other films about horse racing. Like Seabiscuit himself, a well bred but mediocre racer down to running in claiming races (the bottom of the barrel of professional horse racing, where all horses are for sale after the race), his future jockey (Tobey Mcguire), owner (Jeff Bridges), trainer (Chris Cooper), and are at low ebbs as well.

The film spends the most time on Maquire’s jockey, Red Pollard, giving us a taste of his honeyed life with a wealthy and loving family that shared love of horses and literature, their father quizzing his boys with quotes from the classics at the dinner table.  That is all ripped away with the Depression. and the once prosperous family is reduced to living in a shanty camp.  They send Red away to live with a family who can “give him a better life,” riding horses for a living.

That “better life” is the seamy life of horse racing in Tijuana, where Red supplements his low income with off the books fighting matches. Blinded in one eye in the fights, and reduced to being a stable boy. Red is indeed, an angry young man. But when Charles Howard, the new owner of “incorrigible” Seabiscuit, sees Red brawling with other stable boys, he thinks he has found the right jockey for the unruly colt.

Perhaps it is Charles Howard’s ability to see potential and take risks that propels this unlikely trio - or should we say quartet - forward. Howard himself starts out as an assembly line worker for Ford, tries selling bicycles, and then realizes he has talent working with engines. He goes from a pauper to the largest car dealer in California.  But his wealth is no comfort when his young son dies in an auto accident and his grief stricken wife eventually leaves him.  In Mexico for a quick divorce, he meets Marcela (Elizabeth Banks) who rekindles his zest for life and horses, too.  Before long the happily married couple are out to buy themselves a racehorse. A bit ironic for the automobile aficionado who once vowed he wouldn’t give 5 dollars for the best horse in the world.

The “incorrigible” colt, gets an unconventional trainer, too.  Tom Smith (Chris Cooper) is a man of the old West, as comfortable with people and civilization as he is at ease with horses.  We first meet him when he rescues an injured racehorse from a certain death to nurse it back to a useful life off the track:

Every horse is good for something. You know, you don't throw a whole life away just 'cause he's banged up a little.  Tom Smith

Howard meets the disparaged drifter at his campfire just off the track and they have meeting of the minds.  The narrator in the film describes Smith’s first meeting with the biscuit, as he was often called.

The first time he saw Seabiscuit, the colt was walking through the fog at five in the morning. Smith would say later that the horse looked right through him. As if to say: "What the hell are you looking at? Who do you think you are?”. He was a small horse, barely fifteen hands. He was hurting too. There was a limp in his walk, a wheezing when he breathed. Smith didn't pay attention to that. He was looking the horse in the eye. Voice over narration (David Gaub McCoulough.)

In trying to understand the horse, all three men learn to understand each other and themselves as well.  There is triumph and disaster, but they “treat those two impostures just the same,” to quote a little Rudyard Kipling.    Perhaps Red says it best:

You know everybody thinks we found this broken-down horse and fixed. him. But we didn’t. He fixed us; every one of us. And I guess in way, we kinda fixed each other too.  – Red Pollard 

A terrific story for the whole family.  See it and get your summer off on the right foot, or perhaps we should we say the right hoof.

–Kathy Borich
5 Drums

Trailer

Film-Loving Foodie

Much of the filming and racing scenes take place at the famed Santa Anita Park in California.  Our drink recipe today is inspired by a special drink at Santa Anita Park’s Frontrunner Bar, the 2nd longest in the world.

As Rebecca Forstadt Olkaowski explains:

Macho Mary’s – FrontRunner’s version of Bloody Mary’s, one of their specialty drinks. The mix includes citrus and part of the reason it’s so good is that they let it marinate for at least 24 hours. I don’t know their actual secret recipe but created one at the top of this post that was inspired by a recipe made at the track during a private vodka tasting.

Rebecca labels her version the Racetrack Bloody Mary.

Racetrack Bloody Mary

Macho Mary.jpg

Prep time

15 mins

Total time

15 mins

 

Author: Rebecca Forstadt Olkowski

Recipe type: Drink

Serves: 36 oz

Ingredients

32 oz tomato juice

1 oz fresh lemon juice

1 oz fresh lime juice

2 tsp hot sauce (more if you like the heat)

2 heaping Tbsp prepared horseradish

2 heaping Tbsp Worcestershire sauce

1 heaping tsp celery salt

1 tsp ground black pepper

½ tsp salt

1 tsp smoked paprika

Vodka

Olives

Other garnishes can include celery, pickled asparagus, a strip of crisp bacon, a cutting of rosemary, or just about anything else you can think of. One Bloody Mary I saw even had a small beef slider on a spear.

Instructions

Combine all ingredients in a pitcher with a tight-fitting lid. Close the pitcher, and shake vigorously. Prepare up to four days in advance. It's best if it marinates for at least 24 hours. To assemble the cocktail sprinkle celery salt on a board. Rub a lemon wedge on the rim of the glass. Turn the glass over and into the celery salt. Pour 2 parts vodka and 4 parts Bloody Mary Mix into the glass. Garnish with a lemon wedge, olives or any other vegetables you like. I used a pickled asparagus spear in the image above. (A crisp piece of bacon, celery, carrots, etc.) 

2 tsp hot sauce (more if you like the heat)

2 heaping Tbsp prepared horseradish

2 heaping Tbsp Worcestershire sauce

1 heaping tsp celery salt

1 tsp ground black pepper

½ tsp salt

1 tsp smoked paprika

Vodka

Olives

Other garnishes can include celery, pickled asparagus, a strip of crisp bacon, a cutting of rosemary, or just about anything else you can think of. One Bloody Mary I saw even had a small beef slider on a spear.

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