A four-legged Hollywood star has died due to complications from complications of colic. Popcorn Deelites was one of many famous horses that portrayed Seabiscuit in the 2003 Oscar-nominated film. He died at the age of 24 after being retired at Old Friends Thoroughbred Farms since 2005. The average life expectancy for horses is 25 to 30 years.
Old Friends announced his passing in a press release and via social media Thursday morning. Popcorn, or Pops as he was known at Old Friends, held a modest racing career prior to becoming a movie star via his role in Seabiscuit opposite Tobey Maguire. He started in 58 races and had 11 wins for a total career earnings of $56,880.
He appeared as the Depression-era hero in several key scenes in Seabiscuit, including the big match race against Triple Crown-winner War Admiral. Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens, who played legendary rider George Woolf in the movie, only had kind words for his former co-star.
"He was my go-to guy in all the big scenes," he 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."
A 17-year resident of Old Friends, Popcorn Deelites was a fixture at the facility. Over the past 10 years, he enjoyed a special friendship with paddock mate Special Ring that Old Friend staff highlighted in their Facebook tribute to the horse, referencing the way the two horses constantly challenged each other to learn new tricks.
"Pop's Hollywood history made him an enormous fan favorite, of course," Old Friends' President Michael Blowen said in a release. "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."