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Laura: Thank you so much for one of the finest books I have ever enjoyed. I made it a habit to read only small sections at a time because I didn't want it to end. I remember playing a board "horse racing" game when I was a kid. Among the competitors were Seabiscuit, Whirlaway, Gallant Fox, this brought back some great childhood memories for me as well. Again, thanks and congratulations on such a well documented, well written story.
Liz Muzio <>
San Jose, CA USA - Tuesday, June 05, 2001 at 11:47:24 (EDT)
Your book was great.Although born in 1961, I know feel like I was there. Don't let them screw up the movie. It has a chance to do for horseracing what Saturday Night Fever did for disco. Tom Amoss(eight time leading trainer at The New Orleans Fair Grounds)
tom amoss <>
louisville, ky USA - Tuesday, June 05, 2001 at 07:42:14 (EDT)
Note my e-mail address of Cbisquette. You can see that I have a more than casual interest in the horse! I was the fastest girl runner in the neighborhood as a child, and was given the nickname "Seabiscuit". Later in life (when I had reached the point I didn't want to disclose my age) I entered a 5K race. The results were to be published in the local newspaper under the various AGE catagories. Since I did not want anyone reading the results to know what age bracket I was in, I signed in under the ficticious name of "C.Bisquette". Sure enough, I won the race. As the awards were presented, the name "C. Bisquette" was called. When I approached the stand for the medal, the presenter asked me "What does the "C" stand for?" I had no response, as I felt if he had never heard of Seabiscuit, he wasn't deserving of one. :-) By the way, I loved the book, and was right there in the saddle with him.
Mary Hakala <>
Rockford, Il USA - Tuesday, June 05, 2001 at 07:07:08 (EDT)
Dear Ms. Hillenbrand: I just finished your book. Thank you so much for the ride!!!It was a special book for me as my grandparents saw Seabiscuit run often. They were at the 1938 Santa Anita Derby when Stagehand won. They were disappointed to say the least (we are from California). I still have the little gold cups that they drank from at the 1938 Santa Anita Ball. Seabiscuit is a role model for us all, and I am now looking for memorabilia. Could you please let me know some places I could go on the net to find some items? I come from a long line of horseracing fans. We had our own as well. My grandparents are now dead, but they told me many times about the courage, strength and heart of Seabiscuit. I remember as a little girl being put to bed with a story of how Seabiscuit ran War Admiral off the track. I wanted to hear that one every night! I thank you again for your words. They really brought to life how it would feel to be there. If it is not too much trouble, I would really like to know where I could collect some memories of the great horse. Thank you again and good luck on your movie. I know that they will do a good job if you are the consultant. Looking forward to it and thanks again for my fantasy ride. Very truly yours, Renee M. Marengo
Renee Marengo <>
Stockton, California USA - Monday, June 04, 2001 at 22:40:49 (EDT)
Hi Laura, Thanks so much for this book. I've loved racing since I was a kid, and while I've heard many stories about Seabiscuit over the years, I've never read anything so elegantly put together as this. thanks also for illuminating the dangerous life of riders in the early part of this century. This is more than a story about a horse and his handlers, however rousing; it has so much value as a light thrown into a shadowy corner of the past. Also a thought on other projects: I've seen suggestions for Exterminator, but a piece on Black Gold might be interesting as well - also an unlikely triad of hardscrabble jockey, offbeat trainer and an owner who didn't quite fit into the owner's mold - although that had a sadder ending. Be well. How wonderful that so many non-racing folks are digging in! What an accomplishment!
Kerry Sullivan <>
Sudbury, MA USA - Monday, June 04, 2001 at 21:03:37 (EDT)
Dear Laura, What a fantastic book! I've never had a great interest in horses or racing, but Seabiscuit's story goes beyond racing to become a great sports story. His will to win and desire to do nothing but run was incredible. I cried when he took one last look at the track on his way out of Santa Anita and knew his racing days were done. I can't wait for the movie.
Dan Sengstock <>
Phoenix, Az USA - Monday, June 04, 2001 at 19:35:21 (EDT)
Having no knowledge of horse racing -- and not a clue as to why I even bought the book -- I have to tell you how much I enjoyed the telling of this tale. My mother lives not far from Saratoga so my next visit will include a trip to see if it is as exciting in person as you made it sound on the pages of your book. It was a wonderful ride. Thank you!
peter taylor <>
toledo, oh USA - Monday, June 04, 2001 at 14:03:15 (EDT)
Thanks for a great book. Parts of it gave me the chills. It was a moving experience, in many ways a spiritual experience. David Ingram
David Ingram <>
Newnan, GA USA - Monday, June 04, 2001 at 12:47:32 (EDT)
Laura - Congratulations on a wonderful book! I'm sorry to say that I have just finished reading it; sorry because it had to come to an end. I was caught up in the excitement and suspense and would loved to have read about one more challenge and triumph for the great Seabiscuit. I've been a horselover all my life, but my prior reading on racehorses was largely limited to the fictional "Black Stallion" series by Walter Farley that I devoured when I was young. The true story you wrote surpassed the best of that fiction. Now that I'm hooked on the Seabiscuit legend, I can't wait for the new movie to come out. I hope it comes close to matching the drama and thrills you described in your book. In the meantime, I read in your Epilogue that you purchased one of the few remaining films of the Seabiscuit - War Admiral match race. I wonder if there is any way that a fan can see one of those films, or any films or newsreels of any of the major races won by Seabiscuit. Even listening to a recording of one of the radio calls of any of those races would be a thrill. Are there any archives, or Internet sites, where a fan can access those films or recordings? Thanks. (Look forward to hearing your interview on WJFK in Washington, D.C., tomorrow.)
Ralph Colleli <>
Washington, D.C., USA - Monday, June 04, 2001 at 11:01:14 (EDT)
Laura, you have written an absolutely wonderful book. I bought the book for my husband to read (because I really didn't have any interest in horses or horse racing). I opened the book thinking I would read just a few paragraphs and couldn't put it down. I finished it in a couple of days and I have been recommending it to everyone I know. Well done.
Sheri Jacobs <>
Chicago, IL USA - Monday, June 04, 2001 at 09:58:50 (EDT)
Just finished reading your book and having lived through that era as a jockey I was impressed with the extent of your research! I well remember old Red Pollard and Woolf, and I rode for Elizabeth Arden at one time. She was exactly as you portrayed her in the book. Am eagerly awaiting the movie!
Robert D. Jones <>
Satsuma, FL USA - Monday, June 04, 2001 at 09:16:30 (EDT)
Dear Laura Hillenbrand, I read "Seabiscuit" and enjoyed it immensely. Thank you for writing such a great book. I was never really interested in horse-racing until I heard Diane Reed interview you by telephone on National Public Radio. The more you talked, the more interested I became in your book. I admire your determination and long hard work in writing "Seabiscuit." You are a true inspirationDDDD!
Peter W. Colonis <>
Waterford, , CT USA - Monday, June 04, 2001 at 08:29:13 (EDT)
Dear Ms. Hillenbrand: What a fabulous finish to a typical even-keeled day! I sauntered into a local mall bookstore just before closing time, mainly just 'cause it was there...was only gonna browse quickly and go, but then I saw it: SEABISCUIT! I couldn't believe it- I'd read Come On, Seabiscuit! and other books on thoroughbreds from my youth, but none lately, as fresh material of this nature doesn't pop up every day! I bought your book on the spot, and now I'm very excited because of your revitalizing gift back to the thoroughbred! I have not been involved with racing except as a fan- but a true fan I have been...never has any aspect of this sport meant more to me than the sheer wonder and beauty of God's magnificent thoroughbred! Thank you for renewed excitement, both in my heart and in the heart of the industry that so very much needs it! Sincerely, Steven Ware (I'm excited, & I haven't even begun the book!)
Steven Ware <>
Bedford, Tx USA - Monday, June 04, 2001 at 01:00:47 (EDT)
FROM A CURED VERTIGO SUFFERER: I have suffered from vertigo badly, was on the verge on getting the disabling fatigue that can go with it and was about to lose my job. I have been cured by a 6th-generation Chinese acupuncturist, whom I've been seeing since March. Don't know if anyone has suggested this or if you've tried it, so I'll hold off from raving about my complete turn-around unless I hear from you. I could also find out if Mr. Leong has a recommended colleague in your area. I'm well enough to read again and plan to read your book. Soon I'll be ready to start riding and driving my big 'ol carriage horse again (yes, here in Brooklyn). I couldn't even think of it a few months ago and believe me, he ain't no Sea Biscuit. All the best.
Ellie Spielberg <>
Brooklyn, NY USA - Sunday, June 03, 2001 at 19:20:06 (EDT)
Thank you for a breathtaking ride with a legend. I couldn't stop myself from racing ahead to the next chapter. It is a thrilling story, told with masterly skill. Now I want to see everything I can about Seabiscuit. Marshall W. Mason, Mesa, AZ
Marshall W. Mason <>
Mesa, AZ USA - Sunday, June 03, 2001 at 17:38:59 (EDT)
I'm a young racing fan. "Seabiscuit" is the best written book on racing out there. It was a joy reading about my favorite sport and seeing it be so popular. However, I do have a small complaint. Before the book was published I had read bios on Seabiscuit and War Admiral on various web sites and in "Thoroughbred Champions: The Top 100 Racehorses of the 20th Century" (a great book, if you liked "Seabiscuit" you should try "Thoroughbred Champions"). I was really inspired by War Admiral's Belmont efforts. A whole chunk was ripped out of his hoof, and he leaps back up with the AGILITY OF A CAT and roars on to smash the track record set by his sire, the great Man o' War. All the while gushing a stream of blood.As equine artist Richard Stone Reeves said of the red blood, "The gallantry of the racehorse is his hall mark, and adding to the visual and emotional impact War Admiral thrust upon me that June day his own literal 'red badge of courage'. Courageous, indeed. And I was very disappionted to find this brave display of the equine spirit slighted in the chapter on War Admiral and replaced with an almost attempt to make a villian out of the Triple Crown winner.When Woolf said previous to the match-race, "Admiral has speed, good speed...speed when unopposed. But he's not game," I wanted to go back in time and give him a good smack. Not game??? Preposterous imagination.
Anne Llewellyn <>
Montgomery, Al USA - Sunday, June 03, 2001 at 17:25:53 (EDT)
Thanks so much for writing the book, Seabiscuit, An American Legend. I found myself getting so caught up in your descriptions, that I would have to stop reading and get up and walk off the tension before resuming. When I was a boy, I can recall how some adults would speak of a horse named "Seabiscuit", so I knew he existed, but I never found anything in print, so he kind of faded to the recesses of my memory. That is until I saw your book. I find it truly amazing how all four characters-the horse,owner,trainer and the jockey came together. If I didn't know that this was a true story, I'd swear this was pretty good fiction. It's the kind of book one could read again and again, A book for every horse person. I look forward to seeing the movie version. Thank-you
Hunt Cleveland <>
Leeds, AL USA - Sunday, June 03, 2001 at 12:38:58 (EDT)
I am listening to the audiobook now. Seabiscuit has just finally won the Santa Anita Hundred Grander. I am crying with joy! What a great horse. Thanks for a great book.
Jennifer Wise <>
Newport, RI USA - Sunday, June 03, 2001 at 12:36:52 (EDT)
Thanks so much for writing the book,Seabiscuit, An American Legend. I'm about half-way through and find myself getting so caught up in your descriptions, that I have to stop reading and get up and walk off the tension before resuming. When I was a young boy, I can recall how some adults would speak of a horse named "Seabiscuit", so I knew he existed, but I never found anything in print, so he kind of faded to the recess of my memory. That is until I saw your book. I find it truly amazing how all four characters-the horse,owner,trainer and jockey came together. If didn't know that this was a true story, I'd swear this was pretty good fiction. It's the kind of book one could read again and again. A book for every horse person should read. I look forward to the movis version.
Hunt Cleveland <>
Leeds, AL USA - Sunday, June 03, 2001 at 12:22:20 (EDT)
Laura- Thanks for a very, very fine read. I didn't grow up with horses, and my riding experiences have been limited to summer vacation pony rides with my daughter. Over the last few years, however, I've developed a fondness for the track (am heading up to Charles Town in the next hour or so), and mainly the interesting characters of all backgrounds who qualify as regulars. As well researched and organized as your book was, the thing I most enjoyed was its treatment of the characters. The minor ones provided great texture, and the main players were swept up in events too large to control. Somewhat like racing horses, no? Congrats!
Patrick Donohue <>
Rockville, MD USA - Sunday, June 03, 2001 at 08:50:08 (EDT)
I just finished reading "Seabiscuit, An American Legend." You have written a wonderfully visual book. Once I started reading it, I couldn't put it down. I felt like I had ridden every race. You had me laughing and crying often on the same page. Like the earlier entry from Wisconsin, I have always thought that Secretariat was the greatest horse that ever lived. But now, I wish that I could have seen Seabiscuit. That would have truly been a match race made in Heaven- maybe it is! Thank you for one of the best books (on any subject) that I have ever read. Thank God that you are consulting on the movie. It has to be better than the first one.
Mary <>
Memphis, TN USA - Sunday, June 03, 2001 at 01:24:05 (EDT)
Dear Laura: It might be said of Charles Dickens or Mark Twain that they had the capacity to see life bigger than it is and ten times as natural. There is in your work that quality. As a child in the Burlingame of the 1950's my favorite among the books in my father's library had a red pigskin cover on which embossed in gold was "Seabiscuit." Published in 1940 it was filled with photographs of glamorous people and memorable events that could as easily have been at home in Life Magazine. Charles S. Howard's testimonial to Seabiscuit's greatness -"courage, honesty and physical prowess...intelligence and understanding almost spiritual in quality" - was compelling. Beckwith's writing was engaging. Yet in your telling the story takes us far beyond the news accounts and popular culture which are a part of it. Charles and Tom and Red, and all of the others, are present in your writing - ten times as natural. As we travel with them through times of triumph and despair, of adversity and of uncommon courage, it is the human condition that we come to know better through your words. By any measure you have given us work of such excellence that it is timeless.
richard rosenblatt <>
USA - Sunday, June 03, 2001 at 01:01:51 (EDT)
I always enjoy reading horse books.I am the proud owner of a equine rescue farm here in Alabama.Would love to read the book when I can found it.Name of my rescue farm is: S.A.G.E. Rescue Farm Love horse ,save all god`s equines! Sara
Sara J. Cullum <>
Dozier, AL United States - Sunday, June 03, 2001 at 00:05:31 (EDT)
dear Laura, I was watching the late news when i saw my last name. Hillenbrand is not the most common name, so i looked up your book on the n.y. best sellers list. Can not wait to read about old seabiscuit. You and i look the same, it's the eyebrows we could be brother and sister. Good luck with the book i am pulling for my name sake..Keith
Keith Hillenbrand <>
south riding, va USA - Saturday, June 02, 2001 at 23:47:14 (EDT)
Thank you, Ms. Hillenbrand, for writing this book.
El Ingles <>
Bilbao, Spain - Saturday, June 02, 2001 at 18:53:53 (EDT)
Laura: I couldn't put the book down. Can't wait for the movie. You've inspired me to research my own horse's pedigree which includes what I believe/hope are "little buscuit" mares. I've racked the internet looking for pedigree information on a t.b. mare, "Sea Food", 4 generations back from my (1980) gelding, 1940's? Also, her daughter, "4-Ps Seabiscuit Mare" (3 gens back), and her daughter "4-Ps Sea Queen." I cannot determine if these are actually Seabiscuit progeny. Do you know? It would be great to actually have a Seabiscuit descendant!
Gillian van Muyden <>
Shadow Hills, CA USA - Saturday, June 02, 2001 at 18:45:56 (EDT)
Dear Ms. Hillenbrand, What an amazing book! I have been a horsewoman all of my life. My sons and daughter too. One son works at Warner Bros., has his training license and lives in Arcadia. I pass Santa Anita several times a week when I am there visiting. I will never drive casually by the track again for I will always hear the "crowd" screaming for Seabiscuit. What a great horse! What a great story! What a great writer! Congratulations! Betsy Binder
Betsy Binder <>
Pittsburgh, Pa USA - Saturday, June 02, 2001 at 18:21:50 (EDT)
Ms. Hillenbrand, What a fantastic book. It is really a love story.
garland gibbs <>
luray , va USA - Saturday, June 02, 2001 at 17:01:28 (EDT)
Laura: Thank you for a great book, look foward to the movie. As a horse lover and horseback rider, I felt in the way you wrote I was riding SEABISCUIT in his great races. Thanks again, look foward to more of your books.
Joe Gero <>
Rockaway, NJ USA - Saturday, June 02, 2001 at 14:19:05 (EDT)
Loved the book - cannot wait for the movie.
Susan Smith <>
Nassau, Bahamas - Saturday, June 02, 2001 at 14:17:55 (EDT)
When I heard your interview on NPR I was fascinated and intrigued to read your book. Thank you for providing such a personal history of Seabiscuit and the people involved in helping to make him an American Legend. Your portrayal of the personalities of the principals, including Seabiscuit, made their history come to life. Again, thank you for a wonderfully written book.
Sandra M. Seip <>
Pittsburgh, PA USA - Saturday, June 02, 2001 at 11:17:32 (EDT)
Dear Ms. Hillenbrand, I have read at least 15-20 books on thoroughbred racing including all of the major books on Northern Dancer, Secretariat, Cigar, Nijinsky II, Hyperion, etc. Your book was easily the BEST. It was exquisitely researched and reported and as someone who greatly appreciates such efforts, I would like to thank you from the bottom of my heart. In conclusion, if you are looking for a subject for a next book, please consider writing a book on the life and progeny of what I consider to be the most overlooked champion of the last half of the 20th century - Nijinsky II. This was essentially a North American horse that did its racing in Europe but also stood at stud in the USA. I'm sure you know the subject better than I. Thanks again, Frank Swan
Frank Swan <>
Knoxville, TN USA - Saturday, June 02, 2001 at 10:39:03 (EDT)
Dear Laura I loved your bok about Seabiscuit. I grew up with parents who went to Belmont and Aqueduct and watched racing on TV with my Dad esp the triple crown races. I have always loved horses and their indominable spirit. The only thing I would have liked to see in your book was a geneological tree of Seabiscuits heritage and line! Hope you continue this type of work and can tell us more about this fascinating part of our American Heritage. Best of luck congrats for wonderful work. Mary
mary finch kay
NY USA - Saturday, June 02, 2001 at 09:26:22 (EDT)
Phenomenal. Many thanks for so beautifully rendering the story of such an amazing creature and those who loved him.
K. Miller <>
Oakland, CA USA - Saturday, June 02, 2001 at 03:47:11 (EDT)
Laura, Congratulations on a wonderful book from a fellow writer and Kenyon classmate from the class of '89! You deserve all the praise in the world for this work, clearly written from your heart. You've inspired me to get off my ass and finally make the jump from weekly columns to attempting a non-fiction book. Hopefully I'll be able to put as much heart in my topic as you so clearly have in yours. All the best, Jim Kerr Kenyon College '89
Jim Kerr <>
Dallas, TX USA - Saturday, June 02, 2001 at 01:04:07 (EDT)
Dear Laura, I have already left you a message, and I do not know if you answer your own correspondance or not. I am interested in finding Charles Howard lll, and his wife, so I can get their approval to have them in my biography "Stick with me and you'll be wearing Diamonds." If they have an E-Mail, please try and take the time to see that I get it.I can't put Seabiscuit down eventhough I have already read it.There are so many things in the book that I am familiar with, and people too. Dave butler was one of my fathers best friends. My family owned the BAM Stables, here in Northern CA. my Dad is Sam Basin and Joe Alioto was one of his partners, in BAM Stables. Our home turf is Bay Meadows. I know how busy you must be with the movie, but I do hope you have time to answer some of these messages. Thank You for your generosity in advance. Nancy Anne Wakeman
Nancy Anne Wakeman <>
Petaluma, CA USA - Friday, June 01, 2001 at 17:36:47 (EDT)
This is the most wonderful book I have read in a long time. I usually begin reading another book as soon as I finish one, but it's been two weeks since I finished Seabiscuit and I just can't bring myself to start reading anything else right now. I was so moved by Seabiscuit's story, and I'm still relishing it. Like many other postings here, I cried several times during the book. Thank you for sharing such a wonderful story. Someone on an earlier post asked if tapes of his races were available. An audio of the race with War Admiral is available at, and the Santa Anita Handicap of 1940 can be heard on Also on is a reprint of Grantland Rice's sports article written after the race with War Admiral. Thanks again for the fabulous book!
USA - Friday, June 01, 2001 at 15:15:41 (EDT)
"Seabisquit" is a wonderful story wonderfully written! I am reading the book slowly because I don't want it to end! Actually, I am riding my two horses more often now that I am reading the book! I hope you write another book on any subject! Mike Campana Freedom New York 14065
michael J. Campana <>
Freedom, ny USA - Friday, June 01, 2001 at 14:22:44 (EDT)
great book but odd cover. who selected that picture? weird.
USA - Friday, June 01, 2001 at 13:55:44 (EDT)
Laura, Great read. Great story. Great Horse. Thoroughbred Racing needed your book. It also needs another Seabiscuit. Thanks.
Terry Carpenter <>
Ashburn, VA USA - Friday, June 01, 2001 at 09:49:27 (EDT)
Dear Laura, I was moved to read Seabiscuit after hearing your interview with Scott Simon on NPR. Just an hour ago, I finished reading the book, on the train home from work. A hard-bitten journalist myself, I am almost ashamed to say, I cried. What struck me was the passion--and the way this passion was communicated in the unlikely fortunes of four men and a horse. Yet, there is one question. Why, on the front cover, is Seabiscuit half-hidden? The photo is unquestionably evocative. But it seems sad to me that the athlete whose name is a metaphor for unbridled spirit is almost an after-thought in this photo Thank you, never-the-less, for a wonderful story.
Danice Kern <>
Chicago, IL USA - Thursday, May 31, 2001 at 22:27:37 (EDT)
Dear Laura, I am writing a biography about my childhood in Woodside, Charles Howard lll, was a close friend. I have been trying to get hold of Chuck do you have his address? My biography is actually about my childhood combined with manic depressive illness. I hope it sells well as I too know about Bay Meadows, and Willits, Chuck took me there when I was young. I was an au pair for Chipper and Janis Howard the great grandchildren of Chares Howard. I am sorry I have rambled on about myself, but I am excited also. Your book is my favorite book of all time, I can't leave it alone. Seabiscuit will live forever.
Nancy Anne Wakeman <>
Petaluma, Ca. USA - Thursday, May 31, 2001 at 18:17:27 (EDT)
May 31, 2001 - NOTE TO READERS: If you have any comments on this subject send them to the email address below. Laura, on your book, "Seabiscuit", I have this to say: "The total of this story adds up to far more than the sum of all the parts." I started out to write you a brief message and congratulate you on one of the greatest books ever written, and you can see the "brief" part didn't work! Your wonderfully written book did not end for me, because I started in middle, went to front, skipped around the reference pages, so it wouldn't end! I knew it was a treasure as soon as I touched the cover, then read the first lines. Later, my husband and I listened to the tapes. Now I am also reading it from front cover to back cover, with a bookmark different from all the other ones I have inserted for reference! The horse Tick Tock, on pg. 18, is one I rode when he was at Ridgewood, not knowing then that he was a racetrack pony. He was a handful sometimes, and bucked me off soundly one time when I was about age 10, knocking me out and painfully injuring my ankle, while we girls were riding way out in the hills just coming back from an all-day ride. Didn't ever know if he got a bee or maybe a burr under his saddle blanket, or was just being Tick Tock! Your riveting, descriptive, passionate story shows that you did endless research, interviews, contacts and connections, outline, and structure to assemble this in such a perfect fashion; so readable, so engrossing, so memorable, so riveting and so gracefully blending the years and the events, weaving it into this classic story that deservedly tops the best-seller lists everywhere! You have created a masterpiece of a human-interest story of the people involved, starring a horse with a human soul and mind. We certainly appreciate your extreme efforts and courage and persistence in pursuing your story in spite of your disabling health condition, and we wish you all the success in the future with both your writing and your improving health. Being a fellow writer, I can really appreciate your accomplishments! You have done a real service to the racetrack world, restoring the vivid images of what racing was like at one time. Racing is still exciting, anytime, anywhere, any kind of racetrack, but we needed to get the interest of the world again, and you may have done it with your book! Your book on Seabiscuit told me things about the Howards and Seabiscuit and Ridgewood that I didn't know before now, even though I grew up on Ridgewood Ranch in the 40's. I was very young when we went to Ridgewood, and loved all the great horses there, but did not know this much about their great accomplishments and popularity then. The Seabiscuit I knew was a kind old brown horse who slept under the oak tree a lot, and came over to the fence to visit us once in a while. He loved to roll in the dirt, which is a cleansing and cooling act for a horse, and the grooms had a hard time keeping him clean of dust and presentable for his public. The many tourists who came there to see him used to exclaim over this great horse, and talk about his great races, referring to events that happened about the time I was born. Some even asked us if this ordinary looking horse was really The Biscuit! Mr. Howard rode him, and I wondered how such a great racehorse could also be such a nice saddle horse, since most of the horses I had seen from the track were really excitable. By contrast, Kayak and Ajax and Sabu and Mioland, and the others would show off for the visitors, prancing and rearing and putting on a show. I did not know the FULL details of the story of Seabiscuit from way back, until I became immersed in your wonderful book! When we left Ridgewood in 1950, (which, by the way, I thought was the end of the world!) we went to Pleasanton, California, to train horses at the wonderful Pleasanton racetrack. I then became acquainted with the exciting racetrack world of the 1950's. In parting, Mr. Howard had given my Dad a classy well-bred broodmare named Sag Rock, who was in foal to Sabu, along with a promised breed-back to Sabu. The first colt we had from that mare, born black and turned a silvery grey, named Sabu Rock, was an impressive racehorse, and won his first start by many, and set track records. My Dad trained him, and I spent all the time I could at the barn with Dad, also "training"! So when he won, we were all really a part of the success. What a great experience that was for us! Thank you to the friend who sent me this early birthday gift of the Seabiscuit book and the audio tapes! She was the first friend I made after leaving Ridgewood and moving to Pleasanton, California, a week before school started, as a newcomer on my first day of high school! That was a few years ago! And after seeing this book, and checking out this Website, the other wonderful thing to happen is that I saw an Email from one of the girls who lived at Ridgewood the same time as I did, requesting information on my whereabouts after all these years. I began to compose an Email to her, became impatient, and called her instead, surprising my friend Laverne with a voice from the past! We have not seen each other for 50 years, and not corresponded for about 25 or 30 years. After initial hellos, we began to reminisce, and the stories poured out! We agreed that Ridgewood was indeed a paradise to grow up in! And that she, her sister, and I must get together and get re-acquainted and go over the Ridgewood days. We all remember each other as young; I imagine there have been a few changes in our lives and in our appearance! But the bond still remains between we three having that wonderful adventure of living at Howard's Ridgewood Ranch in the 1940's. My husband and I still have many friends and lots of family in Mendocino County, and in Willits, and go back to visit several times a year, to July 4th Frontier Days, class reunions, and other gatherings. I have never gone back into Ridgewood Ranch again since leaving 51 years ago because I wanted to remember it like it was when we left. As we drive past, I always look past Big Rock Candy Mountain down into that valley, and can see where we lived, how the trees have grown, and remember the wonderful life there. Friends have urged me to go see it again, and perhaps it is time now to do that. Laura, I, like many others, would enjoy corresponding with you and sharing some other thoughts on Ridgewood and Seabiscuit and mementos of that era. If you have time for such stuff, please contact me by Email for more direct contact information. Sincerely, Jani Email: Nevada, USA
Jani <>
NV USA - Thursday, May 31, 2001 at 15:48:34 (EDT)
Beautiful, beautiful story. Thank you so much for writing it. Get well soon.
dan vogel <>
USA - Thursday, May 31, 2001 at 14:18:45 (EDT)
Dear Laura: Your telling of the life and times of Seabiscuit and the people who surrounded him is a treasure. An avid horse lover like so many young girls, I had a brief time in the early 1970s during college when I owned a race track "recycle" that I called Seaside. I don't remember his reg. name or tattoo, but he broke his maiden at Ak-Sar-Ben track in May of I think 1970 or 1971. I showed him in some local hunter classes but had to sell him after a couple of years. After that I lost track of him. Your book mesmerized me to the point that I gasped out loud on the bus to work yesterday as I was reading the section on the match race with War Admiral. I had to get off at my stop and run up to my desk to find out who won. I finished the book on the bus ride home yesterday, wiping away tears, hoping no one noticed, and then immediately drove to the home of a good friend who I rode with years ago. She is reading it now. If the movie is done right (and how often does that happen?) it will be wonderful. I'm crossing my fingers that the director finds the heart of the story the way you did.
Lisa Marshall <>
USA - Thursday, May 31, 2001 at 13:21:15 (EDT)
I don't have anything to add to the long list of things which were said before this letter was posted except I hope to find a few more books in my life this well written. What a life it would be. Thank you.
Steven Thomsen
Hampden, MA USA - Thursday, May 31, 2001 at 11:31:25 (EDT)
It's been a long time since I've read a book that kept me up until the wee hours of the morning because I could not put it down. Seabiscuit is just such a book. It is a compelling story that is beautifully written. The thorough research that went into writing it shines through in every single word. It's a shame that you can only read a book for the first time once, because reading this book was nothing short of a magical experience. Thank you, Ms. Hillenbrand, for your wonderful work of literary art.
Elizabeth Tobio <>
USA - Thursday, May 31, 2001 at 10:10:43 (EDT)
Ms. Hillenbrand: Your book is truly worthy of all the superlatives used to describe it and the impact it produces on the readers. You are worthy of some literary award. You have added new dimensions to my enjoyment of thoroughbred racing. Reading the comments in this Guestbook is a true spiritual experience... a real eye-opener to all the goodness that exists in so many people. And you as an artist with such talent and humanity are responsible for this genuine outpouring of love and praise. Please keep on writing. I pray for better health for you.
Tom Forte
Glenview, IL USA - Thursday, May 31, 2001 at 00:39:54 (EDT)
Ms. Hillenbrand . . . You may be already considering this . . Exterminator (Old Bones) would be a good consideration for your next project.
gary eagling <>
ocean , md USA - Wednesday, May 30, 2001 at 19:47:27 (EDT)
hello!My father was a jockey all his life and started racing at the early age of eight years old,in match races.He knows the history and mystery of a horse by the name of shue fly,and I would like to get in contact with you. I am reading this book to him, his eyesight is failing him, but the book and the memories made his day!!
mae dominguez <>
farmington, NM USA - Wednesday, May 30, 2001 at 19:14:37 (EDT)
Your book completely brings to life the story of Seabiscuit and is a true inspiration. It is wonderfully enlightening and historical.
Pamela <>
USA - Wednesday, May 30, 2001 at 16:29:20 (EDT)
Sounds like an excellent Story - I look forward to the movie! Excellent website, loved the design! Ciao for now! Jeff
Jeff McCormick <>
North Gower, ON Canada - Wednesday, May 30, 2001 at 14:03:44 (EDT)
Thanks for bringing horseracing back to this Omahan. What a great horse and a great book!
D L Tatum <>
Omaha, NE USA - Wednesday, May 30, 2001 at 13:37:07 (EDT)
Dear Laura, Your empathy and understanding of the horses and humans that lived this tale, combined with your ability to write so beautifully, created a book with great heart that was a joy to read. As a woman with a passion for horses, as well as writing, I wanted to thank you for your inspiration - this book spoke to me on many levels. Be well. And please, continue to share your storytelling gift. Susan
Susan Terrell <>
USA - Wednesday, May 30, 2001 at 12:47:55 (EDT)
Completly enjoyed the book, It was excellent. As a kid, I remember reading a book call "Come On Seabiscuit". When I saw the review of your book in the Omaha paper I deceided to order it. What a great horse, and a great story. Well Done.
Don Voss <>
Omaha, NE USA - Wednesday, May 30, 2001 at 07:55:52 (EDT)
Dear Laura: You have written a beautiful book about what it means to have heart. Congratulations on the style and grace with which you told Seabiscuit's story. It's impossible to comprehend the obstacles you overcame to do it, but clearly you were the one meant to tell this story. Thank you for the inspiration.
Laura Johnston <>
Chicago, IL USA - Wednesday, May 30, 2001 at 00:05:38 (EDT)
I've just started reading this book and have remembered I have a closeup picture of Seabiscuit that is a lot clearer than those in the book. He's standing by himself in a stable area (probably Tanforan)and the picture clearly shows his short tail and crooked leg. I'd like to share it with you as it seems you don't have one similar. Let me know if you want it and I'll try to get someone to help me send it to you as an attachment to a email. Good book so far.
Pat Pierce <>
Richmond, CA USA - Tuesday, May 29, 2001 at 22:50:34 (EDT)
I was sitting down one night with my dad, and we were watching the AMC channel when "The Story of Seabiscuit" came on. I knew a book had come out, and I wanted to read more on the great horse. I have thoroughly enjoyed the book, and plan to learn more on this great horse. I own a big, bulky palomino quarter horse that people said would not be a good pole bending horse due to his bulkiness and size. Well, so far they have been wrong. Dusty has outran some of the greatest little pole horses in the area that make it through faster than him, and it just goes to show you that looks and conformation are not what makes a winner, but heart. I really enjoyed your book, and I am anxiously awaited movie updates!
Lori Simpson <>
Olive Branch, MS USA - Tuesday, May 29, 2001 at 22:15:36 (EDT)
This is the kind of book which can capture the imagination of people. Horseracing desparately needs this book. Industry execs bemoan the competition from other forms of legalized gambling, but they are missing the point. Most people who habituate racetracks actually do love horseracing. It isn't the most facile form of gambling. God knows, slot machines are way ahead of horseracing in that regard. The reason people like to bet on horses is because they identify with a particular horse, or trainer, or jockey and feel validated when the horse wins. A great book like yours inspires people - albeit vicariously - to participate in this great sport. That's my excuse. God bless you and I hope your health improves so you can continue writing great books and enjoy your life. Thank you for the opportunity to express my feelings to you.
Bill Kaup <>
Lutherville, MD USA - Tuesday, May 29, 2001 at 19:46:36 (EDT)
Dear Ms. H.: You did a marvelous job researching and telling a great racing story. My father, if he were still alive, would now be 92-years-old. I grew up in the shadow of a man who owned race horses in the midwest during those years. He told many colorful tales and I was priviledged to meet many colorful racing people. Racing has many, many wonderful stories and I am thrilled you told this one. Bean Burr
Bean Burr <>
Goodrich, MI USA - Tuesday, May 29, 2001 at 18:15:12 (EDT)
Dear Laura - Saratoga is looking to honor your contributions to horse racing. Will you be in Saratoga for the Travers? Can't get into details here. Please e-mail me back.
Wilson Kimball <>
USA - Tuesday, May 29, 2001 at 16:43:54 (EDT)
I love Seabiscuit, and have admired him since I was a small girl. I am putting my husband through school right now and cannot afford to purchase the book, but will as soon as we have a spare cent. Seabiscuit is a hero and legend forever a part of american history, now thanks to you he will not be forgotten.
Rachael M. Lontin <>
Centuria, WI` USA - Tuesday, May 29, 2001 at 16:27:25 (EDT)
Hello Laura; Just started reading your far ...Beautiful! Am interested in talking to you about doing my biography. Please e mail or call....352-266-4154. Thank you...Jacinto Vasquez (former Jockey)
Jacinto/Cyndi Vasquez < or>
Ocala, FL USA - Tuesday, May 29, 2001 at 15:57:03 (EDT)
Dear Ms. Hillenbrand: I just finished reading your wonderful book, which fell into the category of those I wished would not end. Congratulations on a masterpiece of story-telling, research and craftsmanship. I'm apprehensive about the movie, given Hollywood's track record, but will hope for the best. My wife and I have owned, bred, raced and sold thoroughbreds since 1970, starting off in Fairfax County, VA (probably not too far from your home) and continuing here in NY since 1975. We have bred two NY champions and Jane was leading consignor by average price at the Keeneland September yearling sale a few years ago. Our son, Richard, trained Maria's Mon, 1995 Eclipse two-year-old colt and sire of Kentucky Derby winner Monarchos. Best wishes for continued success in all you do, equine and otherwise.
paul a. schosberg <>
katonah, ny USA - Tuesday, May 29, 2001 at 15:30:19 (EDT)
Hooray For SEABISCUIT! Hooray for SEABISCUIT! Hooray for SEABISCUIT!
Elizabeth A. Lion Januzzi <>
Harrisburg, PA USA - Tuesday, May 29, 2001 at 13:39:15 (EDT)
Bought/read book immediately after seeing review in Sports Illustrated and enjoyed it immensely. Heard your interview w/Ralph Barbieri on KNBR San Francisco, but they didn't seem to want to do call ins while you were on. I have an early 50s (I think - haven't looked at publication date lately) book called "The Story of Seabiscuit" that is a thin, large format book with lots of photos and ink sketches that I picked up in a used book store. It was interesting to refer to it while reading your marvelous book. One thing that really jumped out at me in your book and prompts me to comment here is all the mentions of "Grog", Seabiscuit's half-brother and "stand in." My horse is a 16.1+ racebred, very TB in type, Appaloosa, and his maternal great-grandsire is Grog. In fact, my horse is registered as "Viking Grog." I was curious as to what happened to Grog? Obviously, he wasn't much of a racehorse, but did stand at stud. My horse's granddam is Apple Swizzle, by Grog. Did the Howards keep him and breed him? Seabiscuit, sadly, died so relatively young, which I had not known until I read your book. How long did Grog live? The Fair Play/Man O'War/Hardtack temperament is obviously quite attenuated by the time it got to my horse - who is quite mellow (or the Appy cross did that for him!). On a more personal (to you) note, while I cannot recall the details, there was a recent article in the magazine "Equus" regarding CFS in horses. They said there were some advances in treatment there that might be applicable to people. Have you read this article or heard anything about this possible help for people with CFS? My best to you and much further success.
Sandra Marrujo <>
San Francisco, CA USA - Tuesday, May 29, 2001 at 12:18:51 (EDT)
Awesome! I loved the book so much I already bought the audio book! Keep up the great work! I am a new fan for sure!!
Debbie <>
Tallahassee, FL USA - Tuesday, May 29, 2001 at 11:57:30 (EDT)
Thank you for reminding us that greatness can exist in unassuming profiles of man or beast. I enjoyed every word of your book, and every character touched my heart.
Kimberly <Kimberly>
Wheat Ridge, CO USA - Tuesday, May 29, 2001 at 10:17:59 (EDT)
Dear Ms. Hillenbrand, I just finished your book and loved it. I was so impressed with your writing and the amount of research you did to tell Seabiscuit's story. Truly, your words transported me into the saddle with Red as he guided Seabiscuit around the track! I recently read an article in the Washington Post's Style section about you and your struggle with CFS and I'm amazed at your perseverance. You are an inspiration to writers, like me, who want badly to write but who cannot devote as much time as they'd like to writing (because of work, family, health). So when I read in the Post how you continued to write (and research your story)even though you were sick, I took heart and have been motivated to keep working. For the past two years, I've been in a writers' group that meets in downtown Washington, DC. Since you live in the area, I'd like to invite you to one (or more) of our meetings. I'm sure you get similar invitations all the time, but I wanted you to know that you are welcome. (We are all women in our late 20s-30s who meet twice-monthly to share our work and talk about writing.) I hope you will consider joining us. Thank you again for writing such a wonderful book.
Denice Aldrich Jobe <>
Centreville, VA USA - Tuesday, May 29, 2001 at 10:15:03 (EDT)
This is a great book. If they haven't selected the actors for the movie, may I suggest. Joe Don Baker as Mr Charles Howard, Sean Penn as the Red Pollard, and Robert Duval as Mr Tom Smith. This should be a dynamite movie
George Kay <>
Phoenix, az USA - Tuesday, May 29, 2001 at 09:37:35 (EDT)
Thank you for the wonderful book. My sister told me it was a 'must read', and I couldn't agree with her more. I read it cover to cover in one day because I couldn't put it down. The horse and the people in the story are amazing, but I am really impressed with the effort it must have taken you and your team to bring the story back to life for those of us who weren't around to see it unfold. Seabiscuit would have liked you...he never gave up on a race and you never gave up on this book. Thanks again, Kathy Kalkofen
Kathy Kalkofen <>
Naperville, IL USA - Tuesday, May 29, 2001 at 00:48:26 (EDT)
I would like to express to you my profound thanks for this book. After hearing our interview on NPR, I purchased this wonderful book, and dove in. Too many years have passed since I picked up a book and was consumed with the story and the manner in which it was told. This is a book that I will return to many times in the years to come.
Rodney Brown <>
OKC, OK USA - Monday, May 28, 2001 at 22:18:14 (EDT)
Laura - I just finished your wonderful book. I've always loved thoroughbred racing (and reading biographies) and this was the best of both worlds. I especially got a real kick out of Tom Smith's deceptions involving Grog. An immensely well-written book, filled with humor and heart -- completely engrossing -- I was so sorry to see it end.
Beth Koch <>
Las Vegas, NV USA - Monday, May 28, 2001 at 21:24:17 (EDT)
Laura, it has been a long time since I picked up a book and couldn't put it down until completely read! I bought your book because I always wanted to know more about the legend of Seabiscuit. What a masterpiece! Great style, great story, great inspiration! I've read through all the other letters on this website and there isn't anything I can add. You have another fan and I will follow your career from now on. Will you be at any book signings in the near future? I can't wait for the movie, but doubt it will beat your great narrative of this wonderful story. Good Luck..
Debra Biggerstaff <>
Bentonville, AR USA - Monday, May 28, 2001 at 20:25:42 (EDT)
Sorry for the typo--I hate that. I can spell excitement--too quick on the editing. RJC
R. J. Cardin
USA - Monday, May 28, 2001 at 19:20:20 (EDT)
Dear Ms. Hillenbrand: You have written a magnificent book--articulate, exhaustively researched--capturing the real essence of the sport/industry. I am a thoroughbred owner, an avid reader and one who would like to see the industry return to the days of fervor and excitiement as so eloquently described in your book. Simulcasting is the wave of the future as it drives down day to day track attendance, leaving us with the Triple Crown and to a lesser degree the Breeder's Cup as we try to build a renewed fan base. Almost everything now is purely a function of money, driving the word sport out of horse racing language. Seabiscuit and his story, particularly the human beings around him, enlightens us on the real challenges down the road to success--health of the horse and the people. It is a tough business and no one has illustrated that better than you. I urge you to seek out other thoroughbred horse racing stories and tell the stories in your most exciting style. Thank you and best wishes, Dick Cardin
Richard J. Cardin <>
Coconut Grove, FL USA - Monday, May 28, 2001 at 19:02:28 (EDT)
Dear Laura, As a former Standard Bred owner/trainer/breeder for almost 20 years, I have some ideas about some pretty terrific Standard Breds right on a par with Seabiscuit for your consideration. Can't wait to see the movie. Please contact me if you are interested in my ideas. Still love horses, even after 20 years out of the business. Miss them. Love your work. Sincerely, Marcia
Marcia <>
Rochester, NY USA - Monday, May 28, 2001 at 16:07:16 (EDT)
Dear Laura, I'm flabbergasted. As a former Standard Bred owner/trainer/breeder for almost 20 years, what can I say, it staggered me. If you have time, could you contact me about some ideas I have if you'd be interested in writing about some Standard Breds I have known (on par with Seabiscuit) for you to write about. It's been since 1980, and I still have horses in my blood. Contact me, please. Thank you for a stupendous book. Can't wait for the movie!
Marcia K. <>
Rochester, NY USA - Monday, May 28, 2001 at 15:53:39 (EDT)
Thank you for a remarkable book. I enjoyed every minute of it. My greatuncle, still living in the NY area, was fortunate enough to see the Seabiscuit vs War Admiral race. His recollections are precious!
Ellen <>
Peoria, AZ USA - Monday, May 28, 2001 at 14:25:28 (EDT)
Dear Laura Hillenbrand, Once I picked up the book I couldn't put it down. This is a GREAT story that had to be told. Thanks for taking the time! Gregory
Gregory Harmon <>
Albuquerque, NM USA - Monday, May 28, 2001 at 09:57:21 (EDT)
Hi Laura--Thank you for a remarkable book. What moves me the most is the dedication of Tom Smith and Red Pollard, who were willing and able to take the time to learn Seabiscuit and bring out his best--with no guarantee of return on their time investment. It appears you did the same with your work, putting years of intense dedication into the project, and I hope it's paid off for you as much as it paid off for me as a reader. I'll read anything you ever write again. Thanks.
J.G. Preston <>
St. Cloud, MN USA - Monday, May 28, 2001 at 07:46:04 (EDT)
Dear Ms Hillenbrand, I have just finished reading Seabiscuit, virtually at a single sitting, and would like to record my praise. I own The Sports Bookshop in Cardiff, UK and will ensure that my customers are made fully aware of this quality book. Regards, Steve Lewis.
Steve Lewis <>
Cardiff, South Wales, UK - Monday, May 28, 2001 at 06:48:04 (EDT)
Dear Ms. Hillenbrand: I read a lot of books and yours was the best I had read in a long time. You write beautifully and I was caught up immediately. And as someone else wrote earlier, when I was finished with the story I felt like I had lost some friends. Their lives ended so differently, and the last few years of Tom's life sound so sad. Was his son around during those years? What happened to him? Like others, I would like to know if anyone is working on making it possible to access the radio broadcasts and newsreel footage, hopefully on-line? I'm really itchin' to see Seabiscuit in action. Geez my dad was like 2 when the Biscuit was hitting his stride so I never had the chance catch him in action. But the story is bigger than the individuals involved: It's one of those "human" stories of struggling and success that is echoed from the earliest dramas we have. Thanks for this great read. I love your use of adjectives - very powerful! I hope you get out and live. And do some signings!
doug <>
new york, ny USA - Sunday, May 27, 2001 at 17:58:27 (EDT)
GREAT, FABULOUS book!!! I loved it so much and am so lonely now that I have read it to the end. Congratulations on a remarkable work and thank you. Janet
Janet O'Hair
USA - Sunday, May 27, 2001 at 16:27:25 (EDT)
Dear Ms. Hillenbrand, I manage a Borders Books and Music in Rochester Hills, MI and I was so excited when your book came out. I was born and bred in Louisville, KY so naturally I'm a huge horse racing fan. I had thrilled to Seabiscuit's exploits as a kid reading Ralph Moody's "Come On Seabiscuit" (which I still have though it's very tattered). I thought your book was a great companion to that. I enjoy handselling it to my customers, even those who aren't racing fans. I wish you much success with the movie and any future writing projects.
Sam Miller
USA - Sunday, May 27, 2001 at 10:55:54 (EDT)
Dear Ms. Hillenbrand - I am just dropping you a line to let you know just how much I've enjoyed your work on "Seabiscuit". It has been a long time since I have been so captivated that both sleep and work were neglected until I reached the "acknowledgments". Thank You very much for a truly great work.
Ed Armacost <>
Upperco, Md USA - Saturday, May 26, 2001 at 21:24:48 (EDT)
A great story, well told. How one one gain access to news films,race footage, audios of race broadcasts and still photos of Seabiscuit and her friends?
dave foster <>
jacksonville, fl USA - Saturday, May 26, 2001 at 20:30:33 (EDT)
I too thoroughly enjoyed your book. Not being a horse or racing enthusiast, I was pleasantly surprised. Purpose of this email is too additionally compliment you on your acknowledgments. They also were fun and interesting. Steve Drucker, Villa Park, CA
Steve Drucker <>
Villa Park, CA USA - Saturday, May 26, 2001 at 19:42:24 (EDT)
Dear Ms. Hillenbrand, I thoroughly enjoyed your book on Seabiscuit. It was well written and researched. It's just a simply an incredible story. It makes you think about fate. Seabiscuit may have been just another 'claimer' if Howard, Smith and Polland's paths would not have intersected. Not to mention, Smith discovering Seabiscuit. I saw you on Larry King and you seem to take great pleasure in researching and writing the book and I am happy you did and that I had the opportunity to read it. Warm Regards, Clint Marshall
C. Marshall <>
Palo Alto, CA USA - Saturday, May 26, 2001 at 17:57:37 (EDT)
As a 70 year old horse lover, I read your book and found it truly extraordinary. Thank you for all your research and for presenting the story with such wonderful feeling. We have only 3 horses currently, all Morgan horses which we use for trail riding -- slowly. We do not have experience with race horses but we do understand the bond between people and horses which you so marvelously showed in your writing. Thank you. Are you interested in non fiction story ideas perhaps of article length?
George Weber <>
Culver, OR USA - Saturday, May 26, 2001 at 17:42:52 (EDT)
Laura,Went on vacation to visit my daughter in Italy and when I came back all of my email addresses had been deleted!!! I am trying to get in touch with you to fulfull my promise of bringing Madonna to you to smell and touch! Finished Seabiscuit, could hardly read the words because of the tears STREAMING down my face!!!! Hope you get through all of these lovely emails to mine. Devereaux
Devereaux Raskauskas <>
Potomac, Md. USA - Saturday, May 26, 2001 at 17:34:11 (EDT)
Your book was the absolute best. Seabiscuit and Howard, Smith, Pollard, Woolf and the rest. I knew the documentation was perfect when I read on p. 94 about the cemetery near Eight Mile and Woodward in Detroit (Woodlawn). I lived about a block from the back of that cemetery. My dad never forgot that Seabiscuit got his start at the Fairgrounds.
Donna Valley <>
Ijamsville, MD USA - Saturday, May 26, 2001 at 14:55:35 (EDT)
Laura, Thank you for writing Seabiscuit an American Legend - a beautifully told story. It brought back memories of events that were a great part of my teenage years when I was a devout horse racing fan and knew the sires and dams of so many horses competing at the time. When Seabiscuit was retired a stud, I wrote a letter to Mr. Howard and suggested a few names for the offspring (I don't think any were used!). Mr. Howard sent me a print of Seabiscuit with George Woolf up that has hung on my wall all these years since. When Seabiscuit died, my parents shielded the report in the newspaper until I had finished my breakfast. It was very enlightening and enjoyable to read the dramatic tale of this remarkable horse, the Howards, Tom Smith, Red Pollard and George Woolf. Your book envoked many tears - tears of joy and of sadness. I lived many, many years in Glendale, California and had I known Tom Smith was being buried at Forest Lawn, I would have been there to pay my deep respects. Sincerily, Margaret Lenck 3850 Rio Road #76 Carmel, CA 93923
Margaret Lenck <>
Carmel, CA USA - Saturday, May 26, 2001 at 14:42:30 (EDT)
Read it cover to cover in one day. Thank you for a great story - truth can be more powerful than fiction. I had a great talk with my Dad (he was 16 in 1938), and he gave me some local color (grew up near Detroit Fairgrounds). Thank you for making Seabisquit come alive!
Dennis Smillie <>
Ambler, Pa USA - Saturday, May 26, 2001 at 07:51:31 (EDT)
I am reading your book and about half way through it. it has really been a teriffic book so far. I am sure the rest will be as good if not better. i was wondering if you will be doing any book signings in PA, NJ, DE or MD as i would love to get m book signed by you. I live in southern jersey which is in good driving distance to the other states listed. i look forward to your response.
Russell <>
Pennsville, NJ USA - Saturday, May 26, 2001 at 03:33:54 (EDT)
Hi, I loved your book. It was fantastic. I couldn't put it down. My 27 year old T B is related to War Admiral. I can't wait for your next book!
Carol <>
cleveland, ohio USA - Friday, May 25, 2001 at 22:23:59 (EDT)
Dear Laura...I have grown up loving Man O War. I think I was born loving horses. It's ironic...I've never owned one. Could never afford it. Horses require alot of care and maintenance. I read a book, actually I have it, on Seabiscuit and fell madly in love with him. Your book is absolutely wonderful. Having gone through alot of pain and torment of my own due to a leg that I almost lost in an accident...I have always been able to understand how the Howards, Tom Smith, and Red Pollard felt about "The Biscuit." He was truly a determined little horse. I only wish you had left one quote out of the book and I pray there is no bad language in the movie or you'll make it impossible for me to see it. Blessings to you and all those involved in this endeavor.
Marion Natale <>
Va USA - Friday, May 25, 2001 at 17:31:18 (EDT)
Hi Laura: I love your book, I'm a breast cancer survivor since 1997. I'm 67 years old. Your story is for any survivor . I would like to use your name for a short story about the wonderful Navy Hospital we have in San Diego California Could you help me or let me know if it's ok to use your story . I'm definitely not a writer but I think this would be great about your Seabiscuit and all the people involved in his welfare. It could give the patients some hope and maybe inspire them not to give up. What do you think? I won't be disappointed if you say no, just a idea I have. Margaret Anna
Margaret Anna Durkin <>
San diego, ca USA - Friday, May 25, 2001 at 15:50:11 (EDT)
I jsut finished your book on Seabiscuit. It was wonderful. I too was born and raised in Fairfax Co, Va. and had horses. I worked at a race track growing up in Charlestown, Wv. I had horses as a child too. I now own a appendix quarter horse mare that goes back to MAN O War. In reading your book, it has given me some insights about her personality, stamina and determination. Thank you for the hours spent crying and laughing.
Bonnie Gay <>
Buckhannon, wv USA - Friday, May 25, 2001 at 13:55:06 (EDT)
john brady <>
duluth, ga USA - Friday, May 25, 2001 at 10:52:48 (EDT)
Dear Laura, You wrote an incredible awesome story of Seabiscuit. You really brought to life the people close to the horse as well as the era in which they lived. I have told my 73 year old mother who lives in Ireland about your book and she is pestering her local library for a copy. I should put the local librarian out of her misery by sending a copy to my mom. Have you noticed the large attendence's at the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness this year. I think a lot of people came out to witness a horse race because of your book. You have done more to get people interested in horse racing than any "Go Baby Go" campaign by the NTRA has ever achieved. Congratulations on a magnificant accomplishment!
Niall Connolly <>
Orlando, FL USA - Friday, May 25, 2001 at 10:04:03 (EDT)
I include my accolades among all the others. Seabiscuit is by far the best book I have ever read across all genres.I could not put it down. Thank you
Adele Calbick <>
USA - Friday, May 25, 2001 at 09:32:11 (EDT)
Dear Laura, What an exhilarating experience! I hope the movie will do the same! I hope it will be refreshing just as the book... I love horses, but not really a racing fan. All the best.
Diana Prout <>
Princeton, NJ USA - Friday, May 25, 2001 at 09:07:21 (EDT)
Dear Ms. Hillenbrand, My American history classes in school were sorely lacking because I do not remember ever hearing about this wonderful horse and his story in the middle of a dark period in our country. We learned about World War II, about Hitler, the Depression, Lindbergh, FDR, etc. but never about Seabiscuit. And yet he was all over the media at the time and gave such hope to so many during a difficult and sad time. Thank you for making me aware of Seabiscuit and those who knew him best and for what they contributed to us all. Yours sincerely, Penelope Hanna
Penelope Hanna <>
Houston, TX USA - Thursday, May 24, 2001 at 21:08:08 (EDT)
dear ms. hillenbrand, just finished your book about seabiscuit!if i could have been born in another time and place, i would pick the late 1930's and would surely have been a racing fan. i felt like i was living the story myself. tears filled my eyes during several moments of reading. i am so glad there are talented people like you who can take ordinary people like myself and place us in other lifelike settings through the written word. thanks so much for the wonderful read! i am looking forward to the movie now.
brenda burdge
USA - Thursday, May 24, 2001 at 20:31:49 (EDT)
Laura Just finished your book,I enjoyed it tremendously,and I'm not the biggest reader,the last book I read was the"WILDRIDE" {Alydar}but I could not put your book down.Horseracing is in my blood as my dad trained horses for 45 years and I myself got my trainers license of all places Narragansett Park in 1974.Though I've been out of racing since 1996 it still burns inside me to train a horse as that is what I miss the most the actual training and being with the horses,I know what Tom Smith did and felt.One day when I was a small boy my dad and I were in the shedrow at Scarborogh Downs before the races and around the corner came this 100 dollar car,an old white haired man got out in kakis and a white shirt,he would come everyday to chat with my dad who had a barnful of horses who did not drink,great family man, and who's reputation was the best man with cripple in the New England,we would do Lincoln and Narragansett in fall,winter,and spring and Scarborogh in the summer.Needless to say this little old man was "RED POLLARD" who loved visiting with my dad at the barn and we loved listening to his stories in those days in the late 60's where Red was working as a valet.Can't wait for the movie.
Stephen E. Smith <>
N.Andover, Ma. USA - Thursday, May 24, 2001 at 14:38:44 (EDT)
third year of ownership,meeting my adversities now. has steeled my resolve,and i will enjoy working through the issues with new enthusiasim. page 88 end of tijuana track funniest i have ever read!!
roger browning <>
simpsonville, ky USA - Thursday, May 24, 2001 at 10:54:58 (EDT)
Ms. Hillenbrand: I heard your interview on NPR and that intrigued me to purchase the book. What a wonderful story of courage and determination! I love horses, but have never really been a racing fan, but I am now. There is a new racetrack in Grand Prarie Texas a 10 miles away and now I am eager to go. Thank you for this book and your tremendous efforts to tell this story. I only hope that the movie does the story justice and can inspire me and others just as your book has done.
Lenny Tieman <>
Arlington, TX USA - Thursday, May 24, 2001 at 10:41:13 (EDT)
Hi Laura. Wanted to let you know what an amazing piece of literature you have written. I am only at chapter 7 so I know the best is yet to come, but thus far the book has been wonderful. I have been "into" horse racing since I was 13 years old (about 18 years now!) and also have a horse of my own, a 22 year old quarter horse (he's a big fan of Seabiscuit also!) Your writing is beautifully moving and descriptive. I look forward to finishing "Seabiscuit" and treasuring this horse in my heart for the rest of my life. I am sure I will post another message after I finish the book. Take care, and thank you for taking the time to tell Seabiscuit's story.
Matthew Karns <>
Bloomsburg, PA USA - Thursday, May 24, 2001 at 08:17:22 (EDT)
Hi Laura, Congratulations on a great book!!! I loved reading about the race between Seabiscuit and Stagehand in Chapter 12. I felt like I was in the stands watching. You are a great writer.
Deanne Emmons
Ft. Irwin, USA - Wednesday, May 23, 2001 at 20:29:59 (EDT)
Ms. Hilldenbrand, Once I began reading "Seabiscuit" I couldn't put the book down. What a great story! What a great horse! You did a wonderful job. I hope you will be in the Washington DC area in the future so that I can come hear you talk. And, I am looking forward to the movie. Please keep involved in the movie production so that they do the Seabiscuit story justice. Pam Bacher
Pam Bacher <>
Vienna, VA USA - Wednesday, May 23, 2001 at 18:04:35 (EDT)
Dear Ms. Hillenbrand: Having just read some of the other e-mail comments, I agree with most of them. Being a lover of horses, especially Thoroughbreds I read whatever and whenever I can on the subject. Your descriptions of the races not only had me at the track in the stands, but on Seabiscuit's back. Also, walking the track, put my feet right in the furrows. Red Pollard with his injuries, his spirit, his sense of offbeat humor made me chuckle but broke my heart. God Bless Seabiscuit, all the folks who cared for and about him, and you, Ms Hillenbrand for your great writing talent. Give us more! Best wishes, Jackie Clark
Jacqueline Clark <>
Hillsborough, NJ USA - Wednesday, May 23, 2001 at 17:59:45 (EDT)
Dear Ms. Hildenbrand: Thanks for SEABISCUIT. It is an excellent work and brought back many memories. I lived in Azusa, about six miles east of Santa Anita, from 1939 to 1949 (subtract three years for military service). I also lived in Fairfax County Virginia from 1971 to 1977. Great reading experience. Thanks again.
Jim Naylor <>
Longwood, FL USA - Wednesday, May 23, 2001 at 17:53:04 (EDT)
Ms. Hilldenbrand, Your book is fantastic. Your book gave such a wonderful picture of the magnificence of horses. They are truly wonderful animals and Seabiscuit was the best. I could not put your book down and cried when it was over. Thank you for such a wonderful book. Sandra Thielz
Sandra Thielz <>
West Chester, Pa USA - Wednesday, May 23, 2001 at 17:11:01 (EDT)
Dear Laura, My hat is off to you. Your Seabiscuit was one of the best books I have ever read. And after reading (and hearing on NPR) of your personal travails I am in awe of what you have accomplished. Of course, for an avid racing fan like me the book couldn’t miss. But the fact that it is up there among the national best sellers shows that it is being read by countless others as well. There are just not that many of us around. Much as I love the sport, I think that for your next book you should turn to something else. Horse racing just isn’t big enough to encompass your enormous talent for describing momentous events, the atmosphere, the drama, the emotions, and the high and low points in people’s lives. Perhaps we can meet someday. I live right in the neighborhood. Have published a few books myself. I’d love it.
Kenneth Katzner <>
Washington, DC USA - Wednesday, May 23, 2001 at 14:48:04 (EDT)
Thank you so much for a very exciting book as a retired jockey i cant find any good books that relate to horse racing like yours looking forward to your next one maybe it might be about a current or past jockey
david hale <>
neworleans, la USA - Wednesday, May 23, 2001 at 13:50:26 (EDT)
Hi Laura, I'm overwhelmed with what you've accoomplished, and I haven't even read the book yet! Caught a blurb in Newsweek the other day and re-realized that the movie stuff we talked about last year ... I guess I'm a bit behind the curve here! My goodness Laura. This level of appreciation and recognition could not have happened to a better person. I guess I'm off to buy your book now. Reach me if you have time! Your numbers have changed since we last spoke. Dan
Dan Silvert <>
Teaneck, NJ USA - Wednesday, May 23, 2001 at 13:37:53 (EDT)
Dear Laura, Thank you, thank you. thank you. I've purchased five copies of your book and sent them to friends as far away as Australia. I grew up in the shadow of Santa Anita and fell in love with horse racing at an early age. I was lucky enough to work the summer after my first year in college at Claiborne Farm in Paris, Kentucky. The day I arrived Arthur B. Hancock's granddaughter who was seven or eight at the time (1961) showed me some of the horses stabled near the family mansion and a stall that had been retired with the nameplate "Seabiscuit" on the door. I assumed The Biscuit stood at stud at Claiborne. It wasn't until years later after I moved to Ukiah, which is near Ridgewood, that I learned Seabiscuit spent his few retirement years in Willits. I still wonder what that stall at Claiborne signified? Do you know the answer?
David Yacawych <>
Ukiah, Ca USA - Wednesday, May 23, 2001 at 00:39:57 (EDT)
Laura, I don't know what I could possibly say that you haven't already heard. I sat at my kitchen table while it poured down a spring rain, savoring each page and then it ended and I was sobbing. The rain made me feel as though I had gone back in time, when in your book, they were always waiting for the rain to stop. I am touched deeply. My mother, my uncle and now I have read your book. I ride and show American Saddlebred horses. I've never take any interest in horse racing. But now... I watched the Preakness and scan the sports section of The New York Times just to see if they have anything on horses or horseracing. If you ever take an interest in Saddlebreds, let me know. Or better you might want to come see the World Championship Horseshow for our breed in August in Louisville, Kentucky. Thank you for this amazing book, it will be the first time I've read a book twice. Laura Lee Samford
Laura Lee Samford <>
Birmingham, AL USA - Tuesday, May 22, 2001 at 23:33:46 (EDT)
I heard you on NPR talking about your book and i immediatly put it on reserve at the local library(sorry I didn't buy it). Its a great human interest story and also great social history of the times. Growing up during the depression I remember well the exploits of Seabiscuit and other great horses of the time even tho horse racing was available in NC. Don't let the movie people mess with the true import of the history of these great people and the great horses. Thank you.
Robert H Starnes <>
Charlotte, NC USA - Tuesday, May 22, 2001 at 21:02:03 (EDT)
Dear Mrs.Hillenbrand, I WANT A COPY OF THE MATCH RACE BETWEEN SEABISCUIT AND WAR ADMIRAL. Can anyone help me? Please e-mail me if you have a copy of the race. I love your book. I rescue Thoroughbreds from certain death when they aren't able to race anymore. Your book tells of the troubles horses must go through to become heros.
Caroline Power <>
Baton Rouge, La USA - Tuesday, May 22, 2001 at 16:32:24 (EDT)
Laura, what can I say that hasn't already been said? I too bought the book after listening to your NPR interview. It was better than expected. I was so emotionally involved that with only 50 pages to go, I stopped reading for a week, I was filled with mixed emotions and then when I found the courage to pick it up again -- I cried when it ended. I may have a flair for the dramatic, but this story warmed my heart -- thank you so much -- what a wonderful talent you have -- thanks for sharing!
Kathy Pratte <>
St. Louis, MO USA - Tuesday, May 22, 2001 at 16:29:11 (EDT)
Dear Ms. Hillenbrand, Thought you might like to know that I just sent a copy of your excellent book to the Pulitzer prize winning American composer, William Bolcom, on the occasion of his 63rd birthday. I am a pianist who recently recorded his complete "Rags for Piano" (Albany Records), one of which is entitled "Seabiscuits."
john murphy <>
new orleans, la USA - Tuesday, May 22, 2001 at 14:15:04 (EDT)
As an avid reader I am enthralled by this book Like Secretariat, Seabiscuit rose above the human players of his time. Secretariat the troubled times after the Vietnam War and Watergate Seabiscuit, the Depression and rising war clouds in Europe. I applaud this book and wish the author would write this same type of book about my hero Secretariat
Sarah Hundt <>
La Crosse, Wi USA - Tuesday, May 22, 2001 at 12:55:42 (EDT)
Ms. Laura... As inspired as I was by reading your wonderful book, I also got goosebumps watching your web page open up! I have always loved horses and have had a little experience caring for them, but now my sense of appreciation/admiration has reached a new height. Seabiscuit, and the story of those who cared for him, provided unbridled (pun intended) pleasure. I even asked my Aunt (86 and counting) what she knew about "Pops" and she coould tell me that "He was well-known and quite popular." I am so grateful for all the work and passion you provided and will cherish and share the book for years to come. Peace, Bruce
Bruce Lehman <>
Fort Wayne, IN USA - Tuesday, May 22, 2001 at 12:38:33 (EDT)
Laura --- So they're doing a movie? Plse don't let some mope Hollywood-type screw-up your poetry. Your characters are classical heroes --- even down to Pumpkin. To paraphrase Pollard, "...don't let (Hollywood) fuck it up like (they) usually do...". ---David Brode (again)
David B. Brode <turfdoggy @>
Glencoe, IL USA - Tuesday, May 22, 2001 at 02:22:05 (EDT)
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
mark stapleton <>
chico, ca USA - Monday, May 21, 2001 at 22:59:37 (EDT)
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!
David B. Brode <turfdoggy @>
Glencoe, IL USA - Monday, May 21, 2001 at 22:38:02 (EDT)
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
David B. Brode <turfdoggy>
Glencoe, IL USA - Monday, May 21, 2001 at 22:33:23 (EDT)
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.
R.C. Spiegel <>
USA - Monday, May 21, 2001 at 21:27:35 (EDT)
Laura, For 15 years after an IBM career I "raised Thoroughbreads" on oats, corn, barley, raisins,etc. It was an outlet for my interest in the great racehorses and the people who shared their greatness. Foolish Pleasure is another one of my favorites..such a star crossed life, particularly having another horse's name called as Foolish crossed the Kentucky Derby wire first! He died in Wyoming after a short time of freedom. I visited him a few times and attended his induction into the Hall of Fame at Saratoga. I've done quite a bit of research but it's back in Wyoming, on hold while I care for my aging Mother. One of your Guests owns Dancing Pleasure. I hope to connect with his owner and add to my research about Foolish. He was a dear and was treated poorly from what I gather. HIs final owners did not attend his induction to my disappointment. Thanks for Seabiscuit and an age when the great horses hung around for a while. I've only just begun your book and look forward to making it last as long as I can. Nina
Nina <>
USA - Monday, May 21, 2001 at 17:04:24 (EDT)
After I read your book, I can now understand why the lifesize statue of Seabiscuit resides outside the National Racing Museum and Hall of Fame in Saratoga Springs, NY. I first heard about the book while viewing the Sports Reporters on ESPN. Can't recall whether it was Dick Shaap or Mike Lupica who gave it a glowing review, but I do remember it was the week Seabiscuit, An American Legend replaced the OReilly Factor as the Number 1 selling Non Fiction Book. I have been going to Saratoga every year since 1985, and am now fortunate that I have been able to go for the entire 6 weeks of the meet since 1997. I especially look forward to the Hall of Fame Induction Ceremonies each year. If the Board of Directors do not invite you to speak this August at the Induction Festivities, I may have to boycott the ceremony this year. Nevertheless, I will bring my copy of your book in the hopes that you will somehow be there during the meet, to autograph it. Tom Coyle
Tom Coyle <>
Dayton, Oh USA - Monday, May 21, 2001 at 16:27:51 (EDT)
Dear Ms Hillenbrand, I recently read a glowing and enthusiastic report about your book on the legendary Seabiscuit. (The Daily Telegraph, written up by afriend of mine Brigadier Alan Mallinson.) Now I have had the good fortune to have been sent a copy and am avidly devouring it. It is beautifully written. Well done. I am a follower of the racing legends having worked on one of our racing legends from the '30's - Golden Miller. I would very much like to get in touch with you concerning a possible project I have in mind on Seabiscuit - and this would involve you. Please conact me on my email - I will be out in Washington in June and would be keen to meet up and discuss.
Judy Boyt <>
Devizes, Wiltshire UK - Monday, May 21, 2001 at 15:05:13 (EDT)
Muchas Gracias,Muchas Gracias, Muchas Gracias. Just a wonderful book. Having been a racing fan for over 50 years I had no problem putting myself up in the stands watching the marvelous races as you described. Thank you again.
Alex Cansino <>
San Francisco, CA USA - Monday, May 21, 2001 at 14:18:23 (EDT)
Dear Laura, For many years I was involved in the sport of Thoroughbred Racing as a barn foreman, assistant trainer, farm manager, and stable agent meeting some very unique "characters" along the way. During all of my years, history has been my hobby and Thoroughbred Racing my sporting passion. Many of the legends of this sport have never been presented to the general public as you have here with Seabiscuit; your book is a gem. You have brought to my attention many terms, conditions, and traditions of the sport that I had never been able to discover on my own. The history of this sport is rich but not well documented to the general public, and as generations pass many of the heroes and prime figures are glossed over or rarely mentioned. I love this book, it places me right there at that time in all of the action. Thank you for bringing Seabiscuit to us, and enriching our knowledge of the times and Thoroughbred Racing in America in the late 1930s.
Steve Lipke <>
La Grange Park, IL USA - Monday, May 21, 2001 at 14:05:41 (EDT)
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.
Ira Shatzman <>
Santa Fe, NM USA - Monday, May 21, 2001 at 13:52:30 (EDT)
Dear Laura, what a wonderful book. I have a question: did Seabiscuit participate in a Triple Crown race, and if not, why not?
Ron Snyder <>
Indianapolis, IN USA - Monday, May 21, 2001 at 13:50:02 (EDT)
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
Dan Burgenger <>
Sedalia, Mo USA - Monday, May 21, 2001 at 12:36:19 (EDT)
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.
Craig William Dayton <>
Hershey, PA USA - Monday, May 21, 2001 at 11:39:39 (EDT)
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!
Cathi <>
Seattle, WA USA - Monday, May 21, 2001 at 11:35:34 (EDT)
Growing up in and around Agua Caliente, I could not help but remembering my childhood. I've been spending the last 2 years compling data on both Tijuana, and Caliente. And your depictions on Mexico during "that", only brought more focus to the history that took place in the little town of TJ. Today, Tijuana racecourse is gone, lost under the concrete that makes the ZONA RIO. And Caliente, is falling apart from the neglect. The people that were there, are in the same category as WW2 veterans, the are dying, and with them,their account on what went down in T-town. Your book shed light on many things, the risky work of a jock, their struggles, and their suffering to make weight. I just wanted to thank you, for your work, this is a timepiece, that is both timeless, and priceless. David, the friendly Mexican
David Beltran <>
Chula Vista, CA USA - Monday, May 21, 2001 at 08:47:08 (EDT)
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.
beth jimison <>
San Carlos, CA USA - Sunday, May 20, 2001 at 23:48:46 (EDT)
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
April Vossler <>
Santa Ynez, CA USA - Sunday, May 20, 2001 at 19:21:29 (EDT)
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
Bjorn Zachrisson <>
Djursholm, - Sweden - Sunday, May 20, 2001 at 15:05:46 (EDT)
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!
Jen Hardacre <>
Toronto, On Canada - Sunday, May 20, 2001 at 14:05:19 (EDT)
Corrected e-mail address
howard kronish <>
new york, n y USA - Sunday, May 20, 2001 at 10:20:37 (EDT)
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
howard kronish <>
new york, n y USA - Sunday, May 20, 2001 at 09:55:51 (EDT)
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!
larry coleman <>
jonesboro, tn USA - Sunday, May 20, 2001 at 08:08:35 (EDT)
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.
john <>
selden, ny USA - Sunday, May 20, 2001 at 08:07:51 (EDT)
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.
Terry Tauber <>
chicago, il USA - Saturday, May 19, 2001 at 21:49:23 (EDT)
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 - Saturday, May 19, 2001 at 21:24:59 (EDT)
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
Vicki Martin <>
Thompson, CT USA - Saturday, May 19, 2001 at 16:51:50 (EDT)
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
Ruth Simmons <>
Miami, Fl. USA - Saturday, May 19, 2001 at 15:11:47 (EDT)
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
Mike Kaufman <>
Roslyn Heights, NY USA - Saturday, May 19, 2001 at 14:54:02 (EDT)
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.
Marilyn Dial <>
Henderson, NV USA - Saturday, May 19, 2001 at 12:11:48 (EDT)
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"
Dan O'Shannon <>
encino, ca USA - Friday, May 18, 2001 at 23:05:24 (EDT)
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!
Dean Beck <>
Longmont, CO USA - Friday, May 18, 2001 at 21:51:11 (EDT)
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...
Robert Peranich <>
Waldorf, MD USA - Friday, May 18, 2001 at 18:58:51 (EDT)
I finished Seabiscuit yesterday and feel as though I've lost my best friend. What a wonderful book! Thank you!
Joan McGrath <>
- Friday, May 18, 2001 at 14:59:09 (EDT)
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
duncan macisaac <>
Vancouver , bc canada - Friday, May 18, 2001 at 14:10:26 (EDT)
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?
Doug Allen <>
Mandeville, LA USA - Friday, May 18, 2001 at 11:51:31 (EDT)
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
Bill Carden <>
Seekonk, MA USA - Friday, May 18, 2001 at 10:01:41 (EDT)
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?
Jack Quinlan <>
Manassas, VA USA - Friday, May 18, 2001 at 09:46:48 (EDT)
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?
Bob Cooey <>
Alexandria, VA USA - Friday, May 18, 2001 at 00:17:28 (EDT)
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
Brad <>
Atlanta, GA USA - Thursday, May 17, 2001 at 23:29:03 (EDT)
Thank you for a great book. As Dean Beck listed there where three children of Tom Smith and his wife, Janet. My father being Jim Smith. My grand father came from a family of 13 children. If you would ever like any info on him or to see the pictures we have please contact us, we would enjoy sharing these with you.
janet smith-o'brien <>
ca USA - Thursday, May 17, 2001 at 22:18:12 (EDT)
Thank you! I just finished it and I can't wipe the smile off of my face. Your book is great cover to cover! I'm recommending it to everyone who will listen. I don't want to lend this treasure to anyone in case I don't get it back (I plan to reread it). You have rekindled the thrill and love of thoroughbred racing for me and I haven't felt this passionate since Secretariat. Please know that you have done a wonderful thing! I'm looking foward to the movie and especially your next book. Best wishes...
Eileen O'Sullivan <>
New York, NY USA - Thursday, May 17, 2001 at 20:16:09 (EDT)
I forgot to add this in my other comments, Why no past performance record for Seabiscuit? Is one available? Again your book was "Super". I will wait about two weeks and then read it again.
Stanley G. Corp <>
Sparks , NV USA - Thursday, May 17, 2001 at 20:01:24 (EDT)
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
Stanley G. Corp <>
Sparks , NvI throughly enjoyed yuor book USA - Thursday, May 17, 2001 at 19:46:31 (EDT)
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.
stanley g. corp <stancorphotmail,com>
sparks, nv USA - Thursday, May 17, 2001 at 19:29:29 (EDT)
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.
Debra N Ross <>
Laveen, AZ USA - Thursday, May 17, 2001 at 16:05:06 (EDT)
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
Mike Ellison <>
Atlanta, Ga USA - Thursday, May 17, 2001 at 13:48:28 (EDT)
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.
Laverne (Jones)Booth <>
Newhall, CA USA - Thursday, May 17, 2001 at 13:32:50 (EDT)
Kudos, Laura. This is a fabulous, delightful and beautifully written book that captures all the divine elements of a truly remarkable and awe-inspiring sport. Your passion shines through in the prose.
Ann Louise Host <>
Chicago, IL USA - Thursday, May 17, 2001 at 12:48:49 (EDT)
I'm only on page 27 but I'm dazzled by the intensity of your prose. If Tom Smith had a mystical communion with horses, you've tapped into the same spirit of a rare time and unique equestrian world. Literary prizes are superfluous. You've given the country a book to cherish and champion. And, from what I've heard, it couldn't happen to a finer, tougher person. Thank you!
Keith Fahey <>
Encino/Tarzana, CA USA - Thursday, May 17, 2001 at 12:26:02 (EDT)
A truly great book. Not just the story, but the writing. A true lyricist. Not regarding CFS, have your mercury fillings replaced with white composite, and eat organic!!! Regards, Don
Don Mezei <>
Victoria, BC Canada - Thursday, May 17, 2001 at 10:18:21 (EDT)
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.
mandy <>
pittsburgh, pa USA - Thursday, May 17, 2001 at 08:22:00 (EDT)
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.
Sue Linthicum <>
Washington, DC USA - Thursday, May 17, 2001 at 08:15:18 (EDT)
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.
Richard W. Woody <>
Louisville, KY USA - Thursday, May 17, 2001 at 07:34:16 (EDT)
As a child I read and reread a book called "Come On, Seabiscuit" by Ralph Moody. I loved the story of the little "Cinderella" horse and the three people who believed in him. Your book brought back so many wonderful memories of that book, plus it fleshed out the story in ways I can appreciate as an adult. I felt as if I were renewing acquaintance with old friends, while getting to know them better. Thanks for a wonderful book!
Rebecca Burkhart <>
Hopatcong, NJ USA - Wednesday, May 16, 2001 at 22:01:15 (EDT)
Laura, I just finished the book and I wished I hadn't, what a wonderful, inspiring story, I wish it would continue. Growing up (I'm in my early 20's) I was in love with horses and still am to this day. I think I learned to draw them before I could write. I grew up reading Walter Farley's Black Stallion books and I would watch every horse race I could. For a while (I guess when I was in high school and through college until this year) I kind of moved away from horseracing, but for some reason this year's Kentucky Derby relit that spark for me. I saw that in the SF Chronicle on Sunday Seabiscuit was listed as the #1 Nonfiction Book. I knew vaguely who Seabiscuit was and decided that I wanted to read it, though I needed to do a lot of reading for classes. Well those classes just have to wait. My dreams for my life are now starting to transform (they started right before the Derby, but your book has pushed it along farther). I'm starting to wonder if I should change my major in school to Equine Science (I have two years left in my current major of Landscape Architecture). I don't know if I will change or wait until I graduate and seek a second degree, I will probably do the latter to save my parents grief. But I just want to let you know that I believe that your book is going to be a turning point for me, to do something that I have always wanted to do since I was a child. Thank You for this inspiring read.
Rachel Brinkerhoff <>
San Luis Obispo, CA USA - Wednesday, May 16, 2001 at 20:14:06 (EDT)
Ms Hillenbrand, Absolutely enjoyed your writing! I have been a horseman for a number of years and read many books and magazines over that time. Prior to your publication I thought "Ruffian-Burning From the Start" was the best autobiographical depiction. Your book beats that one by several lengths. Look forward to seeing the movie when it releases. Bill Navarre-Charlotte, NC
CHARLOTTE, NC USA - Wednesday, May 16, 2001 at 19:34:22 (EDT)
Dear Laura: It was a pleasure reading about you in the Washington Post (3/9/01). I've been putting off emailing you until the guestbook entries slowed down - oh well! Your guestbook reflects the diverse group of individuals you've touched through your writing and story. Anyway, I'm a bit younger than you (mid-20's), but live within the Balto-DC area and have time on my hands (given my similar diagnoses of NMH, CFIDS, POTS). Have found it hard to maintain friendships with earlier peers since this condition makes each day rather unpredictable. Think it's time I found a new cohort of "young warriors" who openly face the challenges of chronic disabilities. I must admit that I know very little of equines or historic novels - I studied business and worked in non-profit organizations serving high-risk youth. I'd enjoy chatting or hanging out sometime when you are less busy (feel free to file away my email address for a rainy day). Congratulations on your book - and thank-you for telling the true story about your life challenges. The articles and radio interviews not only educated many about our condition, but also validated what we’re going through. Sincerely, Samantha
Samantha <>
MD USA - Wednesday, May 16, 2001 at 18:43:30 (EDT)
Dear Ms. Hillenbrand, What an incredibly spendid accomplishment. Ingesting and savoring ever word of your magnum opus represented the most emotional reading experience of my life. At many points in the text I found tears flowing down my face. Many years ago I owned and bred a few thoroughbreds. One offspring I managed get to the races in California. He even won. Later, in the mid-1980s, I spent about one year working with thoroughbreds in Lexington, Kentucky. During all those years I had the privilege of seeing some terrific horses run. Previously, I had concluded that no other horse in American racing history had more heart and determination than Affirmed. And I believed that the two overall best horses I saw run were Ruffian and Secretariat. But how wrong I was! Since just finishing your beautifully written book, a lovely birthday present from my mother, I have totally changed my belief. There is not a doubt in my mind but what Seabiscuit was and remains the greatest and most game thoroughbred that ever put its head through a bridle. What also made the book so special to me stems from the fact that at one time I had occasion to talk briefly (while looking for a trainer) with both Keith Stucki and Leonard Dorfman. And Farrell Jones was one of the best and most visible trainers from the 1960s on in the So. Calif. racing circuit. I had no idea that both Stucki and Jones were exercise riders for "the Biscuit." In sum, please accept my deep appreciation for writing this wonderful book. I have told several people to read it, including staff at the local library. They also just ordered its purchase based upon my recommendation. Let's hope "Hollywood" does justice to the film version of your awesome book. Sincerely, Greg Marlowe
Greg Marlowe <>
Silverton, OR USA - Wednesday, May 16, 2001 at 17:32:57 (EDT)
WOW! There's almost nothing more than can be said - it seems everyone else has said it all. This was a great book - I couldn't put it down. I have been horse crazy all my life. I remember making my Dad buy pouches of pipe tobacco so I could submit names in the hope of winning a Thoroughbred colt. He did it, even though he didn't smoke a pipe, because he knew how much I wanted to win one of those horses. It wasn't until I was 32 that I was given an older Thoroughbred and found out how naturally competitive they are. Teaching him to trail ride after years of being a racer and jumper was an experience, and even though he wasn't very fast any more, woe be to any other horse we were riding with. He always had to be in front, and jigged something awful if he was behind. In the end I found it was easier to ride him alone if I wanted any peace. He's been gone awhile, and although my current horse is an Arab/Quarter who is very sweet (and slow), I certainly miss my exciting rides with Beau. They are wonderful animals and you perfectly captured the connection between Seabiscuit and the people who loved him. One of my favorite photos was of Mr. & Mrs. Howard with him at their ranch - they cared about the horse even after he stopped racing!
Jan Spielberger <>
San Francisco, CA USA - Wednesday, May 16, 2001 at 16:38:07 (EDT)
I recently read that you are searching for your next project after the tremendous success of Seabiscuit, which I am currently reading and totally engrossed in. In recent months, I purchased one of the few descendants of the incredibly magnificent Olympic German Event stallions, Volturno, who was tragically and mysteriously killed while in quarantine, after being imported to the U.S. for breeding purposes. An article on his life and death was published in EQUUS, in volume 135. I have been researching his career, life, and his tragic death due to an unexplained connection that has not only haunted me, but has inspired me to detail as many facts as possible, which has led me to many conversations with the people who were intimately involved with him and his German owner. Included in this group was the woman who intended to breed him in the U.S. and was with him when he died, and who detailed the accounts of what ensued after his death with the FBI investigation. This was a horse that was considered by everyone that knew him as one of the greatest champions in the world of Eventing and he became an inspiration to so many during his life and after his death. He is one of the only Event horses that is burined at the Kentucky Horse Park. I realize that your battle with CFS has limited you to the amount of research you can do at this time, but I am inquiring if you would be interested in hearing more about the research that I have already done, in hopes of you becoming interested in the story for a future project or article. I heard that someone was thinking of approaching the British writer, Dick Francis with the story, but I truly feel that you are the writer for this incredible tale. I have been a rider and competitor all my life, and I don't beleive I have ever been so touched or moved by the story you did on Seabiscuit and the one that you may see in Volturno. Please contact me at this e-mail address. P.S. Everything that has been laid before me and the course of events and coincidences regarding the information I have gathered, has been a story in itself. I will close by sharing with you that the barn where I learned to ride at age 8 in Kansas City, was the breeding farm, training facility and the gravesite of the 1938 Kentucky Derby winner, Larwin! How is that for a coincidence! The only Kansas-bred Derby winner ever! His gravesite is now smack-down in the middle of a subdivision, whose home owners probably don't even know what leg of the Triple Crown the Derby is! Hope to hear from you and congratulations on your success! Claire De Camp
Claire De Camp <>
Westwood, KS USA - Wednesday, May 16, 2001 at 15:45:05 (EDT)
R. D. Rosen <>
NY, NY USA - Wednesday, May 16, 2001 at 14:04:24 (EDT)
Ms Hillenbrand: I am half-way through your great book, and am almost afraid to go on. What if Seabiscuit loses to War Admiral? I don't think I could bear it. I have read some of the comments about your book on the web site, and wonder what I can add. All the things I have been thinking as I read have already been said: "It's the best book I have ever read; I don't want it to end." As I read about Jockey Pollard's accident on Fair Knightess tears streamed down my face for both man and horse. How wonderful to find them back on the track. I lived in Bowie, MD for 11 years and absorbed some of the thoroughbred racing history there, even though I suppose I could be termed a westerner (N.Dak. and WI) and I have raised and ridden Quarter Horses. But there is nothing that is more beautiful and more certain to bring tears to my eyes than to watch those beautiful thoroughbreds as they fly down the track. Your book captures all of it. Much success to you. I wish I could see you at the Preakness this Saturday. Sincerely, Shirley Forbes
shirley forbes <>
Denmark, WI USA - Wednesday, May 16, 2001 at 12:14:58 (EDT)
HICKORY, NC USA - Tuesday, May 15, 2001 at 20:07:19 (EDT)
I would like to be able to contact Laura Hillenbrand about the article that was written about her in US Weely. She makes comment to her CFS and how it has restricted her life. I would like to be able to get her in contact with a research Internal Medicen Doctor that has a wonder treatment for CFS and has treated many patients with this and has wonderful results. If Ms. Hillenbrand would like to talk to me about this she can reach me at the e-mail provided. Thanks.
Jenice H <>
TX USA - Tuesday, May 15, 2001 at 18:45:17 (EDT)
I happened on the tail end of your interview on booktv. I was struck with your reading, with the photos of the horses, and somehow felt the stirring of a dim memory from early childhood, of the name "Seabiscuit" (I was born in 1936). I later saw the book on sale at Costco, of all places, and bought it. I know next to nothing about sports, and certainly not horseracing, but, still only halfway through your book, I am in pig-heaven! It is a wonderful read, I find myself telling stories about Seabisquit, racing, jockeys, the 30s, to anyone who will listen. What a gift you have written! Thank you so much. Marijana B.W.
Marijana Weiner <>
Los Angeles, CA USA - Tuesday, May 15, 2001 at 00:41:17 (EDT)