This probably sounds silly but I really don't like horse movies. Often they are trite and just badly written and staged or they are saccharine and still badly written and staged. Either way they don't seem to be about "real" horse people.
I do believe, however, that on the horizon is a horse movie that is the exception that proves me wrong. It is called "50 to 1" and it is about a horse named Mine That Bird and the cowboys that brought him east out of New Mexico to win the Kentucky Derby. To give credit where it is due I read about this undertaking in the April 2014 copy of Cowboys and Indians, which is one of the slickest glossy magazines to tell the happenings of the new west while still tipping its cowboy hat to the old west.
Cowboys and Indians is lavishly illustrated with frequently stunning pictures and it embraces all of the west including its art and its artists. For someone like me who respects the west, loves horses and cattle and admires its art this magazine is a veritable treasure trove of information.
And now Cowboys and Indians announces that this new film about "The cowboys who won the Kentucky Derby" is going to actually happen. By the way, this film has a happy ending because Mine That Bird, a gelding, is retired and is in a good place, too.
Some of you are thinking, "Gee, I remember that horse because of his funny name but what was it about him except that he won the Derby and then just sort of disappeared?"
I'll give you a hint. Remember the trainer who showed up at Churchill Downs with a Derby entry in a dusty truck and trailer, a man who had driven all way east alone with his leg in a cast? The sports writers down there in Kentucky fell all over themselves about that one.
Do you also remember that this horse spent most of his Derby race at the back of the pack - the announcer's exact quote was, "So down the back stretch run, all you'll find well behind the rest of them is Mine That Bird." - and actually made his winning drive from something like 14 lengths back? How about if I tell you that this rather ordinary looking Thoroughbred gelding was piloted by Calvin Borel?
If you still can't remember the race, the horse or the people check it out on You Tube and you will definitely want to see the movie about the complete underdog Derby winner with his cadre of blue collar believers.
The man who watched the race and realized there was a story that needed telling is Jim Wilson and he produced a little movie called "Dances With Wolves" that you will remember if you are over 12 years old and have been a watcher of either movies or television.
And now for the rest of the story - so far. Jim Wilson created the movie that he wanted to create pretty much on his own by getting his own backers instead of by going with a major studio. What that means is that he is releasing that movie on his own hook as well. Instead of maybe $30 million for advertising costs he is having to deal with that on the same type of budget that he made his movie with.
"50 to 1" is being released March 21 in New Mexico where all of this started. After that Jim Wilson plans on taking his film on the road. He says, "We're going to be in a bus and take a tour."
They are planning to criss-cross America and depending on who is available some of the actors will be there. Even Mine That Bird will make some appearances. They are planning on being in Louisville for the Derby. As I recall, right after that it is Pimlico for the Preakness and I believe that Mine That Bird should be invited here to Maryland for the Preakness along with his movie and his crew of blue collar believers.
There are lots of blue-collar horse people in Maryland and we have never needed to believe in a dream more than we do right now. This is the time for a movie about people who hung in there and won through and we are the people who will want to see it and realize that sometimes dreams do indeed come true if you work hard enough at it.
I know that I can't do this by myself but I can sure ask anyone who reads this and has connections to pick up that torch and get to work on this. And that's just what I am doing right here, right now.