Stephen M. Silverman
July 22, 2003 08:46 AM

Seabiscuit rides again. With the legendary racehorse of the ’30s and ’40s once again in the news thanks to this Friday’s opening of “Seabiscuit,” a battered kangaroo leather saddle trimmed in lizard skin and worn by the four-legged champ was snapped up at a California auction this past weekend for $125,000, reports the Associated Press.

Exorbitant as that figure might seem, the sales price still fell below the $150,000 to $250,000 estimate that the I.M. Chait Gallery had placed on it. The buyer, from Virginia, has requested anonymity, said James M. Goodman, who brought the collection of racing memorabilia to the attention of the gallery.

Author Laura Hillenbrand — who wrote the best-selling book “Seabiscuit,” on which the movie is based — bought several items during the sale, including a $13,000 shoe that “Biscuit” (as the owner, Charles Howard, called the champ, according to the movie) wore when he defeated War Admiral in their $100,000 race that established Seabiscuit’s national fame.

The heaviest bidding was on items connected to Seabiscuit, the jockey George Woolf and the horse’s owner, Howard — played by Jeff Bridges in the movie, which also stars Chris Cooper as Biscuit’s trainer and Tobey Maguire as his original jockey, Johnny “Red” Pollard.

Among the hottest items: a plaster statuette of Woolf wearing Howard’s silks and holding the famous saddle ($5,000); a set of nine vintage souvenir glasses featuring Seabiscuit and Pollard, ($950); a portrait of Seabiscuit ($2,500); a large vintage photograph of “Seabiscuit with his first little biscuits” ($4,000); a racing program from Santa Anita dated March 2, 1940, the day Seabiscuit won the Santa Anita Handicap ($3,900); three Christmas cards sent in 1938 and ’39 by Howard and his wife ($3,800); and a signed black and white photograph of Woolf riding Seabiscuit and signed by Howard ($7,750).

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