LEXINGTON, KY (Oct. 12, 2016) – Fourteen eighth-graders from Good Shepherd Catholic School in Frankfort, Ky., who are in Jonathon Pults’ literature class, are at Keeneland today as part of a unique learning experience that had at least one observer wondering, “Can I take this class?”
Pults is a racing fan, and he had his students read Laura Hillenbrand’s best-selling Seabiscuit: An American Legend and watch the Academy Award-nominated movie based on the book.
“My focus is how it relates to mass culture, certainly underdogs and how that fits into our cultural American dream,” said Pults, who learned about Thoroughbred racing when he moved to Kentucky in 2002. “The premise of the book is while all these horrible things were happening – the Depression, the lead up to World War II – there’s this horse that got more attention than anything else. That’s not by accident. It’s pretty relevant in 2016, as well.
“They really grabbed onto the idea of how celebrity was formed in that decade in large part because of that horse and the people that were connected to him.”
The curriculum includes today’s field trip to Keeneland to eat breakfast in the Track Kitchen, watch morning works and visit the Keeneland Library to see a shoe Seabiscuit wore in his final race. They will return to the track to watch several early races and make an appearance on TVG.
While in the Track Kitchen, the students received quite a surprise. They met Gary Stevens, who portrayed jockey George Woolf in the Seabiscuit movie and also was there for breakfast. He had flown in from Southern California for this morning’s work aboard champion Runhappy, who is preparing for his next start in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1).
“They’re glowing,” Pults said of his students. “We got lots of pictures to prove it.”