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VIEWPOINT / LETTERS

Sport Needs More Than a Stale 'Biscuit

August 02, 2003

I see where "Seabiscuit," the movie, finished out of the money in fifth place on its opening weekend. If the racing mavens were banking that the movie would boost interest in the sport, they backed the wrong horse.

As a Californian, I remember there were only 50 days allocated to Santa Anita and Hollywood Park, with about 60 days between racing meets, and there was no Oak Tree. The thoroughbreds were freshened up and were much more sound when they returned to competition. There were only eight races per day, from Tuesday through Saturday, and the fields were usually full, 12 to a race.

Weekday crowds averaged 12,000 and on Saturday upward of 40,000 attended.

There is an adage in the entertainment industry: "Leave them wanting more."

Jerry Baruch

Los Angeles

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Mike Penner [July 29] should have been as lucky as I. Last night I stumbled on the PBS documentary named, I believe, "Seabiscuit: The True Story." It was so good, I have no desire to see the film.

It had no re-creations. The actual films and amazing historic race footage were there. Mike's right about Red Pollard's face. It was so familiar I thought I recognized him. No actor I've seen could handle the impersonation.

The interviews with trainers, jockeys and Laura Hillenbrand, the book's author, were well-timed to punctuate the film's history lesson. And even a horse-blind person like me could see the stark contrast between the majestic, aristocratic bearing of War Admiral and the shambling stance of Seabiscuit. It made the public's love for the blue-collar horse who set speed records all over the country inevitable.

If PBS is allowed to air the documentary again, don't miss it.

Bob Kellogg

Del Mar

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This morning I woke and asked, "Mirror, mirror on the wall, who's the most bitter of them all?" I fully expected the normal answer, "Why you are, o miserable one." Instead mirror answered, "The belligerent Mike Penner is the most bitter of all."

Does Penner realize "Seabiscuit" is a movie, not a documentary, and that Hollywood uses "artistic license" to better facilitate telling a story?

Please leave movie reviewing to the professionals.

Mark Kummrow

Santa Monica

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