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Comments by Jim Atkin on Thursday, May 03, 2001 at 09:15 IP Logged
Dear Laura, A Great read. I had the pleasure to visit with Marcella Fenton (formerly "Howard") at her home in Pebble Beach, CA. in the late "60's. She had one room in which were dispayed photos of the Howard horses and, of course, many Seabiscuit momentoes as well as trophies. It was there that we had cocktails and talked about horse racing. It was the most beautiful room in the house. A lovely lady.
Charlottesville, VA USA

Comments by Linda Phillip on Thursday, May 03, 2001 at 05:33 IP Logged
Dear Laura, I just finished your book and can't even begin to tell you how much it meant to me. You have taken a great story and made it legendary with your prose and detailed research. My father went to the track "under contract" at age thirteen in the late 1930's. Reading your book was like sitting around the table listening to his stories on track life all over again. My siblings and I grew up with tales of pranks pulled on newcomers sent on fruitless searches for "saddle stretchers" and the "key to the quarter pole." My sister and I even pulled the saddle stretcher routine on a neighborhood friend. You nailed the constant battle to lose weight accurately. My father and his jockey co-horts referred to the unpleasant task of forced vomiting as "tossing". They would fill-up on stew at the cook shack, go "toss" the meal and return for more. Today's bulimics have nothing on jockeys. My father never spoke of the harsher realities of the contract system other than to say he got his "butt kicked" every morning for smoking, and he didn't smoke. I am sending copies of the book to my younger brothers. I know it will help them to understand a father they never really knew. Thank you for rendering this era, it's people and magnificent horses with accuracy and so much heart. Seabiscuit's story would have been a maudlin mess in lesser hands. As I write this the Kentucky Derby is only 3 days away. I hope those who have read your book will watch the race, either for the first time, or with eyes newly opened and see the beauty, spirit, hard work, love, danger, excitement, sportsmanship and horsemanship that is horse racing. You have not only reminded the world of Seabiscuit's status among the great, you may have created racing fans who can see beyond the betting windows.
Pocatello, ID USA

Comments by Laura Hillenbrand on Thursday, May 03, 2001 at 05:06 IP Logged
FROM THE AUTHOR: Like to hear and see more about Seabiscuit? PBS' Newshour with Jim Lehrer will be doing a lengthy feature on him on Friday, May 4. Check your local listings.
USA

Comments by Scot Hunter on Thursday, May 03, 2001 at 04:36 IP Logged
Ms. Hillenbrand - heard about your book on NPR then saw it on NY Times best seller list, bought it this weekend and couldn't put it down. A marvelous story, well told - Congratulations! Best Regards R. Scot Hunter
Corte Madera, CA USA

Comments by Stan Wolcott on Thursday, May 03, 2001 at 04:08 IP Logged
Dear Laura: As I gauge by the other comments in your guest book, I wasn't the only one who was deeply affected by "Seabiscuit: An American Legend". I previously had no interest in horse racing, but the blurb in the History Book Club flyer, followed by hearing your recent interview on NPR, led me to order the book. It arrived last week and I skimmed it quickly, thinking I'd put it on the shelf and come back to it when time allowed. By the next morning, however, I had become so intrigued with the excerpts I had read, I decided to read the book immediately. Given my schedule as an attorney, I wasn't able to read it cover-to-cover in a few days like some of your other readers, but I finally finished it last night, with more than a few tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat. I too feel like re-reading it immediately, but I'm going to give it to my wife first and one of my partners who owns some racehorses, so they too can enjoy it and "spread the word". I just hope the movie does justice to your book, which I think is worthy of the Pulitzer Prize or a National Book Award, at the very least. Perhaps the best thing, however, which your book has given me is an insight into the life of my maternal grandfather, Frank Neel, who was a horse trainer in Tijuana and later Agua Caliente from the late 1920's through the 1930's. His son, Jim, was introduced to jockeying by his father and, unfortunately, like too many of the jockeys you describe in the book, Jim came to a sad end dying well before his time, due to substance abuse, injuries and just plain "hard living". Your book has encouraged me to learn more about their lives in racing by contacting my Mother's last surviving brother who lives in Canada and interviwing him about what happened to my Mom's family during this period, which you so vividly brought to life. I came away with a profound respect for all "racetrackers", but particularly jockeys, who I had previously viewed only as "horse drivers". As you observed, they probably are, pound-for-pound, the finest athletes in sport with the toughest physical challenges. In closing, I'd like to thank you for writing this fine and noble "quadruple" biography about the greatest horse who ever lived and the men who brought him to that greatness. I would deem it a great privilege, if I could have my book inscribed and signed by you. Please let me know if this will be possible and where I may send my copy for you to sign. I don't know all of the details of your illness, but I will pray that, God willing, you recover. In deepest admiration, Stan Wolcott
Costa Mesa, CA USA

Comments by Natasha Anderson on Thursday, May 03, 2001 at 03:27 IP Logged
I absolutely loves your book on Seabiscuit. I have always loved horses and have always loves the relationships that people can have with horses. I have also loved watching horses racing, and over the years, learning the different facets of life behind the scenes. Your book definitely helped fill in a lot of information about a life that most people don't know anything about. I didn't really know anything at all about Seabiscuit, and I'm really glad that you wrote about him to teach people about how amazing he really was, especially for his age, the amount of times he raced, and the weights he carried. I am curious on if you are thinking about getting another book published, or maybe a video made, with more photos of him, or of his races. The photos in the book were wonderful, but it only whetted my appetite about seeing more of him. If you did a video showing his races or workouts, or just being saddled, or whatever films were made of him at the time, it would be a wonderful sequel to the book. I would love to see his movement and his crooked leg kicking out for myself. Or, if you are not planning on any of the above, are there any existing videos showing Seabiscuit racing, etc? I can't wait for the movie to come out. That will help my curiosity, but I would really love to see the real horse himself, even though the films are old and black and white. Also, any plans for writing about any other horses? I will definitely read it.
Carbondale, CO USA

Comments by Kathi Lott on Thursday, May 03, 2001 at 03:14 IP Logged
Dear Laura, I have been thinking about what I could say to you that would be worthy of the fine accomplishment you have achieved with "Seabiscuit". I cherish my copy of your wonderful work, and loan it only to my most treasured friends. At the same time, I want the whole world to discover this great story, so I tell everyone I know to go out and get this book! Your book is absolutely perfect, so well researched, and told with such a love for both the horse and the sport, and the people of this racing world. All I can say to you is, in my humble opinion, you are an amazing woman...not only as a journalist and storyteller, but also in overcoming your condition to produce such an amazing accomplishment. Seabiscuit is a story about hopes and dreams and humor and guts. The same is true of all of us. Thank you for the inspiration.
Seattle, WA USA

Comments by Heather Karnatz on Thursday, May 03, 2001 at 03:05 IP Logged
I just bought the book last night and I already can't put it down. It's wonderful. I'm 17 and I've always dreamed of becoming a jockey. Unfortunately, I outgrew my dream about 5 years ago and I'm a towering 5'9" at 132 lbs. So now, I'm going to Santa Rosa to excersice and pony Thoroughbreds....the most mystical breed out there. I love your book.
Mt. Shasta, CA USA

Comments by Mary Schreiber on Thursday, May 03, 2001 at 02:10 IP Logged
Dear Laura, I lived the book before I even opened to the first page...and loved it to the very last. We have a company by the name of Equissage, Inc. in Northern Virginia and we teach students from all over the world how to massage horses. We have adopted several ex racehorses who along with our other horses, are models for our program. In the past ten years that I have been teaching, I believe I have met everyone in your book among the 3000 people who have attended our program. My work as a massage therapist actually began at several racetracks in the East and trainers and owners could not help but notice a dramatic improvement in both their training and racing performance as well. Jockeys and exercise riders saw it, and grooms and hotwalkers were very aware of the difference in their attitude. I hope Tom Smith would have let me massage Seabiscuit. What an honor that would have been. I can also relate to Mr.Howard as an owner of many horses who are treated like family members. I also lost my only son, Eric in a Marine Corps. training accident in California in l994. To memorialize him I wrote a book on equine sportsmassage which I would love to send you. And then I read in your acknowledgements that a descendant of Mr. Howard is an officer in the Marine Corps. Seabiscuit, the horse and the book will forever be an inspiration to me. Thank you. Best regards, Mary Schreiber, President Equissage, Inc. e-mail info@equissage.com
USA

Comments by Andrew Abruzzese on Thursday, May 03, 2001 at 01:32 IP Logged
Although my life is filled with memories of the race track, that is not the point of this letter. Sure my Uncle Joe died in the grandstand at Philadelphia Park, and his brother Louie (THE chalk better) lifted Joe Namath's fur coat and superbowl ring to pay gambling depts when he was Joe's personal assistant. This is about something special to me. Even more exiting than when my "cousin" Bobby Donato claimed John Henry and ran him on the turf for the first time. Or the time I was eight and picked a winner at Pimlico that helped my father make payroll that week. (that business did'nt last long) I have finished reading two books in my life. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee and yours. I guess I've been kind of focused on my dream to do well in life but I usually don't sit still long enough to do much of anything except watch television. (mostly old movies) Don't get me wrong, I enjoy life immensely. In fact, it was just before a trip to Florida, with my family, that I spotted your book in Farley's book store in New Hope, Pa. We had recently opened Moonlight there, Our latest restaurant, and I needed some rest. Sorry to carry on so but your work has taught me some things that others take for granted and I wanted to tell you. Yes, the plane ride seems to go much faster while reading, but I was surprised to learn that a book could make your eyes tear. Or that I would ever groan when I read that Red was hurt again and feel really bad about a rain storm that happened over 60 years ago. Guess I forgot a book can be better than a movie. (even if Gregory Peck plays the lead role) I won't keep you any longer but if you ever find yourself in the New Hope area, please be my guest for dinner at Moonlight. It would be very nice to meet you! Thank you very much, Andrew Abruzzese P.S. Moonlight will be reviewed in the Philadelphia Inquirer this Sunday May 6. It's our first big one.
Newtown, PA 18940

Comments by Patrick on Thursday, May 03, 2001 at 00:40 IP Logged
Laura, I'm a manager of a B&N in New York City and we are featuring your wonderful book in our Discover Bay. Congratulations. It is a real hit with readers here. By the way have you ever read any of William Nack's writing about Secretariat? I'm thinking of "Pure Heart" written in 1990. It is a worthy comparison for you and for Seabiscuit. Again, congratulations of your achievement
New York, NY USA

Comments by Chris Adamski on Wednesday, May 02, 2001 at 06:43 IP Logged
Laura, Thank you for the wonderful book.
USA

Comments by Bob Kahl on Wednesday, May 02, 2001 at 06:22 IP Logged
Laura, Thanks for writing such a great book! You captured the spirit of Sea Biscuit, Charles, Tom, Red and George with a touching style. Your thorough research brought them back to life. I'm looking forward to the movie.
Tucson, AZ USA

Comments by Wayne Lynch on Wednesday, May 02, 2001 at 05:31 IP Logged
Dear Laura, What an amazing book you have written. I'm only on chapter 4 and I plan on experiencing the rest of the book like a fine wine...a sip at a time. I'm sure I will rue the coming of the last sip. It would be impossible for me to better express all the wonderful sentiments you have already recieved from your many estatic readers. Some of them very eloquent and touching - I had tears running down my cheeks just reading them - I'm sure I'll be a basket case by the time I finish your book! The connection between animals and humans is one of the truly great joys of life - we have 3 dogs and a wonderful thouroughbred related to "Foolish Pleasure" - "Dancing Pleasure" is his name. He never accomplished much on the racetrack, but he has brought more life and joy to my wife than I'm sure he realizes....I will be so looking forward to the movie, and if it has the wonderful touch of your book it will be a truly moving motion picture. The best kind. I have not seen many movies relating to horse racing, but one that stands out in my mind is a little known one called "Pharlap". It was wonderful and gave one a feel of racing in the earlier part of the century. If you haven't had the opportunity to see it, you might want to try. Thanks so much for giving us "Seabiscuit". I wish you nothing but the best in the future. Sincerely, oldgus.
El Sobrante, CA USA

Comments by Sally Ruddy on Wednesday, May 02, 2001 at 05:22 IP Logged
Dear Ms. Hillenbrand: I was absolutely thrilled to hear about your book and just today bought many copies for all my family members. My mother, Mildred (Heppler) Colton Rogers, was George Woolf's first cousin. I have photos of George Woolf's grandparents, Martin Woolf and Rose Eltha Hyde Woolf, and their home(s) in Cardston, if you are interested. My mother has memories of George, and says he used to come over to their granparent's house in Cardston and ride horses with Mom and her sister, Enid. Mom rode "Brownie" and Enid rode "Blackie." Did you know that George's grandmother was a descendant of Anne Hyde, as is Queen Elizabeth II? This may be premature writing you, as I haven't even read the book yet. I just got my copy of the hard bound and also an audio version. I have read the article in Reader's Digest, and was spellbound. I could not resist the temptation to write you immediately, so forgive my not having waited until I was finished. I will be soon! Sincerely, Sally (Colton) Ruddy
Waterford, CA USA

Comments by john deti on Wednesday, May 02, 2001 at 04:34 IP Logged
To the magnificent "seven" who had the patience to endure, the courage to resist, and the steadfastness to perserve--Seabiscuit, Laura Hillenbrand, Tom Smith, Charles and Marcela Howard, Red Pollard and George Woolf---a lesson and tribute to coaching and life. John Deti football coach Laramie High School, Laramie, Wyoming.
laramie, wy USA

Comments by Diane Peterson on Wednesday, May 02, 2001 at 02:20 IP Logged
I just finished reading SEABISCUIT and I wanted to tell you how much I loved your fabulous portrayal of the glory days of racing, and the stories of the characters who came together to form the incredibly successful Team Seabiscuit. I have always been in love with horses and thoroughbred racing, but these days, the only horses that the media (at least the major TV/news outlets) pays attention to are those in contention for the triple crown races. Once a horse reaches his or her fourth birthday, they rarely receive any media coverage. What a shame that great older horses of today will go unnoticed. Thank you for a wonderful, inspirational story.
Wausau, WI USA

Comments by Cathy Ramsingh-Pierre on Wednesday, May 02, 2001 at 01:13 IP Logged
Dear Laura, I am smiling through my tears as I write this message. I bought your book two days ago hoping to enjoy it - if it's about horses I figured it couldn't go wrong - but I never expected such a completely overwhelming experience. The passion and lyricism and sheer beauty of this book made me laugh and cry...I was like George Woolf slowing down to taunt War Admiral in the homestretch, deliberately slowing down my reading so it wouldn't have to end! But it's over and I am so emotional I am just trying to catch my breath before picking it up to experience the magic again. Thank you and congratulations on producing such a beautiful story. Whoever produces the movie, please do NOT let them screw it up!
Nassau, NP Bahamas

Comments by Richard Ranville on Wednesday, May 02, 2001 at 00:42 IP Logged
I picked up your book in a Barnes and Noble store in Cocoa Beach, Florida, while on vacation. I remembered the reviews from the papers.I read it in two days and was sorry it was over. Congratulations on a fine achievement. I have been interested in horse racing for a long time. Can you recommend a magazine for someone interested in the sport? I notice the good business sense surrounding your work and am surprised there are no links from your site.
Flint, Mi USA

Comments by John Jolley on Tuesday, May 01, 2001 at 09:38 IP Logged
Ms. Laura Hillenbrand, Your book on Seabiscuit was incredibly uplifting. My heart was racing as if I was at the track rooting Seabiscuit home.I was wondering if there is any way that I could get a 8X10 photo of Seabiscuit which I could purchase to hang in my office for inspiration. Being from Kentucky I have watched the Kentucky Derby since I can remember. Thank you for a truly moving book about a courageous horse and the great people around him.
Tulsa, OK USA

Comments by Kim Youngblood on Tuesday, May 01, 2001 at 08:57 IP Logged
I have only been to one horserace in my life and have only ridden a few times as a kid but I have always been fascinated by horses and racing in general. I watch races on tv and read a few books on them. Your book "Seabiscuit" made me feel as I was riding the bony legged creature during each race. The description of the 1938 Santa Anita race brought me to tears. I felt worn out after those pages. I felt I had ridden the horse the way you described it. I was actaually on a plane and we had a rough landing as I was finishing that part of the race. My wife saw the glistening in my eyes and thought it was the landing and I told her the race had been lost. I also laughed out loud at the antics of the horse and trainer. What a perfect pair. Thinking back to that time, to have the nation and the world love such a creature tells you a lot about Americans and how we pull for the underdog. I got this copy from the library but I will surely add it to my collection. Thanks again for a terrific book about a real American legend.
Orlando, Fl USA

Comments by Virginia Allen on Tuesday, May 01, 2001 at 08:47 IP Logged
Dear Laura Hillenbrand, your mastry of suspense has me so keyed up that even though I've seen the name "Audax Minor" in your index -- the race writer who signed his pieces that way used to take me racing in the sixties when I worked at The New Yorker -- I refuse to peek ahead until I arrive at the mention of him in the narrative. Congratulations on a terrific book. We've all known about Seabiscuit for years and discovering through you his great story is such a joy. Yours sincerely, Virginia Allen
Chicago, IL USA

Comments by Janet Allred on Tuesday, May 01, 2001 at 07:06 IP Logged
Laura:I read an article about you for the first time last night talking about CFS. My boyfriend has had CFS for 8 years, he has his own Sports Show - is only able to work 2 hrs - if it wasn't for his show he would give up. He has a doctor in CA that mention to him ECT,have you tried this - if not what medicine do you take . If you could suggest something I would be so grateful. Also Congratulation on SeaBiscuit. Janet
Covington, TN USA

Comments by Joanne Anderson on Tuesday, May 01, 2001 at 06:36 IP Logged
Dear Mrs. Hillenbrand: I,too, was overcome with emotion and tears as so many of your readers experienced readying the story of Seabiscuit. Not only the excitement of the races, but the tenderness and love Tom Smith and Red Pollard had for their horse, and the consideration Marcella and Charles had for their team members and staff. Growing up in Pasadena, quite near Santa Anita, before the war, we neighborhood kids would walk to Santa Anita and run around the barns. After reading your breath-taking book I am amazed that we were not asked to leave. Those childhood memories will be with me forever as will the exceptional story you have written.
Aptos, CA USA

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