The topics of discussion among the Thoroughbred trainers at Santa Anita are not always serious. Sometimes a break is needed from talk about the condition of the track, the availability of races to fit their horses, or the latest horse injury. Today broke cool and foggy, distinctly different from yesterday's clear, warm morning. And as several of Santa Anita's finest trainers huddled around their coffee cups, talk turned to their favorite horseracing movies.
Mel Stute insisted that Boots Malone was the best racing movie. Barry Abrams replied that Let it Ride was even better. As others chimed in, I made a quick list, which I offer for your consideration. If you have others, please leave a comment to add it to the list. Happy movie watching!
Boots Malone (1952)
Starring William Holden, Henry Morgan.
Boots Malone is jockey's agent and a wheeler-dealer who went from living at the Ritz to living in a room at the stables when his star jockey was killed in an accident. After almost 3 years, he hasn't found a replacement for him. Then he manages to buy a horse that's a bit of a sleeper and decides to train an eager young man, who turns out to be a runaway from a rich family, as a jockey. When gangsters urge Boots to throw the race, he faces a major dilemma.
Wall of Noise (1963)
Starring Ty Hardin, Suzanne Pleshette.
This movie has sex, gambling, big wins and losses, and exciting racing scenes, plus a cameo appearance by legendary sportswriter Jim Murray.
Casey's Shadow (1978)
Starring Walter Matthau.
Casey is a young boy in a family that trains racehorses. His best friend, a foal named Casey's Shadow, looks to be a loser, but turns out to be a champion.
Let it Ride (1989)
Starring Richard Dreyfuss, Teri Garr.
An average kind of guy with a slight gambling problem goes to the track and, mystically, it seems as though he can't lose, no matter how he bets. Naturally, he has an incredible day.
Sporting Blood (1931)
Starring Clark Gable.
Story of a horse who passes through various owners before racing to victory in the Kentucky Derby.
Down the Stretch (1936)
Starring Mickey Rooney.
A boy is adopted by a family that breeds horses. After becoming a jockey, he rides his horse to victory in the English Derby.
National Velvet (1944)
Mickey Rooney and An 11 year old Elizabeth Taylor head the cast as a jaded former jockey and a young girl who together prepare a wild but gifted horse for the world's finest Steeplechase. Grand national betting
And, of course, my favorite...
A Day at the Races (1937)
Starring the Marx Brothers.
A typical Marx Bros. musical comedy, but with a racetrack setting.