Last week I took an informal poll of the members of my morning coffee klatch. I asked two questions. First, who was Charles Howard? Only 10 percent answered correctly. But they all knew the answer to the second question -- who was Seabiscuit? A famous a race horse they exclaimed. Of course Charles Howard owned Seabiscuit, and the story of the scrappy horse is fascinating; but Howard's rise to power and wealth is just as captivating. The San Francisco Chronicle hailed him as "the world's greatest auto distributor," but he was much more. Like so many of California's great moguls, Howard was born and bred in New York.