08/06/2002 12:00AM

'Spider-Man' to be in 'Seabiscuit'


DEL MAR, Calif. - Tobey Maguire, who starred as "Spider-Man," will play the role of jockey Red Pollard in the 2003 movie based on the best-selling book "Seabiscuit: An American Legend."

According to producer Allison Thomas, the deal with Maguire, 27, was finalized on Aug. 2. She said the five-foot, eight-inch Maguire will undergo training to prepare for the riding scenes in the film.

The movie is scheduled to begin filming in mid-October at Santa Anita and Keeneland, with other locations under consideration.

The film will be directed by Gary Ross, who worked with Maguire on the 1998 comedy "Pleasantville."

Thomas said that some racing scenes will have Maguire actually riding a modified equicizer, which jockeys used to practice the motion of race-riding.

Retired jockey Chris McCarron and his wife, Judy, are serving as consultants. Several journeyman riders in Southern California have been employed by the producers in recent weeks for camera testing at Santa Anita, and are likely to appear in the racing scenes of the film.

The soft-cover edition of "Seabiscuit: An American Legend," by Laura Hillenbrand, is currently atop The New York Times nonfiction list.

Red Pollard rode Seabiscuit to 18 of his 33 victories, including the 1940 Santa Anita Handicap, the horse's final start.