Jump to: navigation, search

Red Pollard

Red Pollard
Deleted image removed: 200px
Occupation Jockey
Birthplace Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Birth date 27, 1909(1909-Template:MONTHNUMBER-27)
Death date 7, 1981 (aged 71)
Career wins Not found
Major racing wins, honours & awards
Major racing wins
Prince of Wales Stakes (1933)
King Edward Gold Cup (1933)
Agua Caliente Handicap (1934)
Governor's Handicap (1936)
Bay Bridge Handicap (1936)
World's Fair Handicap (1936)
Bay Meadows Handicap (1937)
Yonkers Handicap (1937)
Massachusetts Handicap (1937)
San Juan Capistrano Handicap (1937)
San Carlos Handicap (1937)
Brooklyn Handicap (1937)
San Antonio Handicap (1940)
Santa Anita Handicap (1940)
Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame (1982)
Significant horses
Gallant Sir, Pompoon, Seabiscuit

John "Red" M. Pollard (October 27, 1909 – March 7, 1981) was a Canadian thoroughbred horse racing jockey. A founding member of the Jockeys' Guild in 1940, Pollard rode at racetracks in the United States and is best known for riding Seabiscuit.


Family history

Red Pollard was the grandson of immigrant Michael Pollard, who came from Ireland in 1850. He was born there around 1834. Upon arriving in the United States, Michael made his first home in New Jersey. About 1855, he moved to Mercer County, Illinois. In 1861, he served in A Co. 9th Illinois Cavalry. In 1863, he married Bridget Moloney in Rock Island, Illinois. She was also an Irish immigrant. He moved to Grundy Center, Iowa, in 1870 and stayed there until his death in 1913.

His son John A. Pollard was born there in 1875. John immigrated to Edmonton, Alberta, Canada in 1898. After the turn of the century, he founded the Pollard Bros Brickyard with his brother Joseph. His son, John M. Pollard, was born there in 1909.


Red Pollard stood 5 feet 7 inches, which is considered tall for a jockey (Eddie Arcaro, for example, stood 5 feet 3 inches). He had also been blinded in his right eye early in his career, by a stray rock kicked up by another horse during a training ride on a crowded track; it hit his skull and damaged the vision center of his brain. At that time, few jockeys actually wore helmets to prevent just such accidents.

In 1933, he rode in Ontario at Woodbine and Fort Erie Racetracks. Down and out in Detroit in 1936, he was hired by Tom Smith for Charles S. Howard to ride Seabiscuit. The team's first stakes win came in the Governor's Handicap. They traveled west while winning races along the way. Seabiscuit won numerous important races, including the 1937 Brooklyn Handicap at Old Aqueduct Racetrack in New York, and the 1937 Massachusetts Handicap at Suffolk Downs in Boston, but was most famously known for losing the Santa Anita handicap of 1937 by a nose. Eventually, the pairing was considered by most as the best race horse and jockey in the USA. In 1940 he finally won the Santa Anita Handicap at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, California. It was Seabiscuit's last race. All in all, Red rode the Biscuit 30 times with 18 wins - all of them stakes or handicaps.

He was also famous for the severe injuries that he suffered.

In February 1938, Pollard suffered a terrible fall while racing on Fair Knightess. His chest was crushed by the weight of the falling horse, and his ribs and arm were broken. Although he recovered and was working again by the summer, he then suffered a compound fracture in his leg from a runaway horse. While recuperating, Red fell in love with his nurse, Agnes Conlon. They were married the following year and had two children: Norah and John.

In 1982, Pollard was inducted into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame.

Pollard died on March 7, 1981 in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, and is buried there with his wife.

Actor Tobey Maguire portrayed the adult Pollard in the 2003 film Seabiscuit.


External links


Premier Equine Classifieds


Subscribe to our newsletter and keep abreast of the latest news, articles and information delivered directly to your inbox.

Did You Know?

Modern horse breeds developed in response to a need for "form to function", the necessity to develop certain physical characteristics in order to perform a certain type of work... More...

The Gypsy Cob was originally bred to be a wagon horse and pulled wagons or caravans known as Vardos; a type of covered wagon that people lived in... More...

Archaeological evidence indicates that the Arabian horse bloodline dates back 4,500 years. Throughout history, Arabian horses spread around the world by both war and trade.... More...

That the term "Sporthorse" is a term used to describe a type of horse rather than any particular breed... More...