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Comments by Ira Shatzman on Monday, May 21, 2001 at 03:52 IP Logged
I found "Seabiscuit" a marvelous story. My godfather was an avid racing fan; he would often tell me about the joy and excitement of seeing the horses run. He would give me the racing tickets to collect. Now I understand his love of the sport. Your racing sequences left me breathless. I was in tears in so many sections of the book. I pray that Hollywood does not spoil your book. Hopefully your being present will maintain the integrity of your superb narrative. I intend to re-read the book soon. Thank you for providing hours of pleasure to me.
Santa Fe, NM USA

Comments by Ron Snyder on Monday, May 21, 2001 at 03:50 IP Logged
Dear Laura, what a wonderful book. I have a question: did Seabiscuit participate in a Triple Crown race, and if not, why not?
Indianapolis, IN USA

Comments by mark stapleton on Monday, May 21, 2001 at 02:59 IP Logged
Laura: Having reviewed the other email responses, I could not add to the eloquence and power of those responses. Suffice to say that your book will remain one of my finest literary experiences. I intend to read it again. Anyone that can recreate a sporting event that causes goosebumps, though the event being described occurred more than sixty years ago ranks with the very best prose/storytelling stylists. I have many more thoughts and questions that I will address in the future. Tonight I will recall the courage, committment, and indominatable spirit of Howard, Red, Mr. Smith and above all , Seabiscuit. Wishing you good health and continued success. Mark Stapleton
chico, ca USA

Comments by David B. Brode on Monday, May 21, 2001 at 02:38 IP Logged
As an owner & breeder of thorooughbreds, your book goes far beyond horse racing --- it's about what racing ought to be. More, it's about what we as Americans ought to be. Seabiscuit may indeed by 'an American legend', but your work glorifies all of us in the American spirit. A thousand congratulations!
Glencoe, IL USA

Comments by Dan Burgenger on Monday, May 21, 2001 at 02:36 IP Logged
Dear Laura, You know what other work your book reminded me of? IN COLD BLOOD. Not in subject matter, obviously, but in form. The literary qualities Capote gave journalistic reporting in his book you equaled in SEABISCUIT. Never was the sports page raised so high before. Dan Burgenger
Sedalia, Mo USA

Comments by David B. Brode on Monday, May 21, 2001 at 02:33 IP Logged
Dear Ms Hillenbrand, As an owner & breeder of thoroughbreds, your book goes far beyond horse racing --- it's about what racing ought to be. More, it's about what we as Americans ought to be. Seabisquit may indeed be "an American legend", but your work
Glencoe, IL USA

Comments by Craig William Dayton on Monday, May 21, 2001 at 01:39 IP Logged
Dear Laura...When I heard you on National Public Radio with Scott Simon, and felt your passion for the subjects of your book, I knew I had to buy your book. I did. There are very few books that I have stayed up late and lost sleep over, but SEABISCUIT is one such book. This book, in my opinion, will help the younger, jaded generations understand what being a true hero is and what depth of character is required, whether human or beast, to become one. Thank you for your hard work. I look forward to your next endeavor.
Hershey, PA USA

Comments by Cathi on Monday, May 21, 2001 at 01:35 IP Logged
What a book! I cried a number of times, and laughed out loud frequently. You wrote a treasure! I have never been terribly interested in horses, except when I was 13, but the outstanding reviews compelled me to read "Seabiscuit." I savored every word, the colorful portraits of the different characters, and the re-creation of a world gone by. Your passion is our bliss! Many thanks!
Seattle, WA USA

Comments by R.C. Spiegel on Monday, May 21, 2001 at 01:27 IP Logged
Dear Ms. Hillenbrand, I thoroughly enjoyed your book. Your style was easy to follow and incredibly visual. Being quite indifferent to horseracing, I was convinced to read about Seabiscuit because of your interview on NPR. I have one small complaint and it's not directed at you. After reading about this determined, completely likable horse, I could not believe that your publishers did not put a full shot of him on the cover illustration. Since there were several in the book, I certainly know what he looked liked but since all of the men became successful because of Seabiscuit, I thought he was done a disservice by having only half of him showing. Thank you for writing such an enjoyable story of some remarkable individuals, both human and animal.

Comments by howard kronish on Sunday, May 20, 2001 at 09:55 IP Logged
What makes horse racing the great sport it is (and was) are the heroic horses and jockeys that put their lives on the line every day. But to keep thoroughbred racing alive and competitive we must appeal to the owners to keep their prized horses in training in their 4th and 5th year instead of consigning them to the breeding farm. If Mr. Howard had followed that custom you would never had Seabiscuit to wrte about. I am enjoying your book very much (have read half as of this date). I wish you had included the past performance charts of Seabiscuit and the odds he and his rivals went off at for the key races in his career. Also you haven't mentioned, as far as I have read, that secret workouts that Mr. Smith put Seabiscuit through, are now banned at most tracks. It is a disservice to the bettors to be deprived of workout info. Is there a source to obtain Seabiscuits past performance charts? Your book and Horse Heaven have provided me with great reading on a subject that I love. Thanks much
new york, n y USA

Comments by April Vossler on Sunday, May 20, 2001 at 09:21 IP Logged
Dear Laura, Got your book at the library then had to buy a copy for myself. Just finished reading it Sunday afternoon on my back porch watching my quarter horses grazing and being visited by a deer hungry for roses! Being a horse fan and living above the Alamo Pintado Equine Center where I see all kinds of horses come and go, I was held spellbound with the courage and heart of all those characters you so vividly portrayed in your wonderful book. I had to go and pull out a couple of carrots for my horse and let him know how much I appreciated the best of his kind-Sea Biscuit. I am sending a copy of your book to my father whose father used to be the foreman for WR Hearst at his Jolon ranch. My father still reminises of cattle drives to San Simeon. Thank you for writing such an exciting and enlightening book. I have to say I couldn't read a race portion to close to going to bed. It was way too exciting. Looking forward to catching the movie and your next book! In great apprectiation, April Vossler
Santa Ynez, CA USA

Comments by larry coleman on Sunday, May 20, 2001 at 08:08 IP Logged
I've never been a fan of horse racing....til now. With tears flowing silently down my cheeks on reading of the demise of a great champion now 60 years gone, I was reminded why I always have been, and will always remain, a lover of books. And now, a lover of horses. I watched my very first Preakness Saturday, but it wasn't Point Given I saw tearing around those incredibly sharp was the Biscuit. On hearing that Seattle Slew is now 30 and the only living Triple Crown winner still living, you can imagine the race I running in my mind. Thank you so very much for writing this superb saga, and for being on public radio when I was listening! And thank God I used to hear references to Seabiscuit on the old Warner Bros. cartoons!
jonesboro, tn USA

Comments by john on Sunday, May 20, 2001 at 08:07 IP Logged
Dear Laura, I just finished reading your book. I couldn't put it down for a second.It was a great story and i'm going to pass it on to my children, who are avid readers.Good luck in your future works. I'm looking foward to see the movie when it comes out on the screen. Thanks again for writing a great book.
selden, ny USA

Comments by Bjorn Zachrisson on Sunday, May 20, 2001 at 05:05 IP Logged
Dear Laura, like all of your readers on this site I am deeply touched by, and extremely grateful for, your writing this remarkable story about Seabiscuit and the people and events around him. Your effort will do a world of good for racing and the true appreciation of the sport. I am a Swede, born in 1935, a former amateur race rider and having engaged myself in just about everything else connected with the sport of Thoroughbred racing (printers and technical editors of the racing calendars for the three Scandinavian Jockey Clubs), over here and abroad. My interest in the sport truly took off after having had the fortune of receiving a Swedish Jockey Club travel scholarship to go to America and study horse racing for two years (1959-61). Consequently I have actually met in person quite a few of the personalities mentioned and featured in your book. I cherish my time in the USA from the bottom of my heart (practising the graphic arts trade in a publishing house in Chicago, spending a lot of time in the press boxes at Arlington and Washington Parks, Sportmans Park and Hawthorne Race Course. I also made frequent trips to Kentucky to get the feel of the “Blue Grass”. The introduction of starting stalls in Sweden in 1962 (and later all over Europe), the winner’s circle ceremony, quarter and furlong poles and timing system and the US type past performances from the Morning Telegraph and Daily Racing Form concept are some of the major ideas that actually came to fruition as a result of the friendly and encouraging reception I encountered in America. Later there were the international jockey tournaments with US guest riders, from Steve Cauthen, Darrel McHargue and Gregg McCarron, to Bill Shoemaker, Gary Stevens, Kent Desormeaux and Laffit Pincay Jr. The Breeders’ Cup concept, launched here as Breeders’ Trophy, has also been introduced in Sweden, followed by similar schemes in Denmark and Norway. I read about your book in the Blood-Horse and in the Thoroughbred Times and immediately got the feeling that “this was it”. So I bought three copies from the “Amazon” site on the net. They have arrived, I have just read one copy ( and have already given the other two to friends to “do good” for racing. If you read this, please let me know if there are any plans, a) to publish the book over here and/or b) which movie distributor will eventually launch the film here. It will need sound professional advice when it comes to translating. And I can help. Bjorn Zachrisson, Djursholm, Sweden

Comments by Jen Hardacre on Sunday, May 20, 2001 at 04:05 IP Logged
Ab fab book!! Got it yesterday, finished it today, could hardly bear to put it down. As a child, I was one of those little girls who wanted to grow up to BE a horse, and read every word written about horses I could find. Your book is a winner going away - can't wait for the movie!
Toronto, On Canada

Comments by beth jimison on Sunday, May 20, 2001 at 03:48 IP Logged
Thank you for this book - your writing is totally engrossing. And its a story I wanted to know for so long - one of my mother's favorite posessions was a set of Seabicuit's shoes. Now I know why.
San Carlos, CA USA

Comments by howard kronish on Sunday, May 20, 2001 at 00:20 IP Logged
Corrected e-mail address
new york, n y USA

Comments by Vicki Martin on Saturday, May 19, 2001 at 06:51 IP Logged
Dear Ms. Hillenbrand: Your book "Seabiscuit" is awesome, and your writing style superb. Thank you for weaving such a wonderful tale of thoroughbred horse racing in the 1930's and 40's. As I write to you, a winner's circle picture of Seabiscuit hangs on the wall above me. The picture is dated June 29, 1936. Tappan is the trainer and Kempy Knott is the jockey. My father was riding for Bing Crosby in the 30's and a good friend of Pollard, Georgie, and Kempy. I can remember Red Pollard in my parent's kitchen in Pawtucket in the 60's, sharing tales with my dad of their youth and exploits on the west coast. My father was a character, as most of these guys were, and your book has brought back many memories of stories my dad has told through the years. My dad's name was Jim Boucher but he was also known as Bill. He rode for 26 years and had many a tale to tell - and many he dared not. If ever you are writing another book of this era and need material please contact me. I have a trunk full of my dad's things that consist of newspaper articles, jockey licenses, a jockey year book, pictures, etc. My dad was one of the founding members of the Jockey's Guild and SNARO (Racing Officials Organization). After riding for 26 years my dad joined the ranks of the judging world and worked mostly on the East Coast at Suffolk, Lincoln and Narragansett. Thanks again for reminding everyone of the glory and class thoroughbred racing has brought to sports fans. Keep up the good work, please! VM
Thompson, CT USA

Comments by Ruth Simmons on Saturday, May 19, 2001 at 05:11 IP Logged
Dear Laura, Congratulations on your Eclipse Award and your wonderful book about Seabiscuit. I am the widow of Harold Simmons, "The Forgotten Horseman" until he was inducted into the Horseman's Benevolent and Protective Association Hall of Fame in New Orleans on January 30, 2000. His picture is now on display at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington. I need your tender touch to bring his achievements to the forefront. As a great horseman - In the 1949 Massachusetts Handicap, his horse First Nighter beat Assault, the Triple Crown Winner - a great upset. Trainer Noble Threewitt and Harold watched their horse Correlation come from last to first to beat Hasty Roads in the Preakness. His horse Van Crosby won a place in history with Eddie Arcaro up when they won the Wayne Wright. Harold and Gulfstream Park owner James Donn were honored when Harold's horse Charitable won and he was the first to donate 1% of the purse money to help the horsemen. Harold was a pioneer - He passed the hat many times to help horsemen in trouble - and often he arranged and was the only one to attend the funerals of those on the backside. He was one of the 36 original founders of the HBPA. He fought for the use of butazolodin. He was president of the Florida Division of the HBPA twice and Secretary of the National HBPA. He was a Humanitarian - He received a citation from the John Elliot Blood Bank for arranging a blood drive - raising 400 pints of blood from and for the horsemen in South Florida. He chaired many dinners to raise money for needy horsemen down on their luck so they could get home after an unsuccessful season. He retired from training in 1964 when we met. He became a track official at all of the South Florida tracks for the next 17 years. He passed away in 1981. It was three years ago today that I wrote a letter to the HBPA to remind them of their "Forgotten Horseman". It took two years to get him into the Hall of Fame. I would love to write our story but I am 82 and going blind. He did so much for horse racing. Sincerely, Ruth Simmons
Miami, Fl. USA

Comments by Mike Kaufman on Saturday, May 19, 2001 at 04:54 IP Logged
Laura, your book is a literary gem. I've analyzed your compelling prose style and will surely attempt to emulate it. Please explain the omission of documentation, eg, Seabiscuit's detailed geneology, performance record, track odds and handles for major races, comparative studies with War Admiral, Secretariat and others. Congratulations and many thanks. Mike
Roslyn Heights, NY USA

Comments by Marilyn Dial on Saturday, May 19, 2001 at 02:11 IP Logged
Laura what a wonderful book on Seabiscuit you have written. As a child Seabiscuit was my favorite. I used to go to Santa Anita and the Pomona Fairgrounds to the races with my father. I was so young that they made me crawl under the turnstile to go in. Noble Threewit was a childhood friend of my father's, so we spent a lot of time at Santa Anita when he was there. I shed a lot of tears while reading your book because of the wonderful memories it brought back. My mother worked for the Army during WWII and spent many long days at Santa Anita when it was the Ordinance Depot. What a difficult life it was for so many of the people in the horse racing world during those years. They don't make people that tough anymore. I would be interested to know if Noble is still living.
Henderson, NV USA

Comments by Terry Tauber on Saturday, May 19, 2001 at 01:49 IP Logged
Dear Laura, What a wonderful book! I've been a fan of "The Sport of Kings" for 45 years now, and hated to have the book end so soon. My own fault for inhaling it like I did. Even if I weren't such a fan of horse racing, it still would have been a very enjoyable book. Thanks for telling a wonderful story.
chicago, il USA

Comments by Chris on Saturday, May 19, 2001 at 01:24 IP Logged
I am so glad that I found this website. This is the first time I have ever written a letter to an author, but in the middle of "Seabiscuit" I knew I just had to let you know how much this book was moving me. I actually had to get up and walk around during the match race between War Admiral and Seabiscuit, and the description of War Admiral as he struggled to finish brought me to tears. What an outstanding book. A masterpiece.
Sarasota, FL USA

Comments by Jack Quinlan on Friday, May 18, 2001 at 09:46 IP Logged
Thanks for writing a great book, which to me read like a novel. Your perseverance in the face of difficult circumstances will be an inspiration to others. I am curious about one episode in the book. In Seabiscuit's final start under Sunny Jim's care, you write that he fell ten lengths behind in midrace, then rallied to win. The DRF past performance line, however, indicates that Seabiscuit broke on top, was ahead by two lengths after a half mile, and won by four. Did someone give you a bum steer, or is the PP line incorrect?
Manassas, VA USA

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