At post time Seabiscuit was 11 to 5. Some astute bettors, figuring this to be a juicy overlay, wagered heavily on him. War Admiral closed at 1 to 4, but the chalk players still came forward, shoving $4,000 bets through the windows to collect what they considered an almost sure $1,000 profit.
Since War Admiral did not like starting gates, they were sent away from a walk-up start, getting off evenly on the third try. The pro-Admiral crowd gasped when Seabiscuit broke on top, and the gasp turned to a roar when, with Woolf whipping furiously, he shot to the front and took the rail around the first turn. Jockey Charley Kurtsinger on War Admiral fought to gain the lead but couldn't quite make it. On the back-stretch Woolf tantalizingly moved Seabiscuit out from the rail, but Kurtsinger took War Admiral outside instead and gradually brought him even. Over the next quarter the two horses seemed in lockstep, then Seabiscuit moved a head in front. At midstretch the lead increased to half a length, and though Kurtsinger went frantically to the whip, War Admiral had nothing left. The Biscuit, with George Woolf grinning hugely, pulled away to win by four lengths in a new track record of 1:56[3/5].
The real story of Seabiscuit's triumph lies in the fractional times. Taking a leaf from War Admiral's book, Woolf had driven the Biscuit to the lead at every quarter post, making them as nearly identical in time as his horse could deliver. How well horse and rider succeeded is reflected in the clockings: 0:23[3/5] for the first quarter, 0:24 for the second, 0:24[1/5] for the third and 0:25 for the fourth. The final [3/16] timing of 0:19[4/5] was the slowest of all, but by that time the weary Admiral had faded and Seabiscuit had drawn away.
Woolf summed it all up when he said afterward, "My best ride on the best horse I ever rode." Coming from George Woolf, that meant something.