by Erin K. | | 2 Comments | Tags:

Welcome to Week 3 of our Online Book Club!

Are you enjoying Seabiscuit? I know this section was pretty long, but hopefully you were able to fly through it.

One of the things I loved most about this section were the parts that described how Tom Smith was able to thwart the reporters who were looking to clock Seabiscuit. I enjoyed reading about how he exercised Seabiscuit at night or how he used Grog as a stand in. I loved how Smith didn’t feel like he needed to change himself to fit in better with the press.

Even so, Seabiscuit was a huge news story, so there are countless old newspaper articles about him. In this story from the July 2, 1938, Chicago Tribune you can get a sense of how Tom Smith interacted with reporters, and you can also read a little about Fair Knightess, the horse that fell on top of Red Pollard. If you’re interested in doing some more research, you can search through the library’s historical newspaper database, Newspaper Archive. There are tons of articles about Seabiscuit in the database. The article pictured here is one of the articles I found through the database!

News article about Seabiscuit

One of the biggest conflicts in this section was the rivalry between Seabiscuit and War Admiral. That race was so anticipated, but it almost didn’t happen. Could you believe how many times the two were set to race but then one or the other had to drop out?  The pressure for the race would have been too great for me. I would have been so nervous that I wouldn’t have been able to perform. If you’re interested, make sure to check out this video of the race. The quality is a little grainy, as you can imagine, but it is still cool to see Seabiscuit pull out in front and cross the finish line first.


Other stressful parts of this section talked about Red’s injuries. I couldn’t believe that he survived that one fall with Fair Knightess. I thought it was so great that George Woolf split his purse with Red when Red was recovering. That was really special.

So, what did you think of this section? Were you able to read through all of the race scenes, or were they too stressful for you? Did you enjoy getting to know Seabiscuit more? I hope to hear from you in the comments, and I hope you’ll finish the book for next week!


2 Responses to “Seabiscuit: Week 3”

  1. Carrol

    What a great section!! There were so many things that held my attention. I cannot believe all of the details Hillenbrand supplies to help me get such great mental pictures of these characters.

    I found myself worrying about these races. I was worried for the safety of the jockeys and the horses. I just kept expecting a horse to go down.

    The saddest part for me was Pollard’s accident with Fair Knightess. The injuries sustained by both were horrible. Thank goodness they both survived.

    Thanks for the video clip. It helped to get a clearer picture of the race between Seabiscuit and War Admiral. It was so interesting to see the reactions of the spectators that Hillenbrand described so vividly. I was worried they were going to interfere with the race! I have to admit I really felt sad for War Admiral and his rider.

    I am looking forward to reading the last section.

    • Erin K.

      Carrol, I am totally with you in being worried about the riders and horses during every race description. I had no idea that horse races were so dangerous before I started reading this book.

      I couldn’t believe how Red had such bad luck with injury. I was so excited to see that Fair Knightess survived the fall.

      I’m glad you enjoyed the video clip. I always think it helps to see the real event to help flesh out my mental pictures.

      I hope you enjoy the last section! See you next week!

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