06/27/2002 12:00AM

Seabiscuit trophy donated


NEW YORK - A stolen trophy, won by the legendary Seabiscuit 64 years ago, was found recently and donated on Thursday to the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

The 1938 Agua Caliente Handicap trophy was stolen in the early 1950's from Marcela Howard, the widow of Seabiscuit's owner, Charles S. Howard.

Last year, Laura Hillenbrand, the author of the best-seller "Seabiscuit: An American Legend," saw the trophy for sale on the Internet on Ebay. The trophy was pulled from Ebay when Hillenbrand notified the seller it might be stolen property. A few months later, a woman attempted to sell the trophy to the museum, and the museum's curator, Lori Fisher, notified the FBI and the Saratoga Springs police department.

The trophy was recovered through the efforts of the FBI, thepolice, and Fisher. No one has been prosecuted for the original theft. Michael Howard, great-grandson of Charles Howard, donated the trophy to the museum. "We are grateful that the Howard family has decided to donate the trophy," Fisher said. "This important piece of racing history could have been lost forever."

The trophy will be on view in the museum's "Legend of Seabiscuit" exhibition through Dec. 15.