Though shot in Technicolor, the film incorporates actual black-and-white footage of Seabiscuit in races, including the 1940 Santa Anita Handicap and the 1938 match race against rival War Admiral, which is still considered by many to be the greatest horse race of all time.
The film is a fictionalized account of the career of the racehorse Seabiscuit (1933–1947) with a subplot involving the romance between the niece (Temple) of a horse trainer (Barry Fitzgerald) and a jockey (Lon McCallister). The role of Seabiscuit was played by one of his sons, Sea Sovereign.
The New York Times reviewer panned the film, stating, "the odds are that Seabiscuit's screen saga will prove an also-ran" and characterizing the subplot as "one of the season's dullest romances". AMC critic Christopher Null agreed, writing, "The only actual reason to watch this film ... is the black and white footage of Seabiscuit's actual races".