Seabiscuit Star, Popcorn Deelites, Dies at 24

Popcorn Deelites as Seabiscuit

Popcorn Deelites one of many horses that portrayed Seabiscuit in the 2003 filmdied, at the age of 24 from complications of colic after being retired at Old Friends Thoroughbred Farms since 2005. “Pops,” a blood-bay Seabiscuit look-alike, appeared in many scenes throughout the film, including the thrilling match race against Triple Crown winner War Admiral.

“Pops” wins the match race in the movie.

“He was my go-to guy in all the big scenes,” Gary Stevens said in a release from Old Friends. “He not only won real races multiple times, but he won the famous match race playing Seabiscuit. He was kind, fast, and a great friend that lived out his life at Old Friends in the paddock next to my other buddy, Silver Charm.”

Gary Stevens, who played legendary rider George Woolf

Pops, as he was known, was a racehorse of middling success and a long career. In 58 starts he had 11 wins, 5 places and 7 shows with career earnings of $56,880. By far his biggest “win” came in his portrayal of Seabiscuit racing War Admiral. Pops returned to racing after the movie and when his career ended, he was retired Old Friends.

In comparison, the real Seabiscuit had a longer, harder career with 89 starts, 33 wins 15 places and 13 shows. He won an impressive (for the time) career earnings of $437,730.

The real Seabiscuit races against War Admiral for the match race of the century.

Old Friends, the Thoroughbred Retirement Facility in Georgetown, KY, was founded in 2003 by former Boston Globe film critic Michael Blowen. After starting with on horse in a leased paddock, the organization now has a 236-acre farm and a herd of over 200 rescued and retired horses. Famous horses that live there include Afternoon Deelites, Pops’ sire, Birdstone, Silver Charm and Pops’ special friend, Special Ring, a turf horse that won more than $900,000.

2 thoughts on “Seabiscuit Star, Popcorn Deelites, Dies at 24

  1. Oh that’s so sad. I visited back in 2017 and he was the one who gave me snuggles over the fence. I still have the halter tag with his name on it on my keychain 😭

    1. The director of Old Friends said in one of the articles, “Pop’s Hollywood history made him an enormous fan favorite, of course,” said Old Friends’ Blowen. “But what really won people over was his warm personality and friendly demeanor. Fans adored him and he adored the fans. He will be sorely missed here on the farm,” Blowen added, “but I’m sure that his old pal and paddock mate, Special Ring, will miss him the most.”

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