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Thoroughbred who played Seabiscuit in Oscar-nominated film dies, aged 24

Popcorn ‘Pops’ Deelites appeared in several scenes alongside Tobey Maguire in the 2003 film

Maanya Sachdeva
Monday 24 January 2022 11:45
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Thoroughbred Pops stars as Seabiscuit in thrilling race against War Admiral

Popcorn Deelites, the Thoroughbred that portrayed famous racehorse Seabiscuit in the eponymous 2003 Oscar-nominated film, has died. He was 24.

Deelites’ death was announced by the Old Friends Equine retirement facility, where the horse had been residing since 2005, in a statement dated 20 January.

The cause of death was complications from colic, the statement read.

“Pops, a blood-bay Seabiscuit look-alike, appeared in numerous scenes throughout the film, including the thrilling match race against Triple Crown winner War Admiral,” said the Old Friends farm about Deelites’ Hollywood career, during which he shared significant screen time with Seabiscuit actor Tobey Maguire, who played jockey Red Pollard.

Old Friends founder Michael Blowen said the horse’s Hollywood history, “warm personality” and “friendly demeanour” made him a “fan favourite”.

Blowen continued: “Fans adored him and he adored the fans. He will be sorely missed here on the farm but I’m sure that his old pal and paddock mate, Special Ring, will miss him the most.”

Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens, who portrayed legendary rider George Woolf in Seabiscuit, remembered his co-star as “kind, fast and a great friend.”

According to a press release on the Old Friends’ website, Deelites returned to racing after filming Gary Ross’s sporting drama Seabiscuit.

Over his racing career, Deelites made $56,880 (£42,041) in earnings.

His owners David Hoffman and trainer Pricilla Leon retired him to Old Friends farm when his career ended and he spent the rest of his days pensioned at the retirement facility alongside his sire Afternoon Delites.

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