With Oscar Sunday just days away, movie hype and Hollywood fever is in the air. Who will take home the award for best performance? Which storyline will receive the Oscar for best picture? What will the celebrities be wearing to the big event? Though none of the films in this year?s best picture lineup involve a horse racing theme, the horse racing community is no stranger to the big screen. From true stories retold to fictional renditions of adventures at the track, many movies have captured the spirit of the sport leaving audiences touched and new generations inspired. As a nod to the 85 Academy Awards and horse racing fans alike, we have compiled a list of 10 horse racing movies to check out next time you are surfing Netflix, Redbox or your local library?s film section.
1.) Seabiscuit (2003)
Based loosely on the true story of a Depression-era racehorse, Seabiscuit follows the unlikely racing career of an overlooked thoroughbred and his too-tall jockey, played by Tobey Maguire. These misfits become the classic underdog team, finding unexpected success that not only puts them on the tracks with the big boys, but also inspires a nation looking for hope amidst troubling economic turmoil. Hall of Famer, jockey Gary Stevens, played the role of jockey George Woolf, bringing the race scenes to life in an invigorating way.
2.) The Lemon Drop Kid (1951)
Bob Hope plays New Yorker, Sidney Milburn, aka ?The Lemon Drop Kid,? a swindler touting racehorses at a track in Florida. After he convinces a woman to change her bet to a horse that finishes in last place, the woman?s outraged, mobster beau demands a $10,000 compensation to make up for his lost potential earnings, giving ?The Kid? until Christmas Eve to turn in the cash. The real-life 1999 Belmont Stakes winner, Lemon Drop Kid, was affectionately named after this comedy film.
3.) Dreamer: Inspired by a True Story (2005)
Inspired by the true story of race horse Mariah?s Storm, Dreamer chronicles the life of fictional horse Sonador, an aspiring winner who faces a severe injury that stands to jeopardize her racing career. In the film, young horse-lover, Cale Crane, (played by Dakota Fanning) is the daughter of horse trainer Ben, (played by Kurt Russell) and witnesses Sonador fall on the track. The girl insists that that her father rescue the horse from being put down. As Sonador successfully progresses through rehabilitation, the father and daughter pair restore their strained relationship.
4.) Secretariat (2010)
Secretariat is remembered not only as the 1973 Triple Crown Winner, but also as one of the greatest thoroughbred horses of all time. This film relives the tale of his victorious road and race to the top, integrating the important role of owner Penny Chenerey (played by Diane Lane) who did not lose faith in the horse known at the barn as ?Big Red.? Real-life Chenerey makes a cameo appearance in the movie.
5.) A Day at the Races (1937)
Starring the three Marx Brothers, this classic comedy tells the story of three doctors who try to save a woman?s farm by winning a big race with her horse. Running into some inconvenient problems along the way, the film has racing flavor mixed with musical entertainment and a lot of laughs by this famous family comedy act.
6.) The Black Stallion (1979)
Based on the 1941 children?s novel by Walter Farley, this film is about a young boy, who, when traveling with his father, is shipwrecked on a desert island with no other survivors except the mysterious Arabian stallion traveling with them. The boy and horse develop a friendship, and after rescued, return home where they meet a trainer who helps the human/equine team prepare to race against the fastest horses in the world.
7.) National Velvet (1944)
This film starring Elizabeth Taylor and Mickey Rooney takes place in Sussex, England where twelve-year-old Velvet (Taylor) wins an energetic horse in a raffle, and with the help of drifter and former jockey Mi Taylor (Rooney), trains the gelding to race in the Grand National Steeplechase. The film is ranked 9th on the American Film Institute?s list of 10 greatest films in the sports genre.
8.) Phar Lap (1983)
Another Depression-era champion, thoroughbred Par Lap dominated Australian horse racing during a time of economic despair. His winning career inspired the 1983 film that retells the story of the racehorse that made it to the top through the commitment of a local stable boy who bonded with him, and how a mysterious illness ended it all.
9.) Shergar (1999)
This film is an interpretation of the true story of acclaimed Irish racehorse Shergar, who won the 1981 Epsom Derby by an impressive 10 lengths, then was later abducted by who many theorized to be Irish Republican Army terrorists seeking ransom for weapons. Though the true fate of Shergar is still sadly unknown, the Hollywood portrayal tells the story of an orphan boy working on the farm who decides to save the horse by fleeing with him.
10.) Hidalgo (2004)
Based loosely on the story of American distance Rider Frank Hopkins and his horse Hidalgo, the film recounts the 1891 tale of how Hopkins and Hidalgo were summoned by a wealthy man to compete as the first American and his mustang in the legendary ?Ocean of Fire,?a 3,000-mile race and grueling adventure across the Najd desert in Arabia, restricted only to pure-bred Arabian horses. Hopkins and Hidalgo eager for the challenge attempt to accomplish the impossible.
As we have seen, horseracing movies have been on the scene for decades. The sport offers many unique examples of victory, defeat, trial, disappointment and triumph, and Hollywood films have become one way to explore these stories further and pass them on to younger generations. Whether you are interested in renting one of these movies-- or one of the countless others-- next time you find yourself amidst a slow day at the tracks, maybe a cinematic break will help you find your fix. But when the gates open and the bell cues the start of a new race, we hope you will wager and win with us at Dark Horse Bet, the fastest growing community of online horse-playing.
It was quite the scene at Santa Anita this Halloween morning, with the combination of the scary decorations at Clockers' Corner and the throngs of people watching Breeders' Cup horses go through their morning exercise!
Clockers' Corner Kitchen all decked out for Halloween.
Breakfast with ghouls.
Early fog didn't discourage the crowds at morning workouts.
Musical Romance Jogs at Santa Anita - Musical Romance, Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint contender, got a feel for the main track at Santa Anita this morning, jogging once around on the outside rail. Trained by Bill Kaplan, Musical Romance drew post position 8 and will be ridden by Juan Leyva.
Amazombie, the Eclipse Award Champion Sprinter of 2011, was a class act schooling at Santa Anita Friday afternoon for trainer Bill Spawr. Amazombie will be the likely favorite in Saturday's Grade I Santa Anita Sprint Championship. He truly looked magnificent!
The statue of the great mare is unveiled before adoring fans!
Artist Nina Kaiser with Ann Moss
"Captured to perfection in her signature post-race curtsy, head bowed and right hoof pawing the ground, the mighty Zenyatta was unveiled in magnificent bronze Saturday at noon before an enthusiastic coterie of fans in the south quadrant of Santa Anita?s Kingsbury Memorial Fountain area, directly across from a replica of another turf legend, John Henry.
"Enduring uncharacteristically hot weather, the crowd roared its approval when the life-sized sculpture by Nina Kaiser was uncovered, a full 1200 pounds and 17.2 hands high, conforming with Zenyatta?s physical measurements." - Ed Golden, Santa Anita Stable Notes If you haven't had a chance to see the magnificent statue, it is well worth the trip to Santa Anita. It is truly life-like and imposing, inspiring nearly the same awe as looking at the great mare herself.
- Eddie D!
- Ready and Waiting for Opening Day at Santa Anita
Author Rudy Alvarado and jockey Garrett Gomez with Mary Forney at the book signing during the GoGo Golfing for Winners' Foundation golf tourney on April 9, 2012. (photo: Nora Lee)
Don't miss an opportunity to meet internationally acclaimed jockey Garrett Gomez and award-winning biographer Rudy Alvarado TODAY at Del Mar, where they will be signing copies of The Garrett Gomez Story: A Jockey's Jouirney Through Addiction & Salvation.
The remarkable book chronicles Gomez' journey through the depths of alcoholism and drug addiction to his amazing recovery.
"I didn't want a book about my history as a jockey," said Gomez. "I wanted a book that was going to inspire and touch people." That is precisely what Gomez and Alvarado were able to accomplish in this fascinating and moving story.
It is well worth the read, and for those lucky enough to be at today's book signing the icing on the cake will be the moment when they look into the eyes of the man who lived through hell and emerged with the strength and determination to have a positive impact on the lives of us all.
The book signing takes place in the Plaza de Mexico at Del Mar Racetrack from noon to 1:30 p.m. today. All proceeds will benefit Winners Foundation.
Plum Pretty works 6 furlongs, targets Apple Blossom - Grade 1 winner Plum Pretty worked 6 furlongs in 1:13.80 at Santa Anita on Saturday morning, Feb. 25, with jockey Martin Garcia aboard. Trainer Bob Baffert, who said he was pleased with the work, is targeting the Grade 1 Apple Blossom Handicap at Oaklawn Park on Apr. 13.
Plum Pretty, a 4-year-old daughter of Medaglia d?Oro out of the A.P. Indy mare Liszy, is owned by Peachtree Stable.
Liaison puts in a bullet work at Santa Anita - Grade 1 CashCall Futurity winner Liaison put in a bullet work Thursday morning at Santa Anita, going in company with stable mate Midnight Crooner for trainer Bob Baffert. Liaison, with jockey Martin Garcia up, was clocked in 1:11.80 for the 6-furlong work, with Midnight Crooner getting 1:12.40 - the fastest two works of 18 at the distance.
Both 3-year-old colts are owned by Arnold Zetcher, who also bred Midnight Crooner, a son of War Chant out of Midnight Kiss (NZ) by Groom Dancer.
Most of you reading this are likely racing fans, or, at the very least, attracted to the sport in some capacity for one reason or another. And what a wonderful sport it is; not without its share of positives and negatives of course, but you?d be hard-pressed to find another quite like it. If you are a racing fan however, or one seeking to get into the industry, you?ve probably also noticed that a majority of your every day acquaintances do not share your passion or even interest for it ? they may in fact, even criticize it ? and information is not readily available, especially the kind needed to pursue a career in horse racing. There are plenty of news sources out there to keep you up-to-date on the day-to-day going-ons in racing but very few resources if you?d like to learn more. It can be extremely frustrating. But thanks to the efforts of a few individuals determined to change that, it?s becoming easier. One such resource is Jockey World.
Founded in the spring of 2011, Jockey World was created by former Eclipse Award winning jockey and creator of the Equicizer, Frank Lovato, Jr. Jockey World is an interactive website that offers a wide variety of information, guidance, helpful tips and videos, as well as entertainment for people of all ages. Frankie and his partner, Fred Clemons, constantly come up with new ideas as they continue to expand Jockey World and have already created a large selection of tools, including an extensive range of forums containing topics ranging from riding to training and other jobs on the backside, to health and nutrition and much more.
One informative and entertaining tool they?ve developed is the weekly Jockey World Radio Show, which airs every Sunday at 4pm Eastern Time and is one of my favorite parts of the week. The guests we?ve had range from former jockey Laffit Pincay, Jr. to singer/songwriter Templeton Thompson. The shows are archived as well, which makes it easy to go back and listen later. There are contests (we just recently finished a 2012 photo calendar contest), short weekly videos, and a Jockey World store which contains some really cool stuff and even more resources created to help you. These are only a few of the things Jockey World offers.
I have to say, personally, watching Jockey World unfold from a brand new site with maybe a half dozen members to what it is today, it simply amazes me how far they?ve taken it in such a short amount of time! There are so many different people on there ? all either in the industry, looking to get in like myself, or just huge fans, and it?s very easy to connect with everyone; and they are all more than willing to tell you about their experiences and offer advice. It?s turned into one big support system, and if you?re having a rough day, there?s always a friend there to help. Many of the people I now talk to the most, I met through Jockey World!
Some of the others tools they have come out with include a program called Jockey World Academy; as you know, there are many aspects to racing, and the Academy?s been a great tool to not only show me specifically what I don?t know yet but then also to help me learn it! Being homeschooled on top of it, I?ve had the benefit of being able to incorporate the Academy work into school credits, which is pretty neat. There is a subscribing option for the site too and I?d recommend any who are serious about wanting to learn more about horse racing to consider it ? whether you?re a fan or someone actively working to get in, or already in, the business. Not only will you have access to a wider selection of forum topics but there are numerous other perks as well, including additional time with the experts and Frankie himself.
I wish I could put into words what Jockey World means to me and how much it has helped me but I haven?t yet figured out how to do so. I don?t think it?s possible really. It?s a community. An incredible one. And I?m so proud to be a small part of it!
So please, take a few minutes, and check out JockeyWorld.net. I look forward to meeting you all very soon!
I am 17-years-old, homeschooled, and working hard to wrap up my schooling to graduate high school. I'm going to be a jockey and over the coming year will be taking the next steps needed as I get closer to making that a reality. I'm excited to see what the year will bring both in that aspect and also as the incredible community on Jockey World continues to grow and get better each day! See Kayla's previous post here.
Horse racing has been popular in this country since the mid 1800?s. The popularity of the sport has been up and down, but horse racing at times has been seen as the most entertaining spectator sport around. Ever since Saratoga Race Course (oldest sporting venue in the country) in New York was erected in 1863, the thrill of watching a horse race has spread from coast to coast. Later in the 19th century, a few more notable horse racing venues, including Churchill Downs and Pimlico Race Course, were built. In the early 1900?s more venues popped up, but until 1934 there were no major horse racing venues west of the Mississippi River.
On Christmas day 1934, Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, CA opened its doors for the first time. This well-known race course has an amazingly beautiful setting and historical importance as well. From the grandstands you can see the picturesque San Gabriel Mountains beyond the track at Santa Anita Park. Along with being the oldest horse racing course in southern California, it has hosted the Breeders? Cup five times (1986, 1993, 2003, 2008, and 2009) and is scheduled to host the event again in November of 2012. This popular track also hosts well attended events every year that include the Santa Anita Derby, the Santa Anita Handicap*, and Sunshine Millions Day. * Famous horse Sea Biscuit ran his last race and won in the 1939 Santa Anita Handicap
The Hollywood Park Racetrack, opened in 1938, is another very popular horse racing venue in California. Hollywood Park facilities include a 1.125 mile synthetic race course as well as a 1 mile and 145 ft. turf oval. The lavish services at Hollywood Park bring the kind of luxury that you would expect at a place that carries such a name. The track is well-known for spectacular dining and busy poker rooms.
Hollywood Park Racetrack hosts many events every year that include Grade 1, Grade 2, Grade 3, and ungraded races. The most popular races at Hollywood Park are the Hollywood Derby, Hollywood Gold Cup, and the American Oaks Invitational.
Much like Santa Anita, Del Mar Racetrack has a gorgeous scene around the venue. The track is located in the Del Mar Fairgrounds and it is parked right up against the Pacific Ocean. Many refer to this beautiful sports venue as the place ?where the surf meets the turf.?
Del Mar Racetrack was built by a few famous investors who included Bing Crosby and Jimmy Durante. Crosby was very much involved with the opening of his new racetrack in 1937, when he personally stood at the gates to greet patrons as they entered the venue. Another important historical note for this track is the fact that it was the location of the very first national broadcast for a horse race. NBC radio covered the head-to-head match-up of Sea Biscuit and Ligaroti on August 12, 1938. The purse for that race was $25,000; and now they host races like the Pacific Classic Stakes with a guaranteed $1,000,000 purse. Other notable races at Del Mar Racetrack are the Del Mar Oaks, Eddie Read Handicap, Bing Crosby Handicap, and the John C. Mabee Stakes.
Side Note: One common link between a few of the California horse racing venues is the voice that covers many of the important races. Trevor Denman is the official voice for the Breeders? Cup and announces for Del Mar Racetrack, Santa Anita Park, and Fairplex (Los Angeles County Fairgrounds). He is most remembered for his call at the 2009 Breeders?s Cup when Zenyatta came from 3 lengths back on the final turn to capture the victory and Denman exclaimed ?This, Is, Unbelievable.?
California is a large state with a lot of people and several notable horse racing venues. Aside from the venues already mentioned, there is also a horse racing group known as CARF (California Authority of Racing Fairs) that holds races throughout the state at different fairgrounds. The tracks involved in this circuit are in located in Stockton, Pleasanton, Sacramento, Santa Rosa, Ferndale, and Fresno.
There is also Golden Gate Fields, which is the one major horse racing track in northern California. The track mainly features Grade 2 and Grade 3 racing on their one-mile synthetic track or the 9/10 mile turf course. This venue is owned by MID, who also owns Santa Anita Park, and is located in a spot that actually straddles both Albany and Berkley. The most notable race at this track is the California Derby, which has been held since 1873 and is a first test for horses eyeing the Triple Crown.
The last venue worth mentioning is the Los Alamitos Race Course. It is located in Cypress and hosts both quarter horse and thoroughbred racing. Los Alamitos is the only track in the U.S. to hold four quarter horse races that have a purse over $1,000,000. Along with having the richest non-Breeders? Cup 2-year-old race (2008 Los Alamitos 2 Million), the track also annually holds the richest 3-year-old quarter race (Los Alamitos Super Derby).
It?s incredible when you look at all the wonderful opportunities that horse racing offers in California. Much of the culture in the areas where these venues are located fits well for the prosperity of the tracks. The future of horse racing in California appears to be bright as the Breeders? Cup returns to Santa Anita Park in 2012. The great weather in California makes their prestigious tracks a great choice for the Breeders? Cup. The Triple Crown races are clearly not moving their location, but landing a bid for the rotating Breeders? Cup is something that residents of California should appreciate and continue to see more of.
About the Author: Craig Kibler is the lead blogger for Sports Traveler, a leading sports tourism site specializing in providing horse racing tickets and trip packages. He regularly writes about a variety of sports and travel topics.
What is that special bond that little girls seem to have with horses? It starts with toy horses, often leading to dreams of riding and having a horse of one's own. Here is a group of horse-crazy girls out at Santa Anita on a beautiful day last weekend.
Claudia, Consuelo, Jeaneth, Sarahi, and Angelica posed for a photo with John Henry in the Paddock Gardens. The girls had come from as far as San Bernardino with their families to enjoy the New Year's Day holiday racing and get a close-up look at the beautiful horses!
Trainer Bob Baffert indicated Game On Dude could make his 2012 debut in the Grade 2 San Antonio Stakes at Santa Anita on Feb. 5.
Genius works 7 furlongs at Santa Anita - Genius worked 7 furlongs in company on Saturday morning, 12/31/11 for trainer Bob Baffert. With jockey Martin Garcia aboard, Genius was clocked in 1:25.80.
The three-year-old son of Smart Strike out of the Dixieland Band mare Southern Swing is owned by Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor, and Derrick Smith.
Baffert said he is pointing Genius to the San Fernando for 4-year-olds around two turns, on Feb. 14 at Santa Anita.
Santa Anita Opening Day sights and sounds - For those of you unable to be at the Great Race Place for opening day on the day after Christmas, here's a little taste of the sights and sounds you missed. It was a positively intoxicating day at the track!
Merry Christmas from Santa Anita! - It's the day before Christmas, and Santa is getting in shape for his round-the-world sleigh trip with a little bit of exercise working horses at the track! Merry Christmas everybody, and thanks for following my blog this year.
Game On Dude works a bullet on Christmas Eve - Santa Anita Handicap winner and Breeders? Cup Classic runner-up Game On Dude worked for trainer Bob Baffert on Christmas Eve morning on Santa Anita?s fast main track, going 5 furlongs in :58 flat, the fastest of 121 works at the distance. Jockey Martin Garcia was aboard for the work.
Game On Dude races for owners Bernie Schiappa, Diamond Pride LLC, Lanni Family Trust, and Mercedes Stable LLC.
Secret Circle works in company, may target Sham Stakes - Breeders? Cup Juvenile Sprint winner Secret Circle worked in company with Candrea this morning at Santa Anita for trainer Bob Baffert. With jockey Martin Garcia aboard, Secret Circle went 6 furlongs in 1:11.60 ? the fastest of 12 works at the distance.
Secret Circle worked without blinkers this morning, a change from last week?s breeze, as Baffert works on getting the speedy colt to relax a bit.
?I think maybe with that work I am starting to think a little bit more in terms of running him long,? said Baffert. ?Maybe running him a mile in the Sham coming up.? The Grade 3 Sham Stakes on Jan. 7 at Santa Anita is at one mile on the dirt.
Secret Circle, a 2-year-old son of Eddington out of the Dixieland Band mare Ragtime Hope, races for owner Mike Pegram.
May Day Rose preps for La Brea with bullet work - Multiple graded stakes winner May Day Rose put in a nice work for trainer Bob Baffert this morning at Santa Anita in preparation for the $300,000 La Brea Stakes on Dec. 31. With Martin Garcia up, May Day Rose went six furlongs in 1:11.4 ? the fastest of eight works at the distance.
Winner of the Grade 3 Santa Ysabel Stakes at Santa Anita and Grade 3 Railbird Stakes at Hollywood Park this year, May Day Rose exits a runner-up finish in the Grade 2 Chilukki Stakes at Churchill Downs on Nov. 5. The 3-year-old Rockport Harbor filly, owned by Kaleem Shah, is seeking her first Grade 1 victory in the La Brea.
?I?m very happy with the way she is coming into the race,? said Baffert. ?When she works that well, she really runs a big race.?