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Comments by andrea orr on Friday, July 20, 2001 at 04:03 IP Logged
Thank you for a great book. I hated to finish it, knowing that all the characters I'd come to love have been long gone from this world. It was a book that appeals to history lovers of Americana, not just horse or racing enthusiasts. I cried at the end as I knew I would. Would it be possible to get my copy signed by you? A few questions if you will: What ever happened to Marcela Howard? Where was Ridgeway and what is it today? Are the bronze sculptures of Seabiscuit and Woolf still at Santa Anita? Are there any horses raing today that are descendents of Seabiscuit? (I doubt it, and it is a shame.) Thank you again, can't wait to see the movie. I hope it does your book justice! Andrea
Fredericksburg, VA USA

Comments by Pat Owen on Friday, July 20, 2001 at 03:52 IP Logged
You are an inspiration to me and I am sure Seabiscuit: An American Legend will be as well. I, too, have CFS/FM and believe I can understand at least some of what it must have taken for you to write this incredible story. I am looking forward to reading Seabiscuit. I have asked our local library to purchase it so those of us who can't afford to buy books will have access to this wonderful story.
Euless, TX USA

Comments by Tom Warner on Friday, July 20, 2001 at 03:38 IP Logged
Dear Ms. Hillenbrand, I read your book cover to cover in two days. It was exhaustively researched and brilliantly paced, unfolding exactly like the well-made film I'm sure it will become. Hope your appearance on Mike Dempsey's Turf 'n Sport radio goes well today. I produce a TV show in Baltimore called ATOMIC TV and would LOVE to do a segment on you and your book (we profiled Mike when he was in town for the Preakness - he'll never let me forget the $714 payoff I missed by not boxing my longshot exacta pick). We would meet you anywhere at your convenience. By the way, ever see a film called MY BROTHER TALKS TO HORSES from 1946? It was on TCM a few months back and is of interest only because it used footage of War Admiral in a few scenes and is supposed to take place during the Preakness in Baltimore at Old Hilltop. Peter Lawford's in it (and probably tried to forget about it the rest of his career). It's got funny lines in it like, "We Baltimoreans take our racing seriously!" and "If my boss sees me at the track I could lose my bank position!" The kid in the movie does the requisite tear-jerker scene, too, when his fave horse is put down. Funny, this year's meet at Pimlico, my first day saw a horse being euthanized after throwing Joe Rocco and the last day I was there a horse broke down)they saved this one after Ramon Dominguez pulled him up 30 feet forom the finish line. Anyway, great job on the book and hope to hear from you, Tom Warner
Baltimore, MD USA

Comments by Edie Link on Friday, July 20, 2001 at 03:01 IP Logged
Your book is as magnificent as your subject. I can only imagine the research and time and caring that went into a story that made Seabiscuit and all the other characters come back to life. I purchased my first thoroughbred slightly over a year ago. He is an ex-racehorse with ancesters that include War Admiral, Secretariat and Native Dancer. He may not have the speed they possessed but he has the heart and the 'eye' and when I sit on the ground in his paddock, talking to him as he prances around, knowing that he will never harm me, I think of Tom Smith, his great gift and the unique communication that existed between him and his horse. I understand, in a very limited way, that special bond. Thank you for making them live again.
Dahlonega, GA USA

Comments by John on Friday, July 20, 2001 at 02:48 IP Logged
I heard you on ESPN Radio last night. Good interview! This sounds like a great story!
Kansas City, MO USA

Comments by Elaine Ryan on Friday, July 20, 2001 at 00:40 IP Logged
Ms. Hillenbrand, I purchased your book for my father, an avid thoroughbred racing fan, and he enjoyed it immensely. My husband recently finished it and was impressed with the amount of research that went into writing the book and the insight it provided into the lifestyles of the trainers and jockeys during the time Seabiscuit was racing. You mentioned in your book the tune played by the buglers prior to the horses coming onto the track. The melody is properly known as "First Call". I am not bringing this to your attention as a correction, but merely thought you might be interested. "First Call" derives from the traditions of the U.S. Cavalry. "First Call" was sounded at cavalry posts to alert the grooms to bring the horses from the picket line to the parade grounds, where they would be saddled. "Second Call", also known as "Boots and Saddles," was the signal for the cavalrymen to mount and prepare to move out. Then would come the order, familiar to generations of movie goers: "Right by twos. At a gallop. Ho-o-o-o." Once again, we truly enjoyed your book and will continue to pass it around to friends and family. Elaine Ryan
Pittsburgh, PA USA

Comments by Fran Johnson on Friday, July 20, 2001 at 00:27 IP Logged
I just finished reading Seabiscuit. Thank you so much for bringing this story back to life. I weeped at the end of the story, I wanted it to continue. I also admired your many thanks to those who helped you with this book. As a fellow horse lover, kudos to you Laura!
Hyattsville, MD USA

Comments by Brent on Thursday, July 19, 2001 at 07:44 IP Logged
Just wanted to say that I just bought the book, and I've only read the preface and I'm already captivated by the story. Can't wait to finish it, Seabiscuit will live on forever!
Louisville, KY USA

Comments by Paul FitzGerald on Thursday, July 19, 2001 at 07:38 IP Logged
Dear Ms. Hillenbrand Like most of the other entries in your guest book I was overwhelmed by this beautiful love story. And really it is both a labor of love,-- yours, and the love of a splendid horse. As a young man I was one of the thousands of spectators at both Hollywood Park and Santa Anita, and it makes me weepy and mushy to turn back the clock with your magnificent story. Thank you and I'm going to reread it starting now.
Berkeley, CA USA

Comments by Jim Kitchel on Thursday, July 19, 2001 at 03:47 IP Logged
Today is the first day of my vacation. Just finished "Seabiscuit". Thank-you so much for writing this book. Not only bringing out a terrific story, but for writing it so well. Had a tear in my eye at the end. One of the best books I've read in a long time and I read many. My only regret is that I'll never have the pleasure of reading it for the first time again. Thanks again.
Washington, DC USA

Comments by Chris Young on Thursday, July 19, 2001 at 03:19 IP Logged
I just finished your amazing and moving book today. Just so you know, I'm normally the typical macho horse racing fan except I arrogently believe I have great taste in writing (my two favorite books are "For Whom the Bell Tolls" and "Lolita." Your book is right up there with these classics, which is all the more amazing considering its nonfiction. Thank you for letting me live this era (I'm 32 years old). I can't wait for the movie.
New York, NY USA

Comments by Kim York on Thursday, July 19, 2001 at 02:24 IP Logged
Thank you Laura!! I hava always had a horse addiction which has just increased over the years. Loved your story and appreciate your research and time to bring this great horse to others who may not have ever read about his history. I have recommended it to everyone, horse lovers or not. I think they will all love it. Brought back memories of reading all those horse stories as a kid. C.W. Anderson's Favorite Horse Stories was my favorite from that time. Your book brought back that page turning anticipation even though I knew the outcome of the races. Thanks for bringing all those involved with Seabiscuit to life for those of us who remember only the horse and the races. My horses are some of my best friends, hopefully your book will encourage others to see these wonderful animals as the loyal, willing, and loving animals they are. No one can read this book and not want to become a horse person. Thanks again and please bring more of these wonderful stories to us.
Lake City, MN. USA

Comments by Jim Marsden on Thursday, July 19, 2001 at 01:25 IP Logged
Dear Laura, I read about your book through the Winnipeg Digest. I wanted to buy it for my Dad who is 91 years of age. He too was a horse owner and trainer. I spent 10 years with my Dad at the race track in Edmonton, Alberta. We never made much money but we had lots of fun in the 70's. At least we experienced the thrills of racing and finding ourselves in the winner's circle. Before I could give the book to my Dad I started to glance through it. Once I started I couldn't put it out of my mind. Tonight I finally finished it at 4:30 am. And I have to go to work in two hours! My Dad knew Red Pollard when we lived in Edmonton. I now live in Winnipeg and George Wolf lived here. That really had an impact on my interest because I am Canadian. I have read many books in my life as I am now 55 But I don't ever remember a book having so much power over me. I could hardly put it down except when my eyes would close and the book would fall open on my chest late at night. I have never seen a book so well written and contagious. I was addicted to it. I just want to tell you how much I enjoy your writting. God has given you a wonderful gift and talent. Use it for his glory to touch the hearts and lives of people around the world. I know how much toil and labour you put into this book and you will be rewarded accordingly. Your efforts will never be in vain or forgotten. You have touched my life and you have brought a lot of joy and happiness into my heart and I want to thank you for the effect your book has had on me. I love to know our past history and I wish I could have been there. If you have any other books that I might be interested in could you suggest them to me? Thank you, Jim Marsden
Winnipeg, MB Canada

Comments by Laura Hillenbrand on Thursday, July 19, 2001 at 00:31 IP Logged
Want to hear author Laura Hillenbrand interviewed on your local radio? If your local radio station has a talk show on which you'd like to hear Seabiscuit: An American Legend discussed, please e-mail us at and we'll contact the station and try to arrange an appearance. Please be sure to include the station call letters, city, radio show, and host, and we'll take it from there! Seabiscuit readers who would like to urge the Oprah Winfrey show to profile the book can contact the show at The author has received many inquiries about her May appearance on National Public Radio's Diane Rehm Show. To encourage Ms. Rehm to rebroadcast the popular hour-long show, contact Diane at If you have other ideas on how Seabiscuit can get more coverage on a specific TV show or in a specific publication in your area, please share your thoughts with us. Thank you!

Comments by Jody Miller on Thursday, July 19, 2001 at 00:30 IP Logged
I just started received and started reading your book "Seabiscuit". I almost lament at the fact that this book will end because I know that when the ending comes I will want more of it to read. My question is...why did you choose the picture on the cover of the dust jacket that you did? It doesn't show the head of Seabiscuit and I was wondering if there was a creative reason for doing this? Thank you for this book!
Marshfield, WI USA

Comments by Rusty Rueff on Wednesday, July 18, 2001 at 07:56 IP Logged
Hi there! I read Seabiscuit last week while on vacation at our beach house in Rhode Island, not far from Providence, the former home of Narragansett Park. Our primary residence is in Burlingame, CA and I own thoroughbreds who stable in Kentucky. With all the similarities, as I read Seabiscuit I many times felt like "I was there". Later in the week I read a copy of "Horse Race Training" written in 1938 by Robert. W. Collins, published by The Blood Horse, which I had found in a used book store in Watch Hill, RI. I am sure you found this as part of your research but I did not find a reference to Mr. Collins in the index, so I thought I would pass it your way. In his book, which was a compilation of articles on training and answers to reader's questions, he answers a question from an Idaho reader who was comparing their 3-year old to Seabiscuit and was having problems with the horse becoming "rough" when they put him "into a drive". Mr. Collins in his answer had this to say about Seabiscuit and the comparison: " has been my experience that a good horse will run over any track, and over any kind of going. He generally makes slow tracks seem to appear fast and cares little what changes may occur in the footing from day to day, always making his competition really run to beat him. Seabiscuit is a good illustration of this fact. He runs anywhere, against anybody, carries anything they want to burden him with, runs for any jock they put up, and the condition of the track does not make any difference. You may say that he is not called a good mudder, and that his connections will not run him in the mud. Well, the facts are that there are few, if any, better horses in the mud, but on a muddy course, it is much harder for a horse to give away many pounds of weight and win, due to the greater effort required. His handlers do not care to subject the horse to this unneccessary and disadvantageous strain. I was present at Narragansett Park when Seabiscuit did run in mud, and I can tell you that he was quite at home in it, but his high weight caused him to be unable to overhaul a very lightly weighted horse, and he was second. There was nothing wrong with his race or going in the mud, but when the track turned muddy his handicap became insurmountable." I found this interesting in that another trainer from that period, an outsider to Smith's training methods, thought that the wet weather that plagued Seabiscuit for a while was not as much if a hindrance to him as Smith made it out to be. Of course Collins also stated that Seabiscuit would "run for any jock they put up", which from your book we know better. Mr. Smith maybe should also have been known as a great illusionist since he was so well able to keep the idiosyncrasies of his athlete hidden and everyone else thinking that he was indeed the "perfect" horse. Thanks for a great book Laura. Regards, Rusty Rueff
Burlingame, CA USA

Comments by Gene Zaloudek on Wednesday, July 18, 2001 at 05:24 IP Logged
Not a race horse fan, but could not put the book down. As a young boy my father an Omaha police detective would take me to AkSarBen track where he knew many owners & trainers. I would spend my time picking up discarded bet tickets. Upon a review of the tickets I had picked up a $10.00 bill. What a find at that time. PS, You take a very attractive photo and thanks for a great story.
bellevue, ne USA

Comments by Mark on Wednesday, July 18, 2001 at 03:03 IP Logged
Laura, What a masterful job of story telling. I couldn't put it down. Best of luck with the movie. I can't wait to see it so I can fall in love with "the Biscuit" all over again! What a horse....what a book!
Rockville, MD USA

Comments by Mark on Wednesday, July 18, 2001 at 02:59 IP Logged
Laura, What a masterpiece! I couldn't put this book down. Your weaving together of all the storlines was totally captivating. Congratulations and best of luck with the movie. I can't wait to see it!
Rockville, MD USA

Comments by Sheryl on Wednesday, July 18, 2001 at 02:03 IP Logged
I have had this book at least a month; I read a little every night. I have read with baited breath while tragedies befall 'the Bisquit' Red Pollard, et al. I am just postponing the inevitable; the end, the big showdown. I know the outcome, just can't bear to part with this book. A million thanks.
Dallas, tx USA

Comments by john arnn on Wednesday, July 18, 2001 at 00:53 IP Logged
Dear Ms. Hillenbrand: Thank you for a wonderfully well-written documentary on this remarkable horse, engaging and dedicated people and inspiring human anecdotes. It reminded me of a time I found myself on the infield rail at Churchill Downs watching and waiting for 12 or more thoroughbreds to charge past me. The image of the intensity of horses and jockeys as well as the surprising volume of hoofs on the track as they approached is an event I will remember and treasure. Thanks again for your exhaustive research and storytelling. John
Nashville, TN USA

Comments by Tacey B. Hole on Wednesday, July 18, 2001 at 00:24 IP Logged
Dear Laura Hillenbrand, I loved your book. It was a real page-turner. I was too young in the 30's to remember anything about Seabiscuit, but my mother went to Belmont with my cousin Hennen Morris, son of John A. Morris, who was active in New York racing circles. I was sorry when the book ended. I felt as if I had lost good friends. Tacey Hole
Wayne, PA USA

Comments by Eleanor Pintola on Wednesday, July 18, 2001 at 00:12 IP Logged
Dear Laura, I finished your book a few weeks ago. I loved it the minute I started reading it. I could feel for the jockeys and the horses. You wrote a great book. I hope you continue to write. I can't wait for another book. I've since passed this book on to three people and I am about to pass it on to a fourth. Everyone loved it. No one has had it for more than a week. I was glad that they enjoyed it as much as I have. I also enjoyed reading everyone's comments. I wish you continued success. Eleanor Pintola
Elyria, Ohio USA

Comments by Graham Lace on Wednesday, July 18, 2001 at 00:10 IP Logged
Laura- I just finished your book tonight and, honestly, I'm disappointed- that I have to put it down, that is. 'Seabiscuit' easily ranks as the best book I've ever read- it was riveting from the first word to the last. Like others have written, the chapter on Seabiscuit-War Admiral gave me chills- despite already knowing the outcome! This book is the benchmark that I will use to rank my future reading choices- not just on the subject of horse racing, but any genre. Your research and writing are both outstanding tributes not only to Seabiscuit and his connections, but to the sport, as well. Thank you! I look forward to seeing the movie on its opening night!
Scottsdale, AZ USA

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