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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

Comments by Robert Peranich on Friday, May 18, 2001 at 08:58 IP Logged
Laura, I look forward to reading your book. I caught the tail end of a local news interview (News 7)with you on your front porch and my curiosity was piqued. I was interested more in your story than the book. You see, I also have chronic fatigue syndrome. I am pleased beyond words that you have managed to achieve wonderful things with your career in spite of the limitations of that frustrating disease. As I read reviews of the book I decided to order it. All the positive reviews give me confidence I will enjoy it. I also want to read it because your achievement inspires me and I want to take part in it in the small way of reading your book. Most people strive to achieve things in their lives. CFIDS patients many times have to redefine achievement as just enduring the trial. Waking up to another day you must endure is not a recipe for enthusiastic living is it? But as you have endured the illness you have also found achievement at the top of your profession. Rewards are commensurate with the difficulty of the endeavor. I know how difficult it has been and I hope the spiritual and emotional rewards are even greater. Even more, I hope your health continues to improve so you can enjoy the opportunites that are coming your way. God bless...
Waldorf, MD USA

Comments by Joan McGrath on Friday, May 18, 2001 at 04:59 IP Logged
I finished Seabiscuit yesterday and feel as though I've lost my best friend. What a wonderful book! Thank you!

Comments by duncan macisaac on Friday, May 18, 2001 at 04:10 IP Logged
just finished the book and am still excited.My father was the clocker @ vancouver form the mid 30 to 1961.Iwas a railbird from the earliest I can remember. The people you write about are real to me as I heard the stories and yarns may times ove coffee and donuts while sitting amongst the storytellers and hangers on who were there every morning with us. I got a real job and lefdt it to become a groom and after much pressure and some bad experiences with trainers left the backstretch because of no future . Got a license to steal as an Insurance broker and followed the races from tv and radio. 3 years ago i started hotwalking before coming to work and now do this 5 days a week. The thrill of the race description made me stand up & cheer. The closet I will come to this was cheering COllect Call in the Oaks as she was in the barn here last year. Thanks again and dont let them murder the story on film Harvey
Vancouver , bc canada

Comments by Dan O'Shannon on Friday, May 18, 2001 at 03:05 IP Logged
hi i know nothing about horses. i know nothing about racing. i casually started your book this morning and breathlessly finished it this evening. what a great friday. thank you. --dan o'shannon, exec producer, "frasier"
encino, ca USA

Comments by Doug Allen on Friday, May 18, 2001 at 01:51 IP Logged
I loved your book. Racing seems to be dying these days and we need a hero to bring it back. I saw John Henry break his maiden at Jefferson Downs and had no idea what I was seeing at the time. Seabiscuit is John Henry sqared, but maybe he could be your next book?
Mandeville, LA USA

Comments by Dean Beck on Friday, May 18, 2001 at 01:51 IP Logged
Laura- Thanks for your site to help all the family of Tom Smith to find each other. We can have our family genealogy with fewer missing links. I have been working at the William Smith-Julia Ann Taylor family from Towns County, GA for three years, and your wonderful book and your guestbook have made it possible to find each other. God Bless you and thanks from all of the Smith-Taylor family!
Longmont, CO USA

Comments by Bob Cooey on Friday, May 18, 2001 at 00:17 IP Logged
I enjoyed your book. I especially found the sections on the 1938 Pimlico Special and the 1940 hundred grander very exciting. I was saddened by the treatment of War Admiral after losing the race with Seabiscuit. After all, they were both great horses. One would hope that if a similar race were held today that both horses and jockies would share the limelight. I went to Santa Anita in 1984 to see the Olympic Equestrian Games. At the time I took photos of the racetrack and the statues of Seabiscuit and George Woulf. I now understand much more of their significance to racing thanks to your book. There is a fountain at the entrance to Santa Anita Race Park with the names of horses engraved for each year. For 1940 the horse's name was Sweepida. Does anyone know what this fountain commemorates?
Alexandria, VA USA

Comments by Bill Carden on Friday, May 18, 2001 at 00:01 IP Logged
Dear Ms. Hillenbrand, I was born and brought up in Pawtucket, Rhode Island and a personal friend of Agnes and Red Pollard. I thoroughly enjoyed your book on Seabiscuit. He truly is an American Legend. You described it as it was. Could you help me to locate their daughter Patty Pollard? She and I were godparents to my youngest brother who has since passed away. I have not seen her for a long time and would love to touch base with her. Awaiting your reply, Bill Carden
Seekonk, MA USA

Comments by Stanley G. Corp on Thursday, May 17, 2001 at 09:46 IP Logged
I throughly enjoyed your book, it brought back fond memories. In 1938 (at the age of 6) I saw Seabiscuit win the Hollywood Gold Cup. I also saw most of the other West Coast horses in your book run. I later (much later) became a Owner-Trainer
Sparks , NvI throughly enjoyed yuor book USA

Comments by stanley g. corp on Thursday, May 17, 2001 at 09:29 IP Logged
Your book was extremely enjoyable. I have been a race fan since I was a child and in 1938 at the age of six saw Seabiscuit win rhe Hollywood Gold Cup. I also saw Noor run at Hollywood Park. I later became a Owner-Trainer.
sparks, nv USA

Comments by mandy on Thursday, May 17, 2001 at 08:22 IP Logged
I have been riding horses since I could walk. Every movie that had horses in it when I was little - I had to watch it. I remember watching a black and white movie about a racehorse named Seabiscuit. I never saw the movie again but I've never forgotten it either. Anytime we can preserve the memory of great horses that work their hearts out to please us is definatley time worth taking.
pittsburgh, pa USA

Comments by Sue Linthicum on Thursday, May 17, 2001 at 08:15 IP Logged
It was wonderful, beautifully written and with love and passion. Any chance of an address so I can send my copy of the book to be signed? The book is a treasure. Thank you.
Washington, DC USA

Comments by Richard W. Woody on Thursday, May 17, 2001 at 07:34 IP Logged
Laura, I live in Louisville, Ky and we of course, just had the Kentucky Derby. One of my 9 guests this year (people sure love the Derby) gave me a copy of your book and I wanted to let you know how much I have enjoyed it. Thanks for writing it and letting the present-day world know about this terrific story and the great 'Biscuit.
Louisville, KY USA

Comments by Debra N Ross on Thursday, May 17, 2001 at 06:05 IP Logged
I just finished reading “Seabiscuit, An American Legend” and can't tell you how wonderful it was. I just gave my paint horse away after she reared up and fell on top of me, breaking my pelvis, and it just makes me frustrated to not have someone like Tom Smith around to “figure her out”! Anyway, what a create, and what a cast of “characters”. I loved them all. And I loved your way of writing. I will be passing this book around to many of my family members and friends. Thank you for taking the time to write it.
Laveen, AZ USA

Comments by Mike Ellison on Thursday, May 17, 2001 at 03:48 IP Logged
I just finished this wonderful book. This really brought home to me what thoroughbred horse racing and the love of of it, is all about. My late father, who died in 1990 at the age of 86 was a lover of horse racing and after reading your book, I know he must have been one of those listening to the radio to those great races. Your writing of those races had me on the edge of my seat, my heart pounding. Great story, great history, well told. Thank you. Mike
Atlanta, Ga USA

Comments by Laverne (Jones)Booth on Thursday, May 17, 2001 at 03:32 IP Logged
In the 1940's on Ridgewood Ranch, "Home of Seabiscuit" in Northern California, three little outdoor girls were growing up in a horseman's paradise. Their fathers Chet Griffith and Curley Jones, were employed by Charles S. Howard and the families lived on the ranch. The girls spent their days riding ranch horses, including Tick Tock (his photo on page 18), swimming in the Howard's private Olympic-sized pool, boating and fishing on the ranch's big lake, hiking to the tops of the mountain peaks, or pretending to be rabbits as they played under the rambling blackberry vines. The carefree days turned into years. Then when the girls were about 13 years old, Mr. Howard died and the ranch was sold. The Griffith and Jones families went their separate ways, and after a few years lost contact with each other. And now, after more than 50 years, because of Laura Hillenbrand's wonderful book and her web page, Janet (Griffith) Buron made contact via email with Laverne (Jones) Booth and Betty (Jones) Peters. The three "sisters" are looking forward to seeing each other again and spending hours together remembering those wonderful Ridgewood days. Laura, thank you ever so much.
Newhall, CA USA

Comments by Brad on Thursday, May 17, 2001 at 03:29 IP Logged
Hello Laura, Wow... Congratulations! Way to go… Laura. I purchased your book the other day after my father told me he saw you on the News Hour with Jim Lehrer. My parents have moved from the neighborhood and I now live in Atlanta. I am very happy for you. Your hard work has paid off. Believe it or not I am still driving the Mustang. Sincerely, Brad Satellite
Atlanta, GA USA

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