Against All Odds
The made-in-NM film 50 to 1 honors Mine That Bird, an unlikely Kentucky Derby winner trained in Roswell. This month, the KiMo Theatre hosts the world premiere.
On May 9, 2009, at Churchill Downs, in Louisville, Kentucky, a feisty Canadian gelding with outturned legs named Mine That Bird came from 30 lengths behind to nail the second-biggest upset in Kentucky Derby history. At 50-to-1 odds, Mine That Bird crossed the finish line nearly seven lengths ahead of 18 other horses, stunning a crowd of more than 150,000 spectators and an international television audience.
It’s no wonder Mine That Bird’s monumental Run for the Roses caught the eye of veteran filmmaker Jim Wilson (producer of the blockbuster hits Dances with Wolves and The Bodyguard), a longtime racehorse owner who for years had been looking for a horse story worthy of a film adaptation. “I was absolutely blown away by the victory,” Wilson says, “and I knew I had to find out more about the horse and the people behind him. Were they real characters with an interesting background? Was there more to this than an unexpected win? I’m a guy who likes underdog stories; I had to find out more.”
That meant traveling to other horse races around the country and to New Mexico, where Mine That Bird owners Mark Allen (played by Christian Kane) and Leonard “Doc” Blach (played by William Devane) had trained the horse on their ranches in Roswell just before the 2009 Derby. “That horse had a prior race history with owners in different places before landing in Roswell,” Wilson says, “but the heart of this film, 50 to 1, is steeped in New Mexico ranching and horse-racing life.”
When Wilson traveled to New Mexico and met trainer Chip Woolley (played by Skeet Ulrich), who conditioned Mine That Bird for the Derby, he found a nononsense, hands-on trainer with a big heart who took great care of his horses. “Here’s a cowboy who, while he was recovering from a motorcycle accident and nursing a broken leg, drove this horse all the way from Roswell to Louisville, Kentucky, for the Derby. Chip, Mark, and Doc? They’re all tough cusses, but that’s what constitutes the spirit of this film: going for broke when it seems like an impossible dream.”
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I know I haven’t done much for the site lately and I’m really sorry. I’ve been spending a lot of time at work
I finally came around to edit the clips of Christian’s appearance in ‘Secondhand Lions’. Enjoy!