Horse racing – the “sport of kings” – has been a cherished theme in cinema. The intensity, suspense, and thrill of this sport have been vividly captured in numerous films. Here are the top 8 horse racing movies that every racing enthusiast should watch:
Seabiscuit horse racing movie
- “Seabiscuit” (2003)
Based on a true story, “Seabiscuit” chronicles the life of an undersized Depression-era racehorse whose victories lifted not only the spirits of the team behind it but also those of their nation. This film isn’t just about horse racing, it’s about beating the odds and finding hope in the most challenging times. The performances of Tobey Maguire, Jeff Bridges, and Chris Cooper, who portray the jockey, owner, and trainer respectively, bring this remarkable story to life.
- “Secretariat” (2010)
“Secretariat” offers a fascinating glimpse into the life of Penny Chenery, a housewife turned champion racehorse owner. The film delves into Chenery’s undeterred resolve to guide her horse to secure the 1973 Triple Crown, defying the gender biases of the time. The bond between Chenery, played by Diane Lane, and Secretariat forms the heart of this compelling tale.
Apple TV $3.99Watch
Google Play $3.99Watch
- “Phar Lap” (1983)
This Australian film brings to the screen the tale of Phar Lap, a New Zealand-bred racehorse who became a national sensation in Australia during the Great Depression. The movie captures the highs and lows of Phar Lap’s career and the mystery surrounding his untimely demise. The story underlines the immense odds that this champion racehorse overcame, making it an emotional journey.
- “The Black Stallion” (1979)
Adapted from the classic novel by Walter Farley, “The Black Stallion” is a cinematic gem. When a boy named Alec is shipwrecked alongside a wild Arabian stallion, they form an unshakeable bond. Eventually, Alec, with the help of a retired trainer, prepares the horse, which he names ‘The Black’, for the racecourse. This movie beautifully illustrates the enduring friendship between a boy and his horse.
- “Let It Ride” (1989)
Adding a dash of humor to the list, “Let It Ride” tells the story of Jay Trotter, a cab driver and habitual gambler, who is having the best betting day of his life. The film, starring Richard Dreyfuss, is a light-hearted comedy that showcases the infectious excitement that racing and betting can bring.
Based on the inspirational true story of the horse, Mine That Bird, who took the 2009 Kentucky Derby by storm, “50 to 1” is an engaging tale that captures the excitement and unpredictability of the racing world. This David vs. Goliath narrative follows a misfit group from New Mexico, including a cowboy trainer and his small-time owners, as they find themselves on the journey of a lifetime with their underdog horse. Despite the 50-1 odds stacked against them, they make a run for the coveted title, highlighting the true unpredictability of horse racing and the potential for miracles in every race.
- “Dreamer: Inspired by a True Story” (2005)
“Dreamer” follows the story of a young girl named Cale Crane and her father, a horse trainer, as they nurse an injured racehorse, Soñador, back to health. With dreams and aspirations riding on Soñador, the film, starring Dakota Fanning and Kurt Russell, showcases a heartwarming narrative of revival and hope against all odds.
- “Ruffian” (2007)
“Ruffian” is a made-for-TV movie that focuses on the life and career of the U.S. Racing Hall of Fame Filly, Ruffian, who was considered one of the greatest female racehorses in history. The film, while highlighting Ruffian’s prowess on the track, also explores the horse’s tragic end, making it an emotional viewing experience for horse racing fans.
These films provide a window into the world of horse racing, capturing the adrenaline-rush of the sport, the intricate relationships between jockeys, trainers, owners, and their horses, and the triumphant and sometimes tragic narratives inherent in the sport. They make for a must-watch list for any horse racing aficionado or casual viewer.