Laura Hillenbrand - Seabiscut: An American Legend, part 1

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With his smallish stature, knobby knees, and slightly crooked forelegs, he looked more like a cow pony than a thoroughbred. But looks aren't everything; his quality, an admirer once wrote, "was mostly in his heart." Gary Eichten talks with Laura Hillenbrand, about the story of the horse who became a cultural icon in Seabiscuit: An American Legend. Program contains pledge drive segments.

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(00:00:00) Guns on campus or two venues like the Metrodome when the Gophers are playing st. Paul Mayor. Randy Kelly says, he'll fight a ruling that he broke the law by accepting an invitation from the Minnesota Wild to attend a playoff game in Denver the state campaign finance and public disclosure board imposed no penalty, but ordered Kelly to reimburse the wild the board also said the wild broke the law by providing the trip. Kelly says he attended the game on official City business Xcel Energy officials. Say crews are nearing completion of repairs to power lines in the metro area. However, they say it will take a few more days to restore power to Buffalo Lake which was struck by a tornado Tuesday night (00:00:34) exhales director of Emergency Response. Danny branca (00:00:36) says cooler weather plus help from repair Crews from outside. The state have pushed them slightly ahead of their completion estimates. Franco says (00:00:43) Crews have had to work 16 hour shifts to repair extensive (00:00:46) damage caused by this week's (00:00:47) storms the nature of the damage to the Electric System is that there it was combination of trees being in lines broken poles wires on the ground due to the winds and it's a Very laborious work to clear the debris rebuild and get everything back and running (00:01:06) Rocco says customers in the metro area should have their power back on by this evening customer still experiencing outages should call Xcel Energy the forecast for Minnesota today calls for partly cloudy skies Statewide. There's a chance of showers and thunderstorms this afternoon in the west and North highs today will range from 75 degrees in the north to near 85 in the South right now in Sioux Falls. It's sunny and 73 Moorhead reports Fair skies and sixty-three skies are Sunny Duluth and 56 and in the Twin Cities partly sunny skies with a temperature of 63 from Minnesota Public Radio. I'm Greta Cunningham. And good morning. Welcome to midday on Minnesota Public Radio. I'm Gary eichten. Yes indeed the call to post here. You know, some stories are simply too good to be true except that they are true and today on. Midday. We're going to focus on just one of those too good to be true stories. Nominally. This is the story of one of the best. If not the best race horses in American history, but it's a much larger story. It's about three actually four very different people who came together to make history. It's about a period of American History the Great Depression when the nation was hungry for Heroes, especially an underdog hero who could succeed against overwhelming odds. It's a true story. It's a story that's coming to a movie screen near you next month. It is the inspiring story of seba biscuit in today's midday will be talking with the author of Seabiscuit Laura hillenbrand. We'll get started. With that conversation will be opening the phone lines for your questions for Laura hillenbrand. But first of all, the doctor whether Mark Seeley and the maven of movies Stephanie Curtis the join me here in the studios as we come to the end of our membership Drive Mark Stephanie. Thank you for coming in today pleasure to be here Stephanie. Where are we now? Where do we stand on this last day of the drive? Okay, right. Now we've got five people on the phone and we need $25,000 this hour we're trying to build down trying to build up to $700,000. This is our fiscal year-end drive here at Minnesota Public Radio and the accountants have gone through all the paperwork done. I'll run all the numbers and they said we need seven hundred thousand dollars by the end of the year June 30th. That's Monday. So we're wrapping up today. We're not going to carry this on through Monday. We need to finish this today. I've got five people on the line right now who called 1-800 to to 728 11 to pledge to Minnesota Public Radio, and we Need a heck of a lot more colors than that to get $25,000 this our let me tell you one 802 to 728 11 is the number to call to make your membership pledge, or if you're near your computer. You can join us online at Minnesota Public Radio dot-org. Well Mark Sealy. You've been good enough to come by a good many of these pledge drives. What do you think? Is it conceivable even that we can make this goal by the end of the day and balance the books? Oh, I think it truly is I know you've been under this circumstance before Gary Friday the big Friday push a lot of people. It appears wait till Friday to make their decisions about such things. And today is Friday. And today as Stephanie said is the last day it's the end of the fiscal year. So if you've been waiting all week to do a pledge to MPR, it's definitely the time for it one eight hundred two to seven 2811 or MP r dot org is the easy way to do it on the internet and I You've got less than $200,000 to go. I think that is doable Gary. I know that if I were a Gambling Man and we are going to be talking about horse racing. I would bet that you are going to make it today. But you are going to need the help of everybody else. You're going to have to get above six callers. That's for sure. I see that's what's on the line now six callers on the line at 1 800 2 to 7 2011 now we should tell everybody that we have this being our pledge Drive, especially this is the last day this is when we open the closet, you know, bring out all the goodies and so we've got some special thank you gifts. And first of all, I want to tell you about the Seabiscuit book will be time with the author in just a couple of minutes. You may have already read this book in paperback form. But even if you have I think you'd be well this is a great great book. It's a coffee table size Illustrated. It's got 150 photos in it glossy. Am I describing this? Stephanie's grabbing this perfect. Okay. I've got the book here in my hot little hands. It's a hardcore collectors edition collector's edition is got the Seabiscuit story and and then it's got all these fantastic photos of the actual course trainers the rider. It's just a beautiful beautiful book. And anyway, even if you already have the book or you know, someone who loves it already has that you could still get them this or you probably want to get your hands on this if you're a fan of the story because it's just fantastic because it's got all the full text in it. So if you haven't read the book, you are actually getting the book plus you get all this extra weight. Anyway, $12.50 per month pledge is all it takes and we'll send that book out to you and I guarantee you you'll be satisfied with this. So $12.50 pledge per month 1-800 to to 7811 the collectors edition of Seabiscuit. And another one of my favorite premiums, of course is the wind up Grundig radio. They they won't let me actually lay my hands on the Grundig. Radio Gary. Well are you might steal it? I think you've got some sticky fingers on you when it comes to that Grundig great. I love it. But if you know, it runs on batteries sure, but it also you can just crank it up and then it goes for I think an hour and you crank it again. It's got a light on it emergency radio. Well, we'll send out both of those to you. If you pledge a dollar a day on this last day of our drive a dollar a day 1-800 to to 728 11, they have nothing in common, except I like both of them. So the heck with it, you know, everyone who calls an absolutely everybody will be also entered in our best but ET to give away now, this is a zippy little machine that we have here at Minnesota Public Radio everyone who calls in whether you pledge or not is entered but we'd really hope that you'd pledge maybe pick up that Seabiscuit book at 1250 month 1-800 to to 728 11 is the number and that Vespa comes from Vespa, Minnesota. Did you get a look at it? Did you yes, I see. It parked outside Stephanie. It's a very classy looking scooter. You'd look good on that Morrow you think so. I don't know if you could see it underneath my big body. That's some tiny little thing though. It's a machine. Yeah, I was expecting that fall service failed investment would look a little bit more like a tiny little like bike or something, but it's actually a big big thing that an any adult would be proud to be on that thing. You would look good on it Mark sure sure would get good economy. I understand. They're very good on gas, right, you know were chattering away here friends and we only have two callers on the line on this very last day. Now, we have four callers on the line on this last day of our membership drive. This is the last effectively the last day of our fiscal year and then the accountants come in and they figure out well, okay, you took in this much in terms of membership contributions. It costs you this much to do the programs. Hmm. Looks like you're a little short or looks like you're in good shape. Well, that's what we're trying to do balance the books here. This is the last day of the drive and we still have Dollars to raise if you listen to mid-day, especially we'd love to have you give us a call with a membership Pledge on this last day 1 800 2 to 7 2011, you know, I'd especially like to appeal to those. Midday listeners Gary. I know you've got the great premiums going this hour, but middays done a wonderful job this last year on political coverage goodness knows we had quite a traumatic political year with the death of Senator wellstone, and then the the campaign in the fall and midday. I know personally was the chief source of political insights and information for many many of my friends and neighbors, and if you're out there and you've become a regular midday listener, this is the time to show your loyalty and support call in and become a member of MPR 1-800-273-8255. Just wanted to join at the $84 a year. We'll also you could do that 1-800 to to 720 and leveling than anyone from that that point up if you call in and ask for the Seabiscuit book, if you get the Seabiscuit book and the radio or even if your leadership Circle and you see fit to give us $100 a month you qualify for the NPR member card, which I always like to promote because I love this and you can get two for one meals all around the state in town. I know that you can you can go to a Riga you can go to Sawadee and every meal you get you get another one free. So in fact, your membership is actually will pay for could pay for itself if your person eats out a lot enjoys going out and enjoy the fine dining of Minnesota. What did hundred two to seven 28:11 everyone who joins up with the 12 $50 a month level get to Seabiscuit book and you get that member card you can get two for one meals all year round dollar a day. We'll send out the Seabiscuit Illustrated collector's edition plus the Grundig wind-up radio 1-800 to to 728 11 is that people on the line right now? We haven't even when I think we got to six for one second and then they went back down to five we got to go to at least ten before. But this break we need to hear from ten of you. At least otherwise, we will not make our goal of $25,000 inside our well in the bigger goal. If you think about it, you know, we talk about all these numbers Mark, but the fact is we still have just to balance things here. We still have to raise $197,000 today and you know, if we just stopped right now think of all the good programming that we couldn't buy for that $200,000. I mean that's that's a lot of money and that's a lot of good radio programming that folks listen to that you listen to so give us a call here do what you can 1-800 to to 7 2011. We'd like to remind everybody that Pizza Luce is donating lunch to our volunteers during our membership drive. So they're well fed eager to help you at 1-800 to to 7 2011. If you call right now you can qualify just this hour we're giving away that Seabiscuit book and the Grundig radio. Maybe maybe if we see fit will have the next hour to that's at the dollar a day three hundred sixty dollars a year level that Grundig rate is just fantastic if you were you are anyone in the in them in Minnesota earlier this year this week when you got caught in the we got those big storms. We had some tornado watches. We had a tornado touchdown and you need to run to the basement at the drop of a hat. I got to tell you I don't have a radio that has bat fresh batteries in it. That doesn't plug into the wall. I would have loved to have that Grundig wind up right away. That's right Stephanie. That's as good as having an insurance policy on your information sources because you don't have to rely on power or battery. You can just crank it it'll work for an hour and I actually think it's a good combination Gary that dollar-a-day premium with the Grundig wind-up radio and the Seabiscuit book you can you can give a people something fascinating to read especially in anticipation. None of the movie coming out and you can give people an insurance policy a radio to get the latest and greatest information. They don't have to rely on on any particular power source, and people can get a little bit of exercise as you do, you know cranking away on that and providing it with power to last for an hour and there's a little light on that radio so you can actually read you could have if you had it earlier this week, you could have gone to the basement with your little wind-up radio and looked at your Seabiscuit book. There you go. What are day three hundred sixty dollars a year 1-800 to to 728 11 is the number. All right. Keep the phone's ringing here. This is the last day in the only way we're going to be able to make this goal is if if you keep those phones going well, we're well, we're doing the program here. We're going to be talking with Laura hillenbrand in just a moment but to keep the phone's ringing 1-800 to to 7 2011. Let us see if we can make that. (00:13:29) That Big Goal one that we really do need to make to pay for the programming on this (00:13:34) station while on the line now from Washington is the author of Seabiscuit Laura hillenbrand. She's been good enough to join us today to talk about her book The Seabiscuit story and take your questions as well. So if you have a question or a comment for author Laura hillenbrand, give us a call on our regular call in line. That number is six five one 2276 thousand 6512276 thousand our toll-free line is Six five one two two seven six thousand one eight hundred two four (00:14:06) two two eight two eight Our Guest is author Laura hillenbrand. Thank you so much for joining us this morning. Appreciate it. Thanks for having me. I got to tell you. I have one of those Grundig radios and they're fantastic. Oh, do ya. Yes. I do. I listen to to NPR every morning on it Wind It Up and Away you go. They're wonderful. You you were writing about thoroughbred racing for several years before you started work on the Seabiscuit book. How did you come to write the story? I am I had known about Seabiscuit since I was a little girl a lot of people in racing did remember him but people never knew anything about the men around him and back in 1996. I was going through some racing documents and came across some information about the horse's owner trainer and jockey and they had really extraordinary stories and were Fascinating People and I realized that this was not just a horse story. This was a really great human story in my view the greatest Dogs door I'd ever seen and I was immediately addicted and knew I had a book on my hands. I may have been living in a cave all this time. That's entirely possible. But I didn't I just didn't know anything about this ever heard the name Seabiscuit, but I didn't know anything about the phenomena. That was Seabiscuit. How how did this story get lost in history? Well, it is amazing because Seabiscuit was an absolutely huge cultural icon in this country in the 1930s in 1938. He was actually the number one news maker in America by newspaper column inches Roosevelt was second and Hitler was third. He was just huge. I think what happened in this is just a guess is that he retired very shortly before the United States entered World War Two and and I think very quickly the public Focus shifted to something much more serious and things that had happened just before the war were kind of lost and I guess that's what happened. Mmm. Now a kind of unlikely Heroes Biscuit was not your classic Thoroughbred with the classic lines. He was the Great American Horatio Alger story of he he was an ugly little horse. He had been a terrible failure for the first two years of his career such a bad race horse that actually his owner tried to give them away as a polo pony and the guy she offered him to wouldn't take him. He took 17 or 18 starts just to win his first race and he was he had legs there were two short his knees didn't straighten all the way. So it looked like he was always in the process of kneeling down and when he ran he would swing one leg out to the side and this spastic motion that made it look like he was swatting flies, but the horse had a tremendous competitive will and in the end that's what made the difference for him now and the in the in the people the team the people are the humans around Seabiscuit almost as interesting as the horse himself. Yeah, if not more so the the jockey was a guy who'd been abandoned. At a racetrack as a boy and turn to prize fighting and writing racehorses to survive. He lived in a horse stall for 12 years before finding Seabiscuit. He was blind in one eye from an injury from a racing accident and he had to keep that secret. He was a very unlikely guy to end up on one of the greatest sources who ever lived the trainer Tom Smith was a man who he was kind of The Last Cowboy a guy who spent 60 years out of the Mustang ranges and who would become obsolete when the automobile came around and the owner was a guy who had started out as a bicycle repairman and made Millions introducing the automobile to the American West and ironically driving the horse into obsolescence Charles Howard. The the Buick guy of you got everybody into Buicks out in San Francisco. Yeah. How did they all get together kind of by accident? I think the depressant had a lot to do with it of kind of taking the country down and moving everybody around and these guys Up together at the racetrack one day but Charles Howard seabiscuit's owner had was an automobile magnate and had devoted his whole life to the automobile and his son his little boy was killed in an automobile accident and it turned him away from cars and back to horses. He had been a cavalrymen in the Spanish-American war and he wound up at a racetrack and ran into Tom Smith the man who would be seabiscuit's trainer who was living in a horse stall and training one horse with no success and they in Detroit ran into Red Pollard the jockey who had just been in a car accident and hitched his way to the track and had been turned down by every trainer. He'd asked for a ride, but he offered a sugar cube to Seabiscuit Seabiscuit took it and a union was formed Pollard. The jockey was not a very good jockey though. He was he was not a success and you're right. He really wasn't a great talent, but he understood this horse Seabiscuit had spent the first two years. It is career in the hands of a trainer who didn't understand him and he had been mismanaged misunderstood and and really almost abused and he was very neurotic. He was upset. He was he was worried all the time. He was 200 pounds underweight. He needed somebody who understood the mind of a horse like this who could help him calm down could help him trust people again and Red Pollard had spent 12 years riding in the bush leagues. He understood neurotic horses, and he and this horse clicked and for the times that he was on seabiscuit's back Red Pollard was a great jockey and then there was the trainer you mentioned a tom smith. Who was as you said it kind of a last of a breed he was an odd duck to sound like he couldn't really talk to people but he sure could get along with horses. He's such an interesting person back when he was out on the Mustang ranges. The Indians used to call him the loan Plainsman and white men called him silent Tom. He wouldn't talk and he spent his whole life away from people and Reporters when Seabiscuit became very famous reporters would follow him around and they couldn't get anything out of him one reporter asked him to describe Seabiscuit in detail. And Tom said he's a horse and walked off and that was basically the most you could get out of Tom but Tom new horses and he would go into a stall with a new horse. He would sit down and and he would watch him for hours and he'd come out of that stall understanding the horse. We're talking this hour with Laura hillenbrand. Who is the author of Seabiscuit the award-winning best-seller about one of if not the greatest race horses in American history. It's a it's about the horse to be sure the book is but it's about so much more. There's it's a great story one of the best. I personally have ever read she'd been good enough to join us today to talk about the book. And if you would like to join our conversation, give us a call here, six five one two, two seven six thousand 6512276 thousand or toll-free line is 1-800-218-4243 or 1-800 to four two two eight two eight and just a reminder that we are offering the collector's edition The Illustrated Edition of Seabiscuit as a special thank-you gift on this last day of our membership drive. If you would like a copy $12.50 a month pledge or a hundred and fifty for the full year. We will send that out. You even if you have the paper back, I think you would love to have this collector's edition. It's a beautiful book full of very interesting pictures, which brings me to my next question Laura and there are a hundred and fifty photos in this book How is it that the first of all where did the all these pictures come from? And how could you how'd you decide to put those particular ones in there as opposed to other ones? They came from all over the place. They came some from the big archives and a lot from the private collections of the people who were in the store from the family members of my subjects. And from people who just happen to be standing by the rail when Seabiscuit ran and took a good picture and I spent a number of months just going through maybe thousands of photographs trying to find the ones that really helped to tell this story and it was such a wonderful luxury when I did my hardcover authors have to pay for photos themselves and they're very very expensive to use and so I simply couldn't afford to put more than 24 in there and it was Rate to be able to just pack this book with photos the second time around and random house did such a beautiful job at creating this book. What do you mean you have to pay for your own pictures? Well, you have to get permissions fees from the copyright holders and authors are responsible for that not Publishers. And when I put this book out, I had no idea it was going to be a success nobody did so I really went very deep into the hole myself a cost me seven thousand dollars to put the 24 pictures I did in the hardcover and and at that point I was I was really into far and didn't know if the book would make that money back. I did read somewhere that you thought initially you might be lucky if you'd sell 5,000 copies. Is that right? Yeah. I did it. There was some pessimism out there about this book about whether or not people would want to read a book about racing a book which has a central character or a horse and and fortunately those people were very wrong. Let's go to the phones here and your question, please. Oh, I just It to tell you what it is a fabulous book. I got it for my sister who said you have to read it and I'm like, you know, I'm not really into horses at all. But I read this book and I have never I read it in a weekend and it was so great. I want around telling everybody you have got to read this book. It's great and I go it's about this horse and they're like a horse. I'm like, oh you just got to read it. It was so good. I was just it was I think one of the best books I have ever read. Oh, thank you so much. You've made my day. Oh my God. I mean it was it's a great book. I think everybody should read it and I am so excited for the movie to come out. I am too. I really think it's going to be a wonderful (00:24:08) film and you have the collector's edition by the way yet. (00:24:12) Well, no, I don't but I heard about that this morning when I was driving to work and I'm like you let heard him say something about a horse. I'm like, I wonder if they're talking about Seabiscuit. You know, Seabiscuit is my my my favorite now I have I found a little plastic. Seabiscuit on eBay that I had by after I read the book and it's been in my office, you know, I should probably get the collector's edition because I'm just like a Sea Biscuit freak now well, we'll be glad to accommodate you on our pledge (00:24:41) line. Ha ha ha. (00:24:43) Thanks for the call and you bet bye-bye. If an were to call in her number, the number on the pledge line is what 802 to 7 2011 and was talking about the little plastic Seabiscuit Laura and but when when Seabiscuit was actually racing there was like a whole Sea Biscuit industry in this country was he really what he was one of the first heavily merchandised athletes in America and there was everything there was a Sea Biscuit pinball machine. There was Seabiscuit ladies hats that were sold on Fifth Avenue Seabiscuit wallets a ton of see this get bored Games. He even had his own line of Sunkist Orange. Has he everything his name was everywhere. Was there something to distinguish his Sunkist Orange from the run-of-the-mill Sunkist Orange? I don't know. Actually there were actually two lines of Seabiscuit Sunkist oranges and there was a maybe a premium one and a not so good when I'm not sure but I have the the advertisements one of these big beautiful colorful advertisements with paintings of Seabiscuit on them and he it's amazing. He endorsed alcoholic beverages and laundromats and hotels and everything. Well it is I mean that was that one of the many intriguing things about this story is this is the sheer scope of his popularity you're talking about when the horse train would roll from one part of the country to the other thousands of people would come out just to watch the train go by yeah it people the itineraries would get published in the newspapers and locals from just across the country and very rural places would crowd on the train just to get a little glimpse of him. Even the train stopped once at an Indian reservation and very isolated place that everybody there knew who the horse was. What was it about this horse? I mean, it wasn't like he was even the only well or some argument as to whether he was the best race horse of his time. I want to get in to spoil the the match race thing. But I mean there was some dispute about that. What was any is just a horse after all and people were you know, in the midst of a depression why in the world would it would horse cause that much excitement? Well, you mentioned the thing it's the depression to see this give would have been a huge star in any generation. He was a great great athlete a very compelling one, but I think what made him transcend Sport and become a national icon was the fact that he came along in the depths of the depression and people today don't really have a sense of how bad things were for Americans at that time one in four Americans was at work when Seabiscuit was running your Average American earned less than five hundred dollars a year and it was a very discouraging time to be in this country and people were looking for Underdog Heroes that they could identify with somebody who looked beat up like they did who actually overcame the odds and succeeded and and this horse as well as the men around him. Especially his jockey Red Pollard were perfect symbols of that and something just clicked in the American imagination and your average American who had never seen a horse race was obsessed with the horse one person told me that her mother remembered walking down the street on any Saturday afternoon in the 1930s and there'd be nobody on the streets but through every open window you could hear seabiscuit's racist being run on the radio and the families gathered around to hear it. Wow. Sue are your question plays actually I have a thank you and a question Laura. I read your book about two months after my dad died and I had grown up around Santa Anita. And with all with my dad going to the track every couple weeks and actually knowing some of the jockeys Eddie Arcaro and Willie Shoemaker and so forth and so reading your book was like a final goodbye to my dad. I cried it was it was wonderful because and my only sadness came and that I kept me. Oh my God, he would have loved this book and I probably bought and given away a dozen copies of it and everyone. I have given it to his looked at it and said, why are you giving me this book and I have had people call back and say I've loved it. I loved it. I had given it to people 84 year old nuns to teenagers and I wonder if you have any thought other than through the Horatio Alger theory about why your particular book is just so popular. I mean, I think it's just incredibly well-written but so are a lot of other books. Well, it's thank you so much for the compliment. I'm very sorry about your father. I I think certainly the Horatio Alger thing had a lot to do it. I think also that Americans feel a visceral connection to the horse. I think even people who have spent their whole life living in downtown New York City still feel a debt of gratitude and perhaps a fascination with the horse. Our history is so deeply entwined with that of the horse. We have cultivated the animal into the beautiful creature that is now and they carried us through our Wars and and the Frontiers and just through travels through many centuries and I think people still feel connected to that and I think it's why a hundred and fifty thousand people go to the Kentucky Derby every year and I think maybe it has to do with why people wanted to tap into this book. We're talking with Laura hillenbrand the author of Seabiscuit bestseller. It's one pretty much every award a book can win. It's been out for a couple of years now but a new Russians are out in conjunction with the movie Seabiscuit, which is being released next month and as our callers are indicating if you haven't had a chance to read this story it is a it is a great story. It's a great book and even if you have read it, you would be interested to know that there is now a collector's edition complete with the hundred and fifty really interesting photos full-text coffee table sized book and we're offering that as a special thank-you gift on this last day of our membership drive. If you would like a copy of the book one eight hundred to two hundred seventy eight eleven. That's our pledge line number 1-800 to 27 2811. And what the heck will if you pledge a dollar a day will not only send out the collectors edition of Seabiscuit, but we'll put a Grundig AM/FM wind-up radio in the package as well. But do give us a call. We need to make our goals here and still about a hundred and ninety-three thousand dollars to raise by seven o'clock tonight. (00:31:25) Meanwhile, if you have a question for Laura hillenbrand the call us on our regular call inline-6 512276 thousand or one eight hundred (00:31:34) two, four two two eight two eight Jane. Go ahead please I am so pleased to have this opportunity to thank Laura for writing this book. It is like all of your other callers. One of the best books I've ever read certainly one of the most uplifting and touching and the chance to thank you. It's a reason why everyone should be a member of Minnesota Public Radio get a twofer from you John. I'm a question though is do you think that there's going to be any interest in re looking at Sea Biscuit from the perspective of the racing statistics and perhaps giving him more of his rightful place in the history of racing then it feels like he has first thank you for the compliment. I think he's getting it now. He is in the Hall of Fame. He was voted in right away. When the Hall of Fame opened. I do think that he wasn't getting the respect. He deserved actually a few years ago, maybe six or eight months before my book came out. Our racing publication did a survey of racing writers asking them who the best horses in history were and Seabiscuit. I believe ended up 25th and War Admiral 12th, and this enraged me because we're at what was his great rival on the track and Seabiscuit gave him a good thumping on the track and it took it showed that people had forgotten how great he was. I think the problem is when living memories die off all you have left are statistics and see the skit if you look at the raw statistics, he doesn't look as good as a horse who was campaign much more conservatively. He raised 89 times. He won 33 It doesn't take into account that his first two years were with a bad trainer that that he was carrying much much more weight than his Rivals were those things get forgotten and people look at wins and losses and wins and losses. He doesn't look as good as War Admiral, but I'm hoping that a more nuanced view is now prevalent about Seabiscuit and that heat especially after the movie. I think he's going to a lot of people will say he was the best ever. He will certainly be beloved after the movie. Okay. Let me ask you this Laura Seabiscuit probably the most popular horse of the first half century and I think it's fair to say Secretariat would be the most popular horse of the second half of the 20th century, which is the better horse who would win if they had a match race. I have though. I hate to say it. I have to say it would probably be Secretariat. I think secretary. It was probably the most perfect racing engine ever crafted. He was in a way that you can't say about I think any Horse who ever lived a true freak A genetic freak when they autopsied him your average equine heart weighs seven and a half pounds his heart weighed 22 pounds and it was healthy. It wasn't because of disease it would because he simply had a giant heart. He had the most efficient stride ever measured by an MIT engineer. He really was something else. I think though what I will say about Seabiscuit if I had to take any horse in history in a head-to-head battle down the stretch. I wouldn't choose any horse including Secretariat over Seabiscuit. He would find a way to win those fights to the to the wire. He was incredibly tenacious as Jackie said of him, you could kill him before he quit and that brings up another thing now for those of us who don't know much about horses. I mean, I've always assumed well, you know, you kind of start off in the horse runs around the track and then the fastest horse wins, but that's not really true so much. I mean there is There is a real competitiveness to these animals taunting and stuff that goes on. Yes. They race horses thoroughbreds have been bred for 300 years to love running and to want to win and they understand very clearly what they're out there to do and they do it. If you leave them to their own devices out in paddocks, they'll race each other all day long. And you see there was one great Stallion named raise a native who had 28 years old used to race whoever was in the next Paddock up and down the fence all day long. He could still beat them to and Seabiscuit was he was something of a trash talker. I have to say he would taunt his Rivals. He was snorting their faces. He would slow down when they got up alongside them and tease them for a while and then put them away just before the wire he knew where the wire was but they are tremendously competitive creatures and they love to run and they love to win Michael Jordan talk trash a lot to exactly he was something of a Michael Jordan. Of the equine World Kirk your question, please. Hi. It's a prank. It's a real pleasure to be able to talk to you. We're going haven't yet finished your book, but I really like it. I have a couple quick questions. First of all, I just picture as I'm reading this that you talked to every living person who had any connection to these guys and this horse and how did you do that? And how did you pick from among all those stories? And also I noticed when I was trying to find the book in the library that there is your book and a number of children's books and it seems like yours might be the first Adult Book on Seabiscuit in maybe a long time. And why do you suppose that is I'll take the second one first. It's yeah there there is a children's book called. Come on see this get that. I read as a kid. It's just wonderful and that's what originally got me hooked on the horse. But yeah there there are no other adult books on Steve is going on. No why this story had been overlooked it? Like I said before perhaps the war had something to do with it people just he just slipped out of the Consciousness quickly because the nation was plunged into real trauma after his career was over but somewhat was the first half of your question what you're asking. Did you actually talk to all these people? Yeah, it took me four years to research the book and I call I called everybody in the horse racing industry over that time. I tried to find every person who would ever had any connection with the horse and so the thousands and thousands of phone calls and and I found I think everyone living who had been connected with the horse in one way or another. I found two people who actually rode the horse who are still living and a lot of people who were associated with him in one way or another and it they were the best source they they did have lots and lots of Stories the ones I included. Be the stories I could corroborate elsewhere. You know memory is a fallible thing. And but the wonderful thing is these people's memories were remarkably accurate. It was incredible how much detail they remembered that I could check elsewhere and find these details were correct and it was such a privilege to be able to talk to these people and to walk through their memories with them Laura. We want to give everybody an opportunity to pick up a copy of Seabiscuit. And we need to see if we can make our goals here. Can you join us over the noon hour next hour? Sure. Okay, great. Thank you very much Laura hillenbrand the author of Seabiscuit joining us today on midday to talk about what I believe to be an obviously lots of our listeners think is one of the really great books great stories of all time and Stephanie (00:39:16) Curtis Mark Seeley here to point out that we are offering a special premium this hour so that people can pick up a copy of this book. Don't have it yet 1250 a month. Gary is all it takes to get the the premier edition of this book. And that sounds like a wonderful story everyone who's read it has thoroughly enjoyed. It called one of the best books. They've ever read 1250 month or if you want to go for the combination with the dollar a day pledge. You can get the book and the Grundig crank radio as premium gifts for one dollar a day. It's a great combination. I just want to stress right now everybody out there. This is our last day of the pledge-drive if the end of our fiscal year and we really need to raise seven hundred thousand dollars during this pledge drive and we aren't doing well this hour, I got to tell you were supposed to be raising $25,000 this hour and we still have 18,000 over 18,000 left to go and only four people on the line and unless those four people are pledging five thousand dollars each, which I don't think is happening. We need a lot more of you to call right now our numbers 1-800 to to 728 11, you can get that Seabiscuit book that we've been Reba one of our listeners said that who's the perfect book for everyone from 84 year old nuns two teenagers. I just love that are until I just have the image of an 84 year old men sitting next to some skate Punk but both holding up see better and hopefully they will be holding up the collectors edition of Seabiscuit that we've got here for you for 12 50 a month is just a beautiful looking book. So even if you already have Seabiscuit, even if you've read it, this is the one you will want to have to keep on your bookshelf and maybe if you're feeling generous to loan out to people other people to read 1-800 to to 728 11 is our number you'll have your own copy and then you can get pass out the pass out the paper back, you know, that's right blowing that out to people 1-800 to to 728 11 just 14 minutes to go here before and twelve o'clock our goal this hour to try to end the drive successfully $25,000 this hour and we still have about Thousand dollars to raise nine people make that 17 people on the line right now at 1-800-273-8255 your good premium offer Gary, you know, I did hit on a central theme Here. I liked Laura describing the story of Seabiscuit as a case where the people around Seabiscuit made him a better horse. Oh absolutely and it's the people around MPR that make it one of the best radio stations in the region and not just the people working here at NPR. It's the MPR membership that makes it one of the best radio stations in the region. And if you have yet to be a member of this radio station, please join the family 1-800-273-8255 sand continue to promote this as the best Regional public radio or the best public radio in the nation. Now, you might not have realized it's the last day of the drive because actually it's been a short drive probably flown by I saw you procrastinators who were waiting for the last day. This is actually it folks. This is when we need you to call we don't have any time to wait. We will be here tomorrow. We need to raise seven hundred thousand dollars by the end of today. We're hoping to rent as soon as we get this money will wrap it up. We will end the drive. We need another what $17,000 this out. We've got 16 people on the line. Thank you to everyone who's called. Thank you to everyone who's called in previous days. Everything was on the line right now, but we really need you if you listen to mid day every day, maybe on your lunch break. Maybe you're not your lunch break. You just sneak up the radio at work. Maybe you're driving around on the road every day and you value mid debut value having Gary eichten. If you value the wonderful speeches the political coverage everything we brought in the past year call 1-800 to to 728 11. We're counting on you 1-800 to to 728 11:17 callers are on the line and you know at this rate friends, we could still make this goal and it's so important. It's obviously it's important to us, but it's important. I think to you as well if you listen to the station and you there's something here that you find useful and this is how we pay for the programs. We want to make sure that going into the next fiscal year. Everything is hunky-dory. The books are balanced and we're Square here and that's where you come in. If you make that membership pledge, if you're not yet a member new membership, if it's time to renew boy, we need you to renew that membership. If you're all paid up and you can do some extra a gift membership or additional contribution every single dollar that's pledge right now will move us $1 closer. There are 23 people on the line right now at 1-800-273-8255 in again to a very special. Thank you gift. I personally believe Mark Stephanie that everybody everybody should have the collectors edition of Seabiscuit. Is that good of a book? It is great. I don't recommend books because I don't read many books and I got weird tastes. Anyway, this is really cool. Why Hundred 2 to 7 2011, you know Gary it is a time of lorem. Also alluded to this. It was an inspiring story back then in the 1930s goodness knows with the Great Depression and such but the book itself now is an inspiring story. I mean even in the context of today's Times very inspiring story and I think a very very appropriate premium for your midday program because midday is dedicated to Bringing inspiring stories to Impe our listeners. Well 1-800 to to 72811 27 people are on the line now don't get scared off by that because we actually have 40 lines and I think we have a nice whom we have enough people to answer all the phones are a lot of volunteers out there. If you dial in somebody will pick up the phone right away and take your pledge. It takes two minutes of your time and then off you go 1-800 to to 728 11 if you call us on Monday, oh, they'll be glad to take your membership. But we can't offer you the Seabiscuit book. We can't offer you the Grundig radio. What the heck do yourself a favor give yourself a gift 1-800 to to 728 11. Yeah, when you go to the phone bring your credit card, they'll make it extra Speedy. So you can just you can get on get off. I got to tell you those volunteers are really fun. They're people who like you who love Minnesota Public Radio and they are great for doing this and they make it Go by very very quickly and everybody who calls 1-800 to to 7 2011 will also be entered just today. This is your last chance folks last chance to be entered in the Vespa ET to give away from Vespa Minnesota. And that's a zippy little ride that we have downstairs or Matt. I think they put it outside already today and you could drive by and see if you want to check it out. But I promise you drive by later check it out. I promise you it is a great little machine call now or click and join at Minnesota Public Radio dot org, if you're listening in front of a computer. It's really easy to join up there and then you don't have to bother talking to anybody 1-800 to to 7 2011. You've got 20 people on the line right now, but we need To get that up to at least 30, you know, I before we get get any further here because I keep forgetting about this. I want to I want to invite everybody to join us for Midday on Monday up in Monticello. We're on the road map in Monticello at the community center in Monticello on Monday and who's going to be starring on the program none other than dr. Mark Seeley will be there. Here's a great opportunity. If you're in the area to come by and meet Mark and get your questions in he's a heck of a nice guy Michael Oster home. Dr. Michael osterholm will also be there and he'll scare the Daylights out of us. I suppose talk about all these terrible diseases, but it's a great opportunity to find out more about all these new emerging diseases as well. So, you know, come on up if you can to Monticello on Monday, that is the official last day of the fiscal year. Hopefully, we'll have good news for everybody Mark that we made our goal. We'll see that's coming up awful fast. Well where else can you get programming like that it? To me talking here to the author of Seabiscuit and of being able to not only interact with you as host but also take listener questions what other radio station is going to give that to you. It's midday, and I know middays got a lot of loyal listeners out there. It's time for you loyal listeners. If you've just recently become a midday listener, please consider joining Minnesota Public Radio and support this quality programming is programming that's really tailored to the interests of our community where we live. It's really our community radio station go to MP r dot orgy if it's easy enough for you to do on the Internet or call one eight hundred to two seven two eight one one like Stephanie said it's only going to take one or two minutes. They're very efficient in the phone room. Now, if you are a new listener, you've never heard a pledge drive before maybe you don't understand how this works. We bring you this great program 365 days a year, but we depend on you to become a member. We are non-commercial radio and listeners like you pledging 1250 a month pledging. $1 a day are our most important source of income the LibriVox. It sounds it sounds amazing. I know you're sitting back and thinking well, I don't make that much of a difference. I mean I couldn't what difference does it make if I call it really does matter because we build up our station we build up this great programming with listeners from contributions from listeners like you it's just a small. It's Brick by Brick. It happens. We've only got 12 people on the line right now. This is the last chance we've only got another another seven minutes and we're supposed to be raising $25,000 this hour, we've only got $13,000 left to don't to get and we need you to walk over the phone right now 1 800 2 to 7 2811 to stay on track. Alright time to cue the Hallelujah Chorus if we have it because the membership folks have brought in a sheet that tells us a challenge Grant has now been issued fellow listeners who Our members have contributed extra money and they will add three thousand dollars to the program Kitty an extra $3,000 if we can raise $6,000 in membership pledges between now and 1206. So roughly 10 minutes. Here's a chance for you to earn extra money with your membership pledge. So let us say now this is hard math and I'm going to mess this up by let's say you well, it's this I have done this earlier today. Let's say you call in at the Dollar A Day level. Okay, you'll be receiving the Seabiscuit Illustrated collector's edition. You'll be receiving the Grundig AM/FM radio the wind up radio a dollar a day. It will cost you but it will earn five hundred and forty dollars for Minnesota Public Radio if you call us now between now and 1206 matching Grant in effect for every dollar contributed, we earn an extra 50 cents. Two to seven 28:11 if you're going to join us on this last day. Anyway, this is the time when you can earn some extra money, we've got nine folks on the line at 1 800 to to 728 11 get get your pledge in while you can match your money. But of course Gary that means that they really better act here in the next 11 minutes. Yeah, that probably means putting the sandwich down while you can talk with your mouth full. That's okay going to the telephone calling 1-800 to to 72811 pull over to the side. If you're driving pick up the cell phone, if you've been waiting till Friday, you've been waiting till the last day it's the next eleven minutes where you can really make your dollar count by taking advantage of this matching Grant $10,000 to our goal and if we make this matching Grant will be perilously close to making the hourly goal one eight hundred to two hundred seventy eight eleven. There are 10 people on the line who are getting their memberships matched right now. How about you? You're gonna make the pledge anyway, and you should you know it you might as well earn some extra money with that membership contribution and you can do it right now in the next nine. Well, it's no now it's 10 minutes got 10 minutes to go 1-800 to to 728 11. If you'd like to join online, we can count you toward this challenge Grant as well in our web address is Minnesota Public Radio dot org 12 callers on the line and maybe you could see fit right now to donated the leadership Circle level which is $100 a month twelve hundred dollars a year. But if you pledge in the next 10 minutes, oh listen to that music it's a horse race. If you pledge the next ten minutes when we have this matching Grant your 1200 will actually be $1,800 to Minnesota Public Radio. And with that you can ask for a thank you gift. 10,000 Northwest World perk miles, which that's just a great down as we can slip them a book too. I think we could probably slip them a book to so if you call him now to leadership Circle level Gary says we can slip you a To with the New World parks miles what a deal and Minnesota Public Radio will get $1,800 and plus the leadership Circle levels, you get you get great things like he can get and get a tour you get some day sponsorship messages when you hear those things like when Gary says a special thanks to Kim on her birthday and get a couple of those in the year. It's fantastic. It's a perfect time to call in if you've been thinking about the leadership Circle level Now's the Time call 1-800 to to 728 1118 callers are on the line getting their memberships matched. How about you 18 callers very very good, but still more than that. We have about 20 to open lines. So you'll be able to get right through but again these challenge grants. There's a time limit set in this case 1206. And in this case, that means what am I do my math here for me Mark 8 minutes from now, basically. Yes, 1-800 to go to 217 tolerate 11 is the number to call. May we suggest that dollar at a pledge? (00:53:26) You'll I (00:53:27) guarantee you'll love this book. If you get at the Sea Biscuit collector's edition will be talking next hour again taking some more questions for Laura hillenbrand. The author will also send you the Grundig AM/FM wind-up radio great for emergency purposes and just a play with frankly with the crank on it 1-800 to to 7 2011. Yeah, that radio is very very cool. And you just crank it about 60 times. It will go for an hour. So if earlier this week, you were one of the people who are in the path of the storm. He had to go to the basement really quickly. It would have been great to have been able to grab that Grundig radio run down to the basement. Keep your radio tuned to NPR. So you knew when to come out of the basement cause I bet there might be some people who got went down without a radio and they don't know the can even come out yet. Absolutely Stephanie. It's a great great insurance policy to have around the house for your family and it occurs to me. We're promoting Seabiscuit here as a who was a competitor all the time and MPR is a competitor all the time. Great news and information would like to thank Sydney's for providing lunch to pledge staff during the membership Drive. We're going to break for headlines. That matching Grant is in effect. Call us at one eight hundred two to seven. 28:11 will be back to let you know if we made (00:54:39) it programming is sponsored by the College of Saint Catherine's weekend College designed for working women who want to complete a bachelor's degree obtain a master's change directions or pursue something entirely new information online at and by Sebastian Joe's ice cream cafe serving an array of handmade ice cream at to Minneapolis locations in Kenwood at the corner of Hennepin and Franklin and in the heart of London Hills at 43rd and Upton. I like the Morning Edition and all things (00:55:09) considered. I listened to Science Friday big (00:55:12) fan of This American Life midday on NPR I lay in bed and listen to the BBC. My favorite host is a casserole and for nice supported because it definitely covers all the issues that Interested in do the right thing and call 1-800 to to 728 11 now or click and join at Minnesota Public Radio dot-org. This is Minnesota Public Radio. You're to 91.1 (00:55:41) Candor wfm Minneapolis and st. Paul partly cloudy skies 63 degrees. We can look for a high in the mid-70s this afternoon tonight showers and thundershowers (00:55:50) again with a low in the upper 50s and tomorrow more showers and thundershowers. The doggies are going to get scared again (00:55:58) high temperature tomorrow in the low 70s. We are working on that challenge (00:56:03) Grant yet twenty four callers are on the line. They're getting their memberships matched. Well, basically 241 basis right now. How about you will be able to get right through we will be the challenge Grant continues until six minutes after 12 of another five minutes or so. So if you would like to earn extra money with your matching Grant with your membership Pledge on this last day of our Drive effectively the last day of the fiscal year when we find out if we can balance the books if you want to earn that extra money, give us a call here 1-800 to to 728 11.


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