At Churchill Downs in 2009, jockey Calvin Borel pointed his famous-in-Canada gelding at gap near the rail. Mine That Bird dove for it, knifing between the rail and a pack of favorites to win the Kentucky Derby at 50 – 1.
Their story will be seen in the movie “50 to 1,” scheduled for a spring release. (2014, if you find this post later.) Perhaps it will come to a theater near you?
Like Mine That Bird himself (a Birdstone colt out of a Smart Strike mare), this indie film has a great pedigree. I’ll list the cast and crew members who have connections I can find with horses.
Producer/Director/Writer Jim Wilson did a bunch of movies with Kevin Costner like “The Bodyguard” and “Dances With Wolves,” for which they won a passel of Oscars. Wilson also has owned racehorses since 1992. Mostly claimers, according to this post on America’s Best Racing, and they’ve won some allowance races, but nothing like the Derby.
Skeet Ulrich (“Law & Order: LA;” “Into the West;” “Ride with the Devil;” “Jericho” ) stars as Mine That Bird trainer Chip Woolley, famous for his crutches, mustache and black cowboy hat.
Christian Kane (“Leverage;” “Into the West”) plays horse owner Mark Allen.
Madelyn Deutch (“Major Cupcake;” “Like a Country Song;” “Christmas Twister”) gets some saddle time as an exercise rider. (The website cites her equestrian skills. You know we horse girls want details, publicity team.)
William Devane (“The Dark Knight Rises;” “Payback,” “Knots Landing”) plays Mine That Bird’s co-owner Leonard “Doc” Blach, an equine vet. Devane owns an equestrian development outside Palm Springs with a racetrack and polo fields. Here are photos of his Deer Creek Ranch.
Sunday Rest plays Mine That Bird. He ran four races at Arizona’s Turf Paradise Race Course and was in training for the chuckwagon race at the Calgary Stampede when horse trainer Bill Lawrence plucked him out of the harness and into the spotlight.
Calvin Borel. Yes. If you saw the video that leads off this blog post – and if you can’t, click on the link for the 50 to 1 official trailer – you know it’s him. The three-time Kentucky Derby winner and Hall of Fame jockey is portraying himself. Honestly, who else could play Calvin?
(BTW, if I missed someone connected to 50 to 1 with some real-life equestrian connections, please let me know in the comments.)
David and Goliath story
New Mexico cowboys vs the Ralph Laurened gentry. A trainer on crutches driving his Kentucky Derby contender across country in a pickup truck and horse trailer. Jack Daniels vs mint juleps in silver cups.
The Secretariat movie took a more reverential tone. “50 t0 1″ will show the raucous, hardscrabble roots of Mine That Bird’s Derby connections. Less “Thou Shalt Fly Without Wings” and more “Caddyshack.”
Where can we see it?
Granted, as I write this at the end of February, the 50 to 1 website lists only a handful of showings, but don’t let that scare you. 50 to 1′s Facebook page is updated more frequently than the website.
For example, as of this writing, a slew of 50 to 1 showings in Texas has just been added to the website, but you can’t find the page directly from the site’s homepage. The only reason why I found it was because I went to 50 to 1′s Facebook page.
The America’s Best Racing article tells us showings of this independent film will move east, just like Mine That Bird’s trailer ride to Churchill Downs.
Just come farther east than Churchill, will ya? We on the East Coast like movies horses, fun and cowboys, too.
More Mine That Bird
A little imagining what went on in the TV truck when the 50 – 1 horse shot under the wire
Steve Haskin’s article in The Blood Horse about the Mine That Bird story