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Comments by Stacey Olney Mertz on Friday, July 27, 2001 at 05:11 IP Logged
Dear Ms. Hillenbrand, Your book has been passed down in my family and is now going through all of our friends. I am going to buy my own copy! I can't thank you enough for bringing such an extraordinary animal and the courageous people who believed in him back to life. They will be a part of me forever! Sincerely, Stacey
Greenville, NC USA

Comments by Mike Hester on Friday, July 27, 2001 at 04:23 IP Logged
Laura, I literally just finished reading your book. It is one of the best books that I have read, ever. What a great story of a real American hero. I can't wait for the movie. Well done! Mike Hester Tomball, TX.
Tomball, TX. USA

Comments by Philip D. Calderone on Friday, July 27, 2001 at 04:21 IP Logged
Dear Ms. Hillenbrand: I have the post-great-book blues. I just finished your wonderful book, and don't see anything in the immediate future to fill up my spirit as Seabiscuit did. A brief tour through your guestbook reveals so much adulation, and racing-specific memories, that I don't know how to fit in. My love of your book is twofold. First, it is well researched and beautifully written. Personal computers have given birth to the notion that everyone is an author. Everyone is not, but you are. Thank you for the pure pleasure of a great story, well told. On a personal level, my father loved horses, and would take us to Belmont for a day of family fun together and $2 bets. We grew up in Brooklyn, and later moved to Nassau County. Even now, that I live further east in Suffolk County, Long Island, Belmont is still my favorite destination for Father's Day, or any given Sunday. My Mom and Dad would tell us stories, over and over, of their "football" wedding, where sandwiches were tossed across the room to wedding guests, like footballs. The party went through the night, and the racing form would appear in the wee hours of the morning for those who wanted to continue on to the track. Your book is about people with heart, who overcome obstacles and make no apologies for their failures. How refreshing in this day and age of talk-show panderers, giving an audience to every weakling who doesn't know what to do with his or her life. Thank you so much for your terrific book. Can you recommend other good books on horse racing? Sincerely, Philip Calderone, St. James, New York

Comments by Bill Mosley on Friday, July 27, 2001 at 01:48 IP Logged
I am almost blind and my wife just read to me the Readers Digest version of the "Seabiscuit" story which I really enjoyed. My question is "how did he spend the rest of his life after the famous race? Thanks for your response.
Fresno, CA USA

Comments by peggy hunter-jenkins on Friday, July 27, 2001 at 01:29 IP Logged
Dear Laura, It was such a pleasure to read your incredible book. I see that several people have already offered advice re CFS, but I did want to suggest that you consider the macrobiotic diet. You can get information and guidance from the Kushi Institute ( - it's incredible what following this diet can do for many serious conditions, including CFS. I know from personal experience. Recently I began acupuncture treatments; combined with the diet, this seems to be an added benefit. If you haven't already done so, I hope you will investigate macrobiotics - it really is amazing. I wish you the best of luck. Peggy Hunter
Newport, VT USA

Comments by Leanne Edinger on Friday, July 27, 2001 at 00:49 IP Logged
Ms. Hillenbrand: I just finished Seabiscuit this week. It was a fabulously written book and what a great story. I can hardly wait for the movie to come out. Leanne Edinger
Kennan, WI USA

Comments by Kenny Powers on Friday, July 27, 2001 at 00:46 IP Logged
Dear Laura, I bought a copy of Seabiscuit just before heading to Louisville for this year's Derby. Last week, I finally picked the book up and started reading it and I can't put it down. As a part-time journalist covering the sport, your book has provided me a lot of insight into the sport of racing. I hope to finish it soon and I look forward to seeing any movie or documentary projects that may result from the book. From what I have read on the history of the sport, Ken Burns should consider a documentary project that could equal the Baseball series. Please visit our website at and we would love to have you on our radio show sometime in the near future. We also hope you will come to visit us at Colonial Downs sometime. The turf racing here is the best in the country.
Richmond, V USA

Comments by Tom Lathrop on Thursday, July 26, 2001 at 09:08 IP Logged
This is old-fahsioned sportswriting at its best, reliving an event through printed words rather than seeing it on television. Unparalleled elegance in writing. Here are some old horseracing postcards to cheer you up, Laura: Tom Lathrop
Newark, DE USA

Comments by virginia hernandez on Thursday, July 26, 2001 at 08:47 IP Logged
My goodness. When I was in my twenties I worked at DRC, here in Detroit. I worked for the likes of Ben Ciborne, Jack Van Berg, Dave Zakoor,etc,as a hot walker, and finally moving up to a groom. The tracks you wrote about in Seabiscuit ended in the decade I worked in the tracks...1970's. My memories went back to those early mornings, and I found myself telling my children stories I hadn't shared with them. I, too, worked on a horse that everyone else had given up on, while I worked at Oaklawn Park in Arkansas in 1980. His name was No Sad News and I called him Good News. He had girth really bad, his ears laid out like helicopter propellers..not a very attractive horse at all. But I wasn't the most attractive person in the world either, and he and I became friends. I spent my extra money on him, buying him his own brushes so his disease wouldn't spread,etc. T-Redd was his owner, and he wouldn't put the horse in any races...he considered him dog food. So, Good News and I would spend the afternoon, talking and waiting for his chance. Finally, I talked Redd into putting him in a cheap race..Redd waved me off at first, then agreed. Good News came in second. Redd took the horse from me and gave him to his girlfriend to groom after that. I left ARkansas shortly after. I left the race tracks, shortly after that as well. But your book is xcellent. I grew up hearing stories of Seabuscuit. My parents having lived during those times..were some of the black fans that little horse had. Not having lived in those times..I cheered on Secretariat, having his picture in my room, much like other girls had Donny Osmond,etc. Just wanted you to know how much I loved the book...and I may just study for my trainers license one of these days, if 42 isn't a bit old to do so!!!!!! HorseRacing never leaves your blood, I guess and your book reminded me of that!
detroit, mi USA

Comments by Pat Stierhoff on Thursday, July 26, 2001 at 04:25 IP Logged
Hi Laura, I have read many books, yours is without a doubt one I will remember and return to many times. I am an animal lover and just lost my dog of many years. These creatures can sure worm their way into our cold hearts, can't they? Well Seabiscuit has a place there too, thanks to you. I can only imagine how many times you had a good boo-hoo when you were writing his story.I was truly enchanted with the whole book. Thank you for your bull-headed courage to write it.Seabiscuit was a real pickle, and I have had a few animals with similar personalities. Thanks for the hearty laughs from his story. Now I read you have CFS, well I have fibromyalgia, and it can really tick you off when you can't go and do what you want. I have found the best solution is to get educated about your condition, find a good Dr., then spit in the eye of your illness! Stay ornery, and take care of you. Oh and do not give up on your writing, you can really punch up the suspense! Good luck.

Comments by cheri rupp on Thursday, July 26, 2001 at 02:58 IP Logged
Dear Laura, My heart went out to you when I read your story. I know what it's like to have doctors tell you it's all in your head when you can hardly walk across a room. I have been using 2 specific supplements for my CFS and they have greatly helped me, although my CFS is not nearly as bad as yours. They are grape seed extract and milk thistle. I would love to talk to you more about this if you have the time and energy. My prayers are with you. God bless. Cheri

Comments by wil johnson on Thursday, July 26, 2001 at 00:59 IP Logged
I just finished riding Seabiscuit!! Err... I mean Reading Seabiscuit. Actually, I listened to the Audio version. It was great! Thank you.
Palm Beach Gardens, FL USA

Comments by Kat Walker on Wednesday, July 25, 2001 at 09:24 IP Logged
To Kathy Shoemaker: No, Tom Smith was not Ted Smith, but Ted was one of his brothers. I am excited to hear of yet another connection to our family. My grandfather was Tom's brother. I just finished a trip to the Unaweep for some history research on the subject. Please e-mail me directly and we can set up yet another conversation with Tom Smith's long-lost relatives! I have photos of Ted from a LONG time ago.
Kerrville, TX USA

Comments by Kathy Shoemaker on Wednesday, July 25, 2001 at 08:50 IP Logged
Was Tom Smith also known, at any time as Ted Smith? In the early 1950's, my family used to go visit and elderly couple named Ted and Jenny Smith on various ranches that Ted was managing near King City, California. My Grand Junction, Colorado relatives claim that Ted was the trainer of Seabiscuit. Are Tom and Ted Smith one and the same? There is a distinct resemblance between the book's photos of Tom and my memory of how Ted looked. Can anyone help me clarify this?

Comments by Beth Williams on Wednesday, July 25, 2001 at 03:34 IP Logged
We have relatives in Louisville and I have always loved horses and horseracing. My husband grew up in Lexington. I have never been to a "real" horserace in thoroughbred country of Kentucky, but that is my dream. I am bedridden with CFS for 11 yrs, with seizures, and all the rest, as you well know what it is like. I bought the book because I have CFS and love horses, but was amazed to find I could not put the book down. You are a brilliant writer! And a great hero to writers everywhere but MOSTLY a hero to us suffering with CFS. Your story gives me hope to keep hanging on when I feel like giving up. What a book and what a writer! You're my heroine! Hope you make a million after all you went through to write it - a hero just like Seabiscuit's story. Love and good wishes, Beth

Comments by David Burgman on Wednesday, July 25, 2001 at 02:20 IP Logged
Hello Ms. Hillenbrand, My family has greatly enjoyed your fine book. Being Marylanders we especially enjoyed the "home" associations. The article in USA Today has led to many health suggestions. One that I did not see is perhaps the very best. Please accept my recommendation that you investigate Tahitian Noni Juice. It is a relatively new juice produced from fruit harvested in the Tahitian Islands. In five years, Morinda, the originator of the initial product has reached $1,000,000,000 in sales. We constantly share it with our friends and loved ones. CFS is just one thing that it seems to help. My wife has had great success with her Fybro Myalgia. My parents with a Cancer like blood disorder. I would be happy to send you literature with no obligation if you supply me with an address. Please give it a serious look. (You can log on to to see more.) Dave Burgman 624 Sawgrass Bridge Road Venice FL 34292 941-412-1103
Venice, FL USA

Comments by bob on Wednesday, July 25, 2001 at 01:49 IP Logged
I read Seabiscuit as soon as it came out and I've watched the incredible reader response with great interest. I'm not a big message poster but I'd like to add my 2 cents now. In 1978 the NY Times said this about my standard for non-fiction, John McPhee's "The Pine Barrens": "It will be a long time before another book appears to equal the literary quality and human compassion of this one. Among books of its type, it could be a classic." Well . . . . I think you've done it. Your reaction, at the moment you realized just what a book this could make, must have been much like old Tom Smith's when he understood for the first time the world-beater he had in his hands. It's a great story. But your writing does it credit. You put your heart on your sleeve in writing this book but did not lapse into sentimentality, which is quite a trick. The tension of the match race was perfectly teed up, and my sense of being there cheering in amazement as Seabiscuit "sailed into history, running easy" is one that many seem to have had and few will forget. That chapter, and a number of other passages, go beyond the printed page in a very rare way. The theme of finding and redeeming great value among the cast-aside and forgotten also resonates -- be it people or horses. I couldn't help comparing Seabiscuit's transformation from "mean, restive and ragged" to the change we've watched as one of our rescue dogs settled in, filled out and (more or less) got it together. My wife gave me quizzical looks when I'd try to explain why I kept re-reading this book. Then she read it. Her first comment was "this woman is a really good writer." As soon as she finished, she started again. So we're both hooked. This was easily one of the most enjoyable, engrossing reads I've ever run across, and any and all accolades are most well-deserved. Good luck in overcoming your health problems and keep on writing!
washington, DC USA

Comments by Ted Pearce on Tuesday, July 24, 2001 at 09:48 IP Logged
I knew virtually nothing about horse racing but fell in love with the "biscuit" You did a wonderful job of not just telling the story but allowing me to feel every stride. I don't think I have ever been quite so emotionally charged from one book. Who ever thought that a non-fiction book would be a "page turner?"
Charlotte, NC USA

Comments by Norm White on Tuesday, July 24, 2001 at 06:55 IP Logged
Ms. Hillenbrand, I read your original article on Seabiscuit in the July/August 1988 issue of AMERICAN HERITAGE magazine. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I have since read the book, which I enjoyed even more. If not for the former, I probably would have missed the latter. As it is, I'm happy to have read both. I've read quite a few histories of people, places, and events, and SEABISCUIT ranks among the best. The story is interesting in and of itself, but it benefits enormously from your telling. I sincerely hope that the Pulitzer committee gives it serious consideration; it is certainly deserving of such an honor. Best wishes for continued success, and all the best as well in your struggle against CFS.
Burke, VA USA

Comments by Dawn on Tuesday, July 24, 2001 at 05:32 IP Logged
I loved the book. I've just returned from Saratoga Springs, NY. There's a great Seabiscuit exhibit at the National Museum of Racing. Check it out!
Holt Summit, MO USA

Comments by juliane Brida on Tuesday, July 24, 2001 at 05:25 IP Logged
July 2001 Dear Ms. Hillebrand, The Belmont Child Care Association (BCCA) will hold its fourth, annual Fourstardave Gala and Auction on Wednesday, August 22. The fundraising event, held at Saratoga's Canfield Casino, attracts more then 200 members of the New York's prestigious Thoroughbred racing family. Proceeds from the evening will supply scholarships to families unable to afford the cost of tuition at Belmont Park's new child care center. With your help, we hope to exceed the $150,000 raised last year. Please add to the evening's success by contibuting an item to the auction. For your convenience, an auction contribution forn is enclosed. BCCA is not a not-for-profit corpration established to create and sustain a child care center for the benefit of working families at New York area racetracks. Plans to build a 7,500 square foot facility are underway. The center is expected to open next summer and has been designed to care for 80 children, ages six to five years, daily. Contributions to BCAA are tax deductible. I have just finished reading your wonderful book Seabiscut, An American Legend, and it has by far surpassed my greatest expectations. Our organization the BCCA would be honored and grateful if you would consider donating an autographed copy to be auctioned at our Gala. In advance, thank you for helping us care for the children. Sincerely, Juliane Brida Address: 2160 Rowley Road Malta, NY 12020
Malta, NY USA

Comments by Gale Lucy on Tuesday, July 24, 2001 at 03:56 IP Logged
Laura, I loved your book! I'm sorry to hear that you've been ill with CFS. I have MS so it is difficult to ride horses, but I still do -- I love horses! It is so wonderful that you wrote the book about Seabiscuit. He was so for gotten. Although I knew of him (photographs, etc. in books about horses) your history about him was so refreshing. It's a shame he died so young. However, it was a grand history of an incredible horse. Keep up the good work -- I've read some of your stuff in EQUUS. You must be very excited about the Seabiscuit movie, and I can't wait to see it! Gale
Miami Beach, FL USA

Comments by john on Tuesday, July 24, 2001 at 03:37 IP Logged
erie, pa USA

Comments by Jim Willcox on Tuesday, July 24, 2001 at 03:11 IP Logged
I was going to write something attemptedly eloquent but when I read all the other notes it's all pretty much been said. I just finished the book and my heart is in my throat. Also finding out the physical obstacles you are faced with and still able to pour incredible passion and feeling into your work is heroism of the highest order. I've been to the track at Pasadena many times and never knew the statues you described even existed. I'll sure look them up next time. My whole family will enjoy your book. My only concern is the making of the movie. I loved Bonfire of the Vanities and spoke to Tom Wolfe as it was being filmed. He told me he had no role and was very concerned about the outcome. The rest is history. God bless you, Jim
Kansas City , Mo USA

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