The Film “50 to 1”

During Christmas week, my family catches up on movies we haven’t seen. I have a recommendation for you. “50 to 1”. The film was released in a few theatres in 2014, then in April 2015 on DVD and Digital HD from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. You can also find it On Demand. “50 to 1” is based on the true story of one of the biggest upsets in Kentucky Derby history. Although reviews of the movie weren’t positive –- some called it a cliché underdog sports drama — the film provides a few goose bump moments for us horse lovers. The movie follows the team of underdog cowboys who faced big challenges and racing’s elite before seeing their horse — Mine That Bird — pass 18 horses in 20 seconds to win the 2009 Kentucky Derby. There are several things I like about the film. Trainer Chip Woolley, played by Skeet Ulrich, reflects on dreams and taking chances, saying what can be hard to do can also be meaningful. I agree. The excitement of horse racing is the possibility that anyone could make it with a good horse. That’s the story of Mine That Bird and of 2014 Kentucky Derby winner California Chrome. The movie also focuses on the intimate relationship between trainer and horse. This is something I would like to think exists between all racehorses and their trainers. Hall of Fame jockey Calvin Borel, who rode Mine That Bird to victory, plays himself in the film. Pioneerof the Nile, American Pharoah’s sire, ran second to Mine That Bird in the 2009 Derby. Quality Road, a Virginia-bred, scratched from the 2009 Derby. It was the closest a Virginia-bred horse has come to running in the Derby in recent years. I was surprised that Pioneerof the Nile trainer Bob Baffert was portrayed in a poor light in the film. “The movie does no favors to the real-life Baffert,” wrote Frank Angst in Blood Horse. I hope this was more movie making than truth, and that when I make it to the Derby with my special horse, the reception is more positive than what the movie portrays. In full disclosure for those with kids, the movie does show a lot of partying and drinking. It’s rated PG-13 for these reasons. After the movie, watch the YouTube video of the real 2009 Derby. I bet you’ll get another set of goose bumps. I did. As you reflect on your New Year’s resolutions for 2016, I encourage you to follow your dreams and take some chances. You never know what the future has in store for you! I hope you had a Merry Christmas. Wishing you and yours a blessed New Year! Kim Campbell

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