Date of this Version
Excerpt from Seabiscuit
The halcyon days at the Tijuana track came to a spectacular end. On the backstretch early each morning men guided teams of horses on circuits of the barns, shoveling the mucked-out manure into wagons and driving the teams up the hill behind the backstretch, where they would dump it. The pile had been accumulating since 1917, and because the city received little rain to wash it down, it was enormous. “Oh my gosh.” Remembered trainer Jimmy Jones. “ It was as big as the grandstand.” Inside its depths, the manure fermented, generating scalding heat.
To the locals, the mountain of manure was a steaming eyesore. To the jockeys, it was prime sauna country. Every day riders dug holes in the surface and burrowed in, Pollard and Woolf probably included. A few took the precaution of zipping into rubber suits before wiggling in, but most just wore street clothes. It was almost too hot to take, but Mother Nature’s hotbox proved unbeatable for sweating off weight.