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Glimmerglass
Jan. 12, 2006, 02:56 PM
Making a dramatization on this horse somewhat rubs me the wrong way as I doubt they will be able to capture the essence of her.

Blood-Horse 1/12/06 (http://news.bloodhorse.com/viewstory.asp?id=31694)


Ruffian Film Slated for ABC/ESPN
by Lenny Shulman
1/12/2006

ESPN Original Entertainment (EOE) announced it will produce an original film, "Ruffian," based on the story of the great filly who was undefeated until suffering a fatal breakdown in a match race against Foolish Pleasure at Belmont Park in 1975.

The film is scheduled to premiere on the ABC Network in conjunction with ABC's presentation of the 108th running of the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) in June 2007. The movie will subsequently be aired on ESPN. Principal photography on "Ruffian" is slated to commence in February 2006.

"Ruffian's story is one of the most poignant of her time," said John Skipper, ESPN executive vice president, content. "This project will continue our strategy to make content available to consumers across multiple platforms and serve fans with superior programming."

ABC and ESPN are both owned by Disney. Producer/writers on the project are Jim Burnstein and Garrett K. Schiff. Orly Adelson will serve as executive producer.

Ruffian won her first 10 races, five of them grade I stakes, in 1974 and 1975, and is considered by most one of the greatest fillies of all time. She was owned by Locust Hill Farm, racing as a homebred for her breeders, Mr. and Mrs. Stuart S. Janney Jr. She was trained by Frank Whiteley.

ESPN has already gone down this path before with a respected look back/documentary aired on ESPN Classic back in 2000 (http://espn.go.com/horse/s/2000/0629/610063.html)

TKR
Jan. 12, 2006, 03:27 PM
I certainly don't have the stomach for a movie about Ruffian knowing the horrifying end result. It's hard enough watching old footage of her without crying. I saw the race and that was enough for me.
PennyG

missgrey
Jan. 12, 2006, 04:11 PM
I don't know how I feel about this. http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/sigh.gif

Andrew
Jan. 12, 2006, 04:24 PM
Well.... let's look at it this way....

We all knew what the outcome of Titantic was and they did a great job with the movie.... so let's keep our fingers crossed that they will do the same with Ruffian!

JER
Jan. 12, 2006, 04:42 PM
Good luck finding a fleet of Ruffian lookalikes. They'll need at least three. Perhaps they'll actually look like TBs.

lizathenag
Jan. 12, 2006, 05:21 PM
I wonder if they will use geldings!

FlightCheck
Jan. 12, 2006, 05:25 PM
Having watched the original race on tv (yes, I AM that old), I don't think I could stand to watch a movie.

I cried for weeks...drove my parents/siblings CRAZY.

Louise
Jan. 12, 2006, 06:00 PM
I'm with you, Flight Check. After seeing that race, I didn't watch or follow TB racing for over 20 years. I couldn't bear to watch a movie, knowing how it will end.

Kim
Jan. 13, 2006, 07:38 AM
I'm with Louise and Flight Check. While I never saw footage of Ruffian's last race (and would be unable to watch it), I am still haunted by the image of Timely Writer breaking down on live TV. http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/cry.gif

Twilight
Jan. 13, 2006, 10:04 AM
That was horrible. I saw it and don't want to see it again. Same with Go For Wand.

I can't even watch Seabiscuit without crying!

Glimmerglass
Jan. 13, 2006, 10:17 AM
Just a bit more regarding the show:


The movie will first air on ABC in June 2007, and it is still being discussed as to whether it will air in prime time or on Saturday afternoon preceding the telecast of the Belmont Stakes.

Ron Semiao, senior vp, EOE, will be working with ABC Entertainment president Steve McPherson to determine when to best launch the movie. After airing on ABC, it will then run on ESPN, and will also be available on the Internet via ESPN360, on cable outlets via ESPN video-on-demand, and selected content from the movie will be made available on ESPN.com, ESPN Motion, and Mobile ESPN.

The movie's executive producer will be Orly Adelson, who also produced the recent EOE movie CodeBreakers, and the controversial ESPN series from two years ago, Playmakers.

-- MediaWeek network tv/syndication news 1/12/06 (http://www.mediaweek.com/mw/news/networktv/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1001843064)

FourWands
Jan. 13, 2006, 12:20 PM
Okay, I might get flamed for this... but...
I actually would like to see footage of the race. I'm sure it's unpleasant but I would like to see it. As far as I know, it's impossible to get footage though - is that correct?

Kim
Jan. 13, 2006, 12:22 PM
I can't even watch Black Beauty without bawling!!

Huntertwo
Jan. 13, 2006, 12:43 PM
Originally posted by Kim:
I can't even watch Black Beauty without bawling!!

You and me both! Especially at the end when Joe finds him at the auction.. http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/cry.gif

Like Seabiscuit, Ruffian is probably the kind of movie to see on the big screen.

I still remember watching that race and seeing her breakdown, horrible. She was gorgeous to boot.

Glimmerglass
Jan. 13, 2006, 01:05 PM
Originally posted by FourWands:
As far as I know, it's impossible to get footage though - is that correct?

My understanding is otherwise - case in point (http://www.secondrunning.com/SteveWilliamsVideos.htm):

"..best of all I have another Video/DVD that has all 10 of her career races. It shows each race from start to finish with the original track anouncer calling the race. Dave Johnson was the announcer for most of her races."

I have no interest in actually watching the match race [I was only 4] let alone the breakdown http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_frown.gif

BeastieSlave
Jan. 13, 2006, 01:28 PM
I have mixed feelings about this. I saw her final race as a kid and it haunted me for a long time.

I'm sure it will be sad to revisit.... I loved the movies about Sea Biscuit and Phar Lap, but they took place long before my time. I remember Ruffian. I rooted for her. I cried for her.

Kim
Jan. 13, 2006, 01:36 PM
I have mixed feelings about this.

I agree. I think it will be particularly difficult to watch this film, knowing what the final outcome will be. http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/cry.gif

Ishi
Jan. 13, 2006, 02:17 PM
I saw the actual footage not too long ago on HBO, I think it was on Costas Now and they talked about all sorts of things, then showed the race. I was floored, I kept thinking they won't actually show her with her leg flopping around, but I forgot, it was HBO and there it was. The whole thing. I cried, I wanted to puke, she kept trying to run, kept trying to go. It was horrible to watch, that's all I can think of to say about it. Just horrific.

Red Hunter
Jan. 13, 2006, 02:34 PM
I am glad to see that they will be doing a movie about Ruffian. She was my favorite racehorse of all time, next to Native Dancer. She was absolutely beautiful. I watched everyone one of her races. I cried for days after that fatefull race. I prayed for her to make a complete recovery, and when they finally had to put her down, it broke my heart.

I hope the movie does her justice. She had a heart of gold.

foundationmare
Jan. 13, 2006, 04:17 PM
All I can say is that they're treading some verrrrrrry thin ice here. Without showing actual footage - which would be heartrending - of the match race, I don't think the profundity of the moment can be captured tastefully. Sort of like Secretariat wiinning the Belmont: it can't possibly be fictionalized and retain it's power. I hope they are incredibly respectful and tasteful, but I have my doubt that those words mix well with "commercially successful".

ASB Stars
Jan. 13, 2006, 05:55 PM
You know how you never actually SEE Seabicuit win in the movie, for the final time. They'd sure need to do that for me to watch this.

I saw it the first time, and I am scarred for life. Then, I went to a talk given by William O. Reed, about the surgery, amongst others he had done. http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/no.gif

Some stories do not need to be retold.

Ok, now, how about a JAY TRUMP movie !!! http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/winkgrin.gif

WindyIsle
Jan. 13, 2006, 06:07 PM
I'm with the mixed-group of feelings - Part of me wants to see it the other part doesn't because they will never be able to capture the essence that is Ruffian.

She was before I was born and I've seen tapes of her races - not the one where she broke down - but in a way I kind of don't want to see it - I want to keep my memory of her as she was prior to breaking down - fast and strong with a heart of gold.

Glimmerglass
Jan. 21, 2006, 08:10 AM
Sat, Jan. 21, 2006
Ruffian film gets go-ahead

ESPN EXEC SAYS FAMED FILLY'S BREAKDOWN JUST PART OF STORY

By Alicia Wincze, Lexington Herald-Leader (http://www.kentucky.com/mld/kentucky/sports/other_sports/13677812.htm)

Ask Mike Bell to pick a favorite moment from his time spent with Ruffian and one might as well be asking a parent to chose among their children.

Even 31 years later, the memories Bell has of the champion filly are as vivid as they are voluminous and remain some of his most prized possessions.

Which is why if they're going to be shown to the whole world, Bell hopes it's done to his liking.

Last week, ESPN Original Entertainment announced it has given the go-ahead to start production of its original movie Ruffian, based on the incredible and ultimately tragic story of the filly widely considered to be the greatest female thoroughbred racehorse of all time.

In contrast to the rags-to-riches, box-office friendly story of Seabiscuit, Ruffian's tale presents ESPN with the challenge of not only detailing her remarkable career, but handling the emotionally charged issue of her death, which came about as a result of an injury sustained during her famed 1975 match race with Foolish Pleasure.

"I'm all for the movie being done if it's done the way it happened," said Bell, who was an assistant to Ruffian's trainer Frank Whiteley. "The book (Ruffian: Burning From the Start) by Jane Schwartz was as close to anything you can get that ever happened and if they deviate from that at all, which I'm afraid they might, then it won't be right.

"If they portray the whole story, the way it brought all the people together ... it might balance a little bit of the ending. But to just make a movie for movie's sake wouldn't do the filly justice."

Instead of being scared off by the sensitive nature of Ruffian's death, Ron Semiao, senior vice president over ESPN Original Entertainment, said the passion the legendary filly evoked in fans and the relationships she helped develop between those around her made the project all the more enticing to the network.

"Good movies tend to take viewers on an emotional journey and Ruffian's story seems to have all the arcs that make a story compelling," Semiao said. "(Her breakdown) is something that happened and it would be disingenuous to viewers to ignore it. But that's a small part of her entire story. I think what we want people to take away is the recognition of how terrific a horse she was and how unfortunate what happened to her was."

The movie is set to begin shooting in Shreveport, La., in late February and is slated to premiere on ABC in conjunction with the network's presentation of the Belmont Stakes in June 2007.

While D.G. Van Clief Jr., commissioner of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, acknowledged that potential fans may be put off by Ruffian's breakdown, he remains confident the NTRA will work with ESPN to present the film in the best possible manner.

"Of course there is always concern. You think about accidents on the track; they do not paint a pretty picture," Van Clief said. "But we welcome any high-quality production about horse racing and we would trust they are going to handle this with the utmost sensitivity."

TBLover
Jan. 23, 2006, 07:18 PM
I loved Ruffian. I love thoroughbreds. I would definitely be part of the target audience for such a film. But ... I have absolutely no interest in reliving such a heart-wrenching moment. Maybe I would TIVO it and just not watch the end, but even so, knowing it was coming. Just not sure I could take watching it.

KateB
Jan. 23, 2006, 10:30 PM
I have a tape of some of her races - including the last one. I watched it once and it was just about the most intensly horrible thing I've ever watched. You just keep wishing she'd stop - but she doesn't. The shot of her breakdown was a head on shot and its way too graphic and painful for me to ever want to see it again. I literally felt sick afterwards.
Trust me; you don't want to see it.

Glimmerglass
Mar. 5, 2006, 04:41 PM
The folks over at equidaily spied this update from VNU emedia (http://smallscreen.monstersandcritics.com/article_1134442.php/Sam_Shepard_and_Frank_Whaley_cast_in_the_ESPN_orig inal_telefilm_Ruffian):


Sam Shepard and Frank Whaley cast in the ESPN original telefilm 'Ruffian'
By Paul J. Gough Mar 3, 2006,

NEW YORK _ Sam Shepard and Frank Whaley have been cast in the ESPN original telefilm 'Ruffian.'

The horse racing drama is set to premiere in June 2007 on ABC in conjunction with ABC`s coverage of the Belmont Stakes, after which it will air on ESPN and other Walt Disney Co.-owned outlets.

Shepard plays trainer Franky Whiteley. Whaley will play sportswriter Bill Nack.

Production on the project is expected to begin March 20 in Shreveport, La.

Actor Frank Whaley (originally from Syracuse, NY and went to SUNY Albany) is perhaps most memorable for being in The Freshman with Mathew Broderick and Oliver Stone's flix The Doors.

MsM
Mar. 5, 2006, 07:04 PM
Another with very mixed feelings.
One of my first journeys to a TB racetrack was a busride to see Ruffian in what turned out to be the last race she finished.
She was beautiful! She was a big but yet delicate filly. She had a huge heartgirth that made her legs look exceptionally slender. Even then there was speculation that she wasnt quite up to par. She won but didnt annhialate the competition. Still others maintained that she was being saved for the match race. I didnt cash my win ticket - still have it. A couple of races before hers, a horse broke a hindleg in the homestretch. The jockey (who was also Ruffian's) hopped off and left it. It floundered horribly until his connections got there. Then the screen went up.
That experience, combined with others, including watching Ruffian's final race on TV cast a pall over my enjoyment of TB racing. I still watch to see that all made it across safely before celebrating a horse's win...

Lora
Mar. 6, 2006, 02:08 PM
This is the first time that I heard that Ruffian's jockey was on a horse earlier in the day that broke down (the same day that Ruffian broke down). Wonder why he didn't try to stop the horse? Like he did Ruffian.

Glimmerglass
Mar. 6, 2006, 03:14 PM
Ruffian's jockey was Panamanian born Jacinto Vasquez, who ironically was also Foolish Pleasure's jockey when they won the 1975 Kentucky Derby. He also rode Genuine Risk to her 1980 Kentucky Derby victory.

Not that it is related to Ruffian at all, but its worth mentioning he was no choir boy as he was suspended for a year due to his role in fixing races: NY Times May 15, 1982 (http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9405E6D61538F936A25756C0A9649482 60).

MsM
Mar. 6, 2006, 04:54 PM
Clarification: The jockey was on a horse that broke down the same day as Ruffians last race before the match race- the last one she won http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/cry.gif.

Mao
Mar. 6, 2006, 06:52 PM
Anyone remember Foolish Pleasure's trainer, Leroy Jolley? He was a Bob Newhart look-a-like. I was a member of the small minority hoping Foolish Pleasure would win the match race. Of course, I was 12 years old at the time. http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_rolleyes.gif

That said, there was nothing sweet about that so-called victory. It was horrifying. The image of Ruffian's leg, snapped in two, and still, she kept running...

I only wish, in hindsight, they'd put her down on the spot - the only sane decision - instead of putting her through the surgery/recovery when the odds were so against her.

Regarding the movie, I think Ruffian should be remembered for the one-of-a-kind racehorse she was. If you love horse-racing, you should watch the movie, or read the book, or watch the video, however upsetting. It's the other side of Seabiscuit. No matter how disturbing her death - she was one of the Great Ones. She did what she was bred to do - run no matter what...

Glimmerglass
Mar. 23, 2006, 11:16 AM
KSLA News 12 Mar 22, 2006 "Casting Call for New Movies" (http://www.ksla.com/Global/story.asp?S=4669151)


SHREVEPORT,LA
Casting Call for New Movies

Coulon Casting is placing extras for three separate movies right now.

Casting Coordinator Ryan Glorioso says the ESPN movie "Ruffian" will begin shooting, and needs a lot of extras. The movie is about a thouroughbred filly that dominated horse racing in the 1970's, and horse racing scenes need people. It was supposed to shoot last week, but it got rained out. Glorioso says, "we had to do a lot of switching around for people we had booked already, but everything is really moving along.and tha one has a great number of extras because of huge crowd scenes at the racetrack".

The company is also casting for another movie named "Mr. Brooks". Those interested in extra roles can visit Coulon Casting at 5220 Hollywood Avenue in Shreveport, or go to www.couloncasting.com for more information.

BBowen
Mar. 23, 2006, 11:26 AM
What a fabulous filly she was!!!! I was watching the race and like everyone else, was horrified. Thinking about her still brings tears to my eyes. Not sure if I could watch the movie.

Regal Grace
Mar. 23, 2006, 12:54 PM
Tough call. I cannot think of many movies about a fantastic real life TB mare such as Ruffian. It's a way of paying tribute to her memory but at the same time it may not put Horse Racing in a good light.

I watched the race on TV live and I was horrified when she broke down. I never went to another Breakfast at Belmont with my family or to Aqueduct near my Grandmothers house or any other racetrack until I stopped at Keenland while I was attending Rolex in 2004.

To this day I still have my poster of her that was issued before her untimely passing. She is one of the reasons that own a OTTB mare today.

Glimmerglass
Apr. 18, 2006, 05:35 PM
April 17, 1972 - Champion filly Ruffian was foaled at Claiborne Farm, Paris, KY

On a related note, in addition to Emily's news that the Ruffian crew is at Belmont Park for the filming of this Ruffian movie this week (April 19th) is this bit from the LA Times:

LA Times Apri 2, 2006 "Spurred on by realism; Keeping the riding action believable means putting the art before the horse" (http://www.calendarlive.com/movies/cl-ca-wkhollywood2apr02,0,565793.story?coll=cl-movies)


[Bruce] Larsen creates artificial horses for sequences in films and TV that are too dangerous for real racehorses and stuntmen, such as when a horse takes a fall while racing.

Recent assignments: the 2005 film "Dreamer" and the upcoming ESPN horse race movie "Ruffian," for which he is creating a full-sized puppet horse he'll operate from the inside.

"I could spend months on a horse, but I never have enough time. That is the problem with this business — time. I have had about a month to crank out these four horses [for 'Ruffian']. On 'Dreamer,' there wasn't enough time. There, the special effects crew helped me. They helped me hold fur and pull the fur over the horse."

adamsmom
Apr. 20, 2006, 12:18 AM
I am glad to see that they will be doing a movie about Ruffian. She was my favorite racehorse of all time, next to Native Dancer. She was absolutely beautiful. I watched everyone one of her races. I cried for days after that fatefull race. I prayed for her to make a complete recovery, and when they finally had to put her down, it broke my heart.

I hope the movie does her justice. She had a heart of gold.


I think, outside the horse world, she is sometimes forgotten, and she was truly great.

Yes, it was a horrific sight. I was 7, and I remember my rage to this day. For a long time, I hated Foolish Pleasure because I blamed him.

Adam's sire, Buckfinder, was a half-brother to Ruffian, so I also felt a connection to her through him. I expect watching the show will be especially poignant.


IMO, ESPN has done a fabulous job in their retelling of sports stories. I believe it will be done tastefully, as so many of their other original works have been. And if it shows the whole match race....I don't know. I'll probably put my hands over my eyes, but I won't say they shouldn't show it.

Glimmerglass
Apr. 20, 2006, 12:27 PM
IMO, ESPN has done a fabulous job in their retelling of sports stories. I believe it will be done tastefully, as so many of their other original works have been.

I agree adamsmom that ESPN should do a very good job as they have and since this will be aired on ABC television first, following the 2007 Belmont, I doubt they'll want any grief in turning off those fans they hope to hold following the Stakes race.

From yesterday's Blood-Horse on-line chat - Talkin' Horses with Bill Nack - APR 19 (http://www.bloodhorse.com/talkinhorses/BN041906.asp)

excerpts ...


The greatest filly I ever saw was Ruffian

I am working on a movie about Ruffian, and I am considering writing a personal book/reminiscence about her that would come out around the time of the movie, in June of 2007. Actor Sam Shepard is playing trainer Frank Whaley ---Sam is doing a great job slipping inside Frank's shoes---and actor Frank Whaley has done a superb job of playing me back in the days when I was a Newsday reporter covering racing (starring Secretariat and Ruffian) in New York.

My five top moments in racing:
#2 Ruffian's Spinaway victory photo from the Spinaway Stakes (http://www.championsgallery.com/Ruffian/fi/00000014.htm) Ruffian winning the Spinaway Stakes at Saratoga racetrack. In which she ran the 6 furlongs in the time of 1:08 3/5. Laughing Bridge second, Scottish Melody third. The Tonight Show co-host Ed McMahon presents the trophy to the winning connections.

Xctrygirl
Apr. 20, 2006, 07:58 PM
Ok well I hung out on the set a little today and watched them film 1 scene.

First big news, "Ruffian" is (wait for it) a Gelding!!! Actually and a colt. 2 horses are her, and they're both hims! Hey its still Hollywood. The one I saw today is a Tb & Trakhener cross. Very sweet and I gave the wrangler a leg up to ride him back to the barn when they were done. So wow big claim to fame. LOL.

The scene seemed ok, but it was basic stuff. I enjoyed watching. I won't give too much away as I wouldn't want to upset the media that goes into luring the public into the racing world.

Sufficive to say that they filmed a scene tonight after I left, that I would have thought wouldn't be there. Whether or not it stays in remains to be seen. But for those of you familiar with the story, you see the red cooler.


Talk to y'all soon.

~Emily

horsesmarts
Apr. 20, 2006, 09:13 PM
I had a hard time getting through the book. I think it was called Ruffian Burning from the start awesome book if you can handle the end. I don't know a movie is kind of a cool way to pay tribute to such an awesome filly but showing the breakdown and what happened afterwards that could really be tough to stomach! And I don't suppose they can tell her story without that!

Jill
http://www.horsesmarts.net

*jumper*
Apr. 23, 2006, 02:10 PM
I didn't see the actual race, but I read the book Ruffian: Burning From the Start by Jane Schwartz, and just reading about her last race had me crying. I just hope the movie is centered around her amazing career and heart and not her breakdown.

Glimmerglass
May. 1, 2006, 12:37 PM
Montgomery Advertiser 4-30-06 "Johnson remembers the great filly Ruffian" (http://www.montgomeryadvertiser.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060430/SPORTS/604300346/1002)


For race announcer Dave Johnson, it was the best of times and the worst of times -- all in the matter of minutes.

-- snip --

Johnson called all but one of Ruffian's eight stakes races. He was also at the mike on July 6, 1975.

Ruffian broke fast and early on, the race was as thrilling as the fans could hope. Ruffian would take the lead, then here would come Foolish Pleasure.

"In that first quarter-mile, it was the best the sport could offer," Johnson said.

But in the second quarter-mile, tragedy struck. Ruffian went down in one of the most gruesome scenes ever captured on live national TV.

"It still burns in me, that scene," Johnson said. "All at once, she breaks down.

"In those two quarter-miles, I had the high and low of my broadcasting career. That day truly was the end of era in horse racing."

Ruffian later had to be destroyed. The flags at Belmont were lowered to half-mast.

Ruffian has lived on in horse racing lore. She's still considered by most the greatest U.S. filly of all time. ESPN currently is working on a movie featuring Ruffian and that fateful day at Belmont Park.

Last week, Johnson added his voice to the project, which will star Sam Shepherd as Ruffian's trainer, Frank Whiteley.

"I'm the only one in the movie who plays himself," Johnson said. "I guess they figured my voice hadn't changed that much in 30 years."

trakmom
May. 1, 2006, 04:59 PM
Many of you are posting a link, but when I open it, I get "This page cannot be found." Just wondered what it was.

Glimmerglass
May. 1, 2006, 05:38 PM
Many of you are posting a link, but when I open it, I get "This page cannot be found." Just wondered what it was.

Trakmom, is it a link like the following:

http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/cry.gif

If so this was the original url path for the on-screen emoticon (smiles, frowns, crying face, etc) with the "old chronicle forum board". Since it migrated to a new provider (?) those icons don't appear but the url for them still remains.

Otherwise, I checked the link paths for most of the articles cited and they are still working fine.

haligator
May. 1, 2006, 06:36 PM
Hi All,
I'll be honest, unless ABC/ESPN has followed Jane Schwartz's 'Ruffian: Burning from the Start' very, very carefully, I don't think the movie could possibly work. I'm glad they've interviewed Dave Johnson and Bill Nack as well as people like Mike Bell, but if they get 'creative' with any details it is doomed.

As many of you know, I was there that day. It's not a day I want to live over. She was a magical horse who should have had wings like Pegasus. Ruffian was larger than life and had a deep effect on all around her as well as the racing public.

I just don't understand why they have to make this movie now, all these years later. Horse racing has never recovered from that day - and so many other days like it (Go for Wand, Shaker Knit, Mr. Nickerson, Prairie Bayou, Unbridled Elaine <I was there for that one, too>, etc.) - that I can't understand the lure of replaying this for us (the people who were there and the people who hadn't even been born yet).

With the amount of positive stories out there to be told, why did they feel the need to do this? Couldn't they have done a movie about Kathy Kusner, the great show jumping rider and brilliant horsewoman who sued to be able to become a jockey? How about the story of the Fuller family and Mom's Command winning the New York Triple Crown in 1985? The father was the breeder and trainer, daughter Amy was the jockey, and Mom's Command was a freak on the track.

I'm getting old and grumpy. I just don't like this idea. I've seen too much over the years. It is hard enough to hang on to the positive feelings in this industry without dealing with TV stations wanting to make a buck off a sad story. I'm not saying Ruffian shouldn't be honored and remembered, but it should be done in a high class way.

Hallie McEvoy
Racing Dreams, LLC

Glimmerglass
May. 1, 2006, 06:56 PM
How about the story of the Fuller family and Mom's Command winning the New York Triple Crown in 1985? The father was the breeder and trainer, daughter Amy was the jockey, and Mom's Command was a freak on the track.

The mere fact that shockingly and unexplicably she has not been voted into the Hall of Fame (&^$#% why not!) means that she's already getting the shaft, let alone being dissed with a movie deal.

Mom's Command (who now lives in a stall next to Gander up in New Hampshire) won 11 of 16 starts, including five Grade I stakes and swept NYRA's filly triple crown series. What else could a filly like that, who only ran in stakes races in her entire career from race one, need do to get in the HoF?

Come on she won her maiden, the Flirtation Stakes at Pimlico, by 18 lengths!

2004 - "Mom’s Command returns to Runnymede" (http://www.seacoastcareers.com/2004news/hampton/11262004/news/50761.htm)

AHorseSomeDay
May. 1, 2006, 08:13 PM
I bought the book years ago as something to read on the airplane on the way to vacation. Ruffian was before my time and I didn't know what happened to her at the end. Of course I got to the end of the book and cried. It's such a sad story. :( I don't think I could watch the movie. I haven't read the book since then because it's too sad.

SweatySaddlepad
May. 4, 2006, 09:19 AM
I remember her race well I was ten and horse crazy, she was the first racehorse I fell in love with, what amazing heart, not sure how I would feel about a movie other than if done well many non-horsey folks could see what an amazing animal she was...................Then there was Go For Wand, what a heartbreak and her footage was just :( another amazing filly gone. They are replaying Jockey on HBO and they show extensive footage on her breakdown, I just can't watch it:(.

When I bought my first horse, 3 year old filly off the track and looked at her pedigree, imagine my delight to find her related to Ruffian on both sides, Unbreakable and Nasrullah, I knew it had to be! :)

Glimmerglass
May. 5, 2006, 05:28 PM
ESPN aired a 4 minute promo/"behind the scenes" promo for this movie during their Kentucky Oaks coverage today.

It looks like it will be well done with high production value (more akin to Seabiscuit) and with actors you'll recognize. The crew admitted that it took four geldings to play Ruffian (they wanted more but time was limited) and they opted not to use mares as a stand in due to temperment issues with filming. Geldings are in 'Hollywood' more cooperative for the repetitive film work.

From the scenes with close ups on 'Ruffian' racing "she" doesn't look as sleek and beautiful as the black mare Ruffian was. However, if people get hung up on that fact, well look at it like this - she couldn't be duplicated so why try.

I think people who are on the fence about this movie will actually enjoy it and come around to appreciate the fact that Ruffian means so much as to make a mainstream movie about her impressive life - no so much her untimely death.

BarnBum
May. 5, 2006, 08:34 PM
I have only seen a few documenteries on Rufiian, and I've looked her up on google. I'm interested to see this movie because I think this filly is absolutley wonderful, and that is probably an understatement. The only thing I don't want to see is the ending of the final race, and even though I wasn't there that day, and wasn't even born yet, it will make me bawl to see such a wonderful horse in pain like that, still trying with more heart than she had to win. I don't know what happened, and I really don't want to visualize what she looked like in the final stretch, but at least she is in much greener pastures now. Although I do have to say, wouldn't it have been awsome if she became a mommy, and foaled many sons/daughters with her bloodlines?

purplnurpl
May. 5, 2006, 09:02 PM
I know the outcome of Phar Lap and it will always be one of my fav movies..even though I only have the courage to watch it every few years.

as for Black Beauty, I start crying with the full moon moves across the TV screen at the very beginning.

I am sure the opening credits of Ruffian will have me in a pool of tears.

I can't wait to watch her story. : )

QHJockee
May. 5, 2006, 09:08 PM
I worked on Ruffian as an outrider and horse handler. Yes, geldings were used, everything from a 14.3 QH to a 17 h Selle Francais. The sleekness isn't there because they are all painted black. I had one of the few mares used in the racing scenes. She was the best behaved one out there. Whoever thinks mares are bad didn't have to pull up runaway geldings!

I think they are trying to portray the story in a good way. We all know what the outcome of "Titanic" was and it was the highest grossing movie of all time. This is not the first movie to focus on a horse that breaks a leg. However, what set Dreamer and Seabiscuit aside was the fact they were able to overcome the injury and race again. From what I hear, it could be done better, but keep in mind this is TV and not Hollywood (i.e. No budget).

I wish I would have seen the ESPN promo - my husband was filmed riding a horse specifically for that behind the scenes show. For those of you who can remember a year from now, during the Match Race scene, I play RUffian's outrider. They had me in these oversize clothes to hide my "womenly features" (as they called them), boots too big, and my hair tucked up and wired inside the hunt cap. It was a miserable day with unruly horses (mostly mine) and I was swealtering inside that wool coat, however, I am hoping it will be rewarded with some on-air time!

ivy62
May. 5, 2006, 10:40 PM
I remember all to well the horrible day in 1975. Going to bed thinking she would live, not to race but at least live only to find out her end in the am. I was heartbroken! What a waste! Her breeding lent itself to this demise. Look at her father, Reviewer, retired due to leg injury and I believe her dam Shenanigans also had issues, should have been a red flag when she had a hairline fracture!
I recently was at Claiborne farms and it is strange that most people do not even know who she was! But when I stood outside Reviewer's stall and quietly talked to the gentleman giving the tour, I told him that I saw the best racehorse ever come out of this farm... ( yes, I think she was better then Secretariat) he asked who I thought that was. When I explained it was Ruffian he gave me a thumbs up and shook my hand. People need to remember but I do not think I could watch it all over again! As said before there are so many good stories out there why tell this one.....just read the book it is better to cry with a box of tissues handy...

AllWeatherGal
May. 7, 2006, 11:38 PM
Hell, I can't even read this THREAD w/out breaking down ... nope, I don't want to see a movie *about* Ruffian, my favorite "pro" horse of all time, tho I do see how her courage and beauty would seem like the stuff of an inspirational story.

Serah
May. 8, 2006, 12:02 AM
This thread has given me chills from start to finish. When I was little my mom had a black TB mare that was a Ruffian twin. I was always obsessed with Ruffian, I can't even remember how it started actually. But for a long time, I was convinced that our mare really WAS Ruffian. She had a career ending injury in the same leg that took Ruffian's life. I tried to convince my mom that Ruffian never died...she just got retired and sold and no one knew and we really owned her. Sweet I guess, I was just a kid. But I as well have mixed feelings on the movie, but I would like to see her name recieve as much respect and honor as possible. Maybe an ESPN movie would enlighten some more non horsey people about how amazing these animals are. I agree I would rather see her story on the big screen tho.

Glimmerglass
May. 8, 2006, 12:36 AM
I worked on Ruffian as an outrider and horse handler. Yes, geldings were used, everything from a 14.3 QH to a 17 h Selle Francais.

Very cool! I'm encouraged that you - having working on the set - think they are trying to portray this story in a very positive way. The clips and comments I saw from the actors reaffirms that and they were very commited to this story as being not one of sadness but of awe for what she was.

AllWeatherGal
May. 8, 2006, 11:17 AM
Well ... I saw United 93 and knew how that story ended, too ... and yes, am encouraged by the integrity of QHJ ...

I remember those years of all the man v woman competitions ... what a waste of potential collaboration in people.

QHJockee
May. 8, 2006, 03:06 PM
THey tried to be muy authentic. The monetary bills used even were 1975 circulation! I get asked about my work on the set all the time. It was thrilling to be part of such a production - the fact it may or may not be contraversial seems to intrigue everyday folks asking about the movie.

From what I've heard, had there been more money, obviously this is not a big-screen production, it could have been a lot better. THey seem to focus a lot of the scenery and background. Obviously they were not authentic enough though, as the real Camden track has no rail!!!

Sandy M
May. 8, 2006, 03:31 PM
I saw the little "featurette" on this, and my immediate reaction was, I loved "Seabiscuit" because you knew the over-all outcome was upbeat - the little guy winning, overcoming adversity, etc.

Do I really want to watch a movie where I KNOW the outcome is a dead horse?? No.

And yes, they are using geldings. "More reliable", doncha know?

Glimmerglass
May. 10, 2006, 03:07 PM
CBS/DRF 4-25-06 (http://horseracing.sportsline.com/cbs/headlines/showarticle.aspx?articleId=8350)


ESPN wraps up filming of Ruffian

A crew from ESPN's Original Entertainment division spent four days at Belmont Park this week wrapping up the filming of "Ruffian," a movie depicting the career of the multiple champion filly who fatally broke down in a 1975 match race against that year's Kentucky Derby winner, Foolish Pleasure.

The film, which features actor Sam Sheppard as Ruffian's trainer, Frank Whiteley Jr., will debut June 4, 2007 on ABC and air the next night on ESPN. The air date is to coincide with next year's Belmont Stakes, scheduled for June 9. ABC televises the Belmont.

Ron Semiao, senior vice president of ESPN's Original Entertainment division, came up with the idea for a movie on Ruffian because, he said, "it is a good story that will move an audience. We as a network are very much involved in the sport of horse racing, and we felt this was a good movie to do, a good story that will resonate with an audience."

Ruffian won the first 10 starts of her career and was crowned champion 2-year-old filly of 1974 and champion 3-year-old filly of 1975. The match race with Foolish Pleasure brought a crowd of 50,764 to Belmont and was covered live on national television.

"There was an aura about her that hasn't been equaled since," said Yves Simoneau, who directed the film.

The bulk of the racing scenes were shot at Louisiana Downs because, Semiao said, "we needed a location that somewhat resembled what the climate was when the story took place."

The scenes being filmed Thursday at Belmont were of Ruffian's first workout as a 2-year-old after she arrived from Camden, S.C. The funeral for Ruffian, who is buried in the infield at Belmont, was also shot.

Actor Frank Whaley portrays Eclipse Award-winning sportswriter Bill Nack, who chronicled Ruffian's career for Newsday and served as a consultant on this film.

"They've done everything conceivable to make the setting and scenery as accurate as possible," said Nack. "They even used $100 bills that were vintage 1975."

SweatySaddlepad
May. 10, 2006, 04:30 PM
Well THANK GOD they are using vintage $100 bills :rolleyes: bet we get to see HER sheath too :lol:. I hope it is a well done film, however if all they have to say about a film that is suppose to be about a HORSE is scenery and vintage bills, I have my doubts! Especially Ruffian, she is larger than life and I hope the film shows what an amazing girl she was, I do like Sam Shepard.

jetjocky
May. 10, 2006, 07:49 PM
Having watched the original race on tv (yes, I AM that old), I don't think I could stand to watch a movie.

I cried for weeks...drove my parents/siblings CRAZY.

Amen, me too. :(

Glimmerglass
May. 21, 2006, 11:14 PM
Well certainly it was fortunate that ABC was not airming to complete and air this movie this year. I think even in light of Barbaro the next work might have some misgivings on airing it in 2007 should the worst case happen to Barbaro.

Obviously the name of Ruffian and images - as both NBC and ABC nightly news programs this evening aired footage of her - has come up a lot in connection to the tragedy of Barbaro.

Among them:

Associated Press 5-21 "Horse racing no stranger to tragedy" (http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/sports/horse_racing/14629941.htm)


Because the last thing a sport too familiar with tragedy needs is more tears.

Andy Beyer /Washington Post 5-21 "A Nightmare With Precedent, Consequences" (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/05/20/AR2006052001254.html)


For a sport that struggles to attract new fans and retain its old ones, the events at Pimlico could not have been more devastating. Those of us who remember Ruffian know how such a calamity can affect the national psyche. Racing was riding high in the mid-1970s after Secretariat swept the Triple Crown. And in the wake of Secretariat appeared a charismatic and electrifying fast filly. Ruffian dominated members of her own sex before her match race against Foolish Pleasure, the colt who had won the Kentucky Derby. It was a battle of the sexes that galvanized the nation, and when Ruffian snapped her leg after running an eighth of a mile, the nation recoiled in horror. After the filly was euthanized, countless would-be fans turned away from the sport.

Regardless of Barbaro's ultimate fate, many fans in 2006 will have the same reaction as their counterparts in 1975. They will find it difficult to watch a thoroughbred race or muster enthusiasm for the sport for a long, long time.

Glimmerglass
May. 22, 2006, 12:06 PM
While triggered by the circumstances of Barbaro, another article that is more tied to Ruffian by none other then her primary biographer:

New York Times 5-22-06 (http://www.nytimes.com/2006/05/22/sports/othersports/22ruffian.html?ex=1148443200&en=0e66fe5b438f8eb1&ei=5087%0A)


We Care. But Why Do We Care So Much?
By JANE SCHWARTZ
New York Times May 22, 2006

No one wants to see a racehorse break down. The most hardened trainers and the most avid fans seem to agree on this much: A horse has to win, but nobody wants to see one die trying.

For complicated reasons involving the anatomy and the physiology of thoroughbreds, a serious injury sustained at high speed too often spells death for a horse.

That such a breakdown is traumatic for the owner, the trainer, the jockey, the groom and the exercise rider is understandable. Most of them work closely with the horse day after day. What seems to mystify people is why strangers feel the same way.

Since Barbaro's injury early in the Preakness Stakes on Saturday, the reaction of strangers to his plight — an outpouring of concern and love — raises a question with no easy answer: Why do people care so much about the fate of an animal to which they have no personal connection?

Barbaro emerged from surgery last night, but his fate remained unknown. If he survives the immediate trauma, he will face months of recuperation and rehabilitation before he can be pronounced recovered.

The image of jockey Edgar Prado leaning into Barbaro's shoulder to help him stay upright was reminiscent of the photograph from 1975 showing Jacinto Vasquez leaning against his injured filly, Ruffian, and miraculously keeping her from going down on the track.

Ruffian was in the lead when she broke down in her famous match race against the Kentucky Derby winner Foolish Pleasure on July 6, 1975, at Belmont Park. She was so competitive that she kept running even though Vasquez, one of the strongest riders around, used every ounce of his muscle to pull her up as soon as he could.

Ruffian sustained a compound fracture of her right front leg. After enduring hours of complicated surgery, she reinjured her leg when she came out of the anesthesia and was euthanized early the next morning.

Horse racing is as competitive as any sport ever invented. Trainers use psychological tricks to try to outsmart the competition. Before the continuous monitoring of races, jockeys would poke, pull, kick and whip one another down the stretch in attempts to gain the lead.

But when their horses are hurt and have to be destroyed, it breaks their hearts.

In victory and defeat, and every day in between, horses remain wordless creatures. To those in the sport who spend their days caring for them, these thousand-pound thoroughbreds are like children — not in any sentimental sense, but in the sense that they cannot take care of themselves. They need people to provide them with water, food, shelter, exercise. The good ones are treated the way every child should be treated — with the mixture of care and discipline best suited for that particular individual.

No one who was involved with Ruffian's treatment expected her to survive. Not in any rational sense. They operated on her in the hope that they might buy time for a miracle to take place.

There seems to be social pressure against killing an animal, even when that may be the most humane path.

When we care about someone, or some animal, our first instinct is to reject the idea of death. Most people want to leave open at least a small window of opportunity for hope.

At the medical center where Barbaro was being treated, people left signs for the colt, expressing their love for him.

Perhaps the real miracle — the one that matters to all of us, whether we know it or not — is that so many of us are still capable of caring so much.

Jane Schwartz is the author of "Ruffian: Burning From the Start," which was reissued in 2002.

equescool
May. 22, 2006, 02:15 PM
In our lives in this country, most of what we do is not life or death unless we are in emergency room medicine. What the race horses remind us of is the COST of things - that some things are a risk and that sometimes lives are lost in the game played. It is a terrible reality, but it is reality. In most of our paths that reality is not quite so close [even on the interstate <g>], but it is a reality of life. If you are going to be on that path, it is one of the realities that must be faced. That of course does not mean that we do not try to improve things to make the game safer.

When I stood with my 25 yr old mare that I had raised on a bottle while I was 6 mos pregnant, and had to euthanize her, time came full circle. Her tired, sick head leaned on my chest as I whispered love. We can only do our best and accept the fate that comes with the path we choose. It isn't what happens, it is how we handle it. It is the nobility of the horse that teaches us so well how to handle it. God Bless them, each and every one.

Glimmerglass
Jun. 1, 2006, 01:59 PM
A bit more on the movie's presentation ..

BloodHorse 'Talkin Horses with Tom Durkin' June 1, 2006 (http://www.bloodhorse.com/talkinhorses/TD060106.asp)

Tom Durkin: "I think the Ruffian movie will be a plus for the sport. It is told through the eyes of Bill Nack a turf writer for Sports Illustrated. And Bill is a tremendous writer. I mean the best. He is also a great lover of the sport, and no one can communicate the passion racing fans possess like Bill Nack. So, the Ruffian tale, though tragic in the end, will have plenty of positives.

Glimmerglass
Jul. 6, 2006, 01:51 PM
The eyes at Equidaily spied the fact that the NTRA has the promo video of this ESPN-produced Ruffian movie on their website. It is the same 3 minute + clip that was aired on that network during their extensive coverage around the Triple Crown.

NTRA: Ruffian movie - teaser/promo video (http://www.ntra.com/content.aspx?type=news&id=16206)

JER
Jul. 6, 2006, 03:25 PM
The trailer really turned me off. All this talk about Ruffian being a once-in-a-lifetime horse and how her trainer knew how to prepare his horse.

But really, you'd have to be lobotomized to think that a match race was a good idea for a giant filly with suspect legs. Her sire had a history of broken legs (survived the first two, put down the third time) as well.

I seriously doubt the filmmakers are telling the story of how human egos let down a great equine athlete but IMO that's the real story here.

QHJockee
Jul. 7, 2006, 10:51 PM
I'm know there are plenty of people on this post who don't care about the movie, but since I was part of the making, I do. Thank you for the link; this was the first opportunity I have had to see it in full (I saw only the last 30 seconds on Oaks day) and I was able to see me on it! For those of you interested, around time mark 3:00 towards the rear of the crowd you will see a red coat outrider....that would be my mare and I :)

tradewind
Jul. 8, 2006, 12:12 AM
I saw that race on tv, i was fifteen at the time..it made me sick then, and it would make me sick again..i experienced the same with a mare I had, and that was even worse, as it happened right in front of me...I could not eat or sleep for weeks..it seems to me that there are other horses, with less tragic endings that could portray the sport in a better light...forego, john henry, cigar all were spectacular horses that have had good endings..why make people relive the horror of that day..i for one will not be watching..and if barbaro makes it, and i pray to God he does, and has a pain free life..that would be the story to tell, not because he was a better race horse, but because it shows the advances in vet medicine and how he touched so many people..this sport has had enough tragedy without reliving one of its saddest moments 30 years later.

Glimmerglass
Jul. 17, 2006, 12:28 AM
Daily Herald (IL) 7-13-06 "Arlington jockey Torres ready for prime time" (http://www.dailyherald.com/sports/story.asp?id=207363)

excerpt


[Francisco Torres]The 36-year-old Mexican-born jockey, who moved to Chicago when he was 2, will play jockey Braulio Baeza in the ESPN movie “Ruffian,” set to air next year during the final weeks of the network’s coverage of the 2007 Belmont Stakes.

ESPN’s casting crew arrived in the jockey’s room at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Ark., in February, looking for someone to play the part of Baeza, who rode Foolish Pleasure.

Torres was not in the jockeys’ room at the time, however. He was recuperating from a neck injury he suffered in January at Oaklawn Park.

But Oaklawn Park clerk of the scales Terry McGee informed the crew that the best person for the job might be Torres, who not only looked similar to Baeza but also had his trademark straight-up sitting position in the saddle.

-- snip --

Instead of riding races at Oaklawn, Torres was riding in his car each morning to Louisiana Downs to shoot scenes for “Ruffian.” Filming began each morning after training, about 10 a.m.

“We’d film Thursday to Sunday each week,” he said. “Just to let the horsemen know I was coming along, I’d hang out at Oaklawn on the other three days. They were all fine with me rehabbing, and the day we finished filming the movie I was back riding at Oaklawn.”

Torres said he enjoyed doing his scenes in the movie, and most of his lines dealt with attempting to get the chance to ride either Ruffian or Foolish Pleasure in the match race.

“At the time, Jacinto Vasquez (played by jockey Vladimir Diaz) was riding both horses,” Torres said. “So Braulio spent time talking to the two trainers hoping to get to ride the horse that Jacinto did not choose.”

Sports writer Bill Nack, played by Frank Whaley, was scurrying from the press box, through the grandstand, to get down to the track and see what was happening with Ruffian.

Torres said that as Nack was about to cross the track, he forgot Foolish Pleasure still was coming down the stretch to finish the race.

“Mr. Nack had to stop on the dime to avoid getting hit by Foolish Pleasure,” Torres said. “For that part, all I did was ride my horse down the stretch. The directors set up a fan at the point where he (Nack) had to avoid me, creating the effect of him almost getting hit by the horse. They shot Frank Whaley’s part later, just having him rushing onto the track. For the movie, they’ll put everything together to make it look real.”

QHJockee
Jul. 17, 2006, 01:41 AM
Cisco is a great guy to work with, very nice. He spent a few years riding in Saudi as he was banned from the states. IT's nice a talented rider like him is once again in the winners' circle!

Susan P
Jul. 17, 2006, 09:39 AM
If you like Native Dancer you should check out 5 generations later http://www.pedigreequery.com/izzi+lucky who is available for adoption through Lost and Found Horse Rescue www.lfhr.org (http://www.lfhr.org) sweet horse, not fast enough so he was going to be slaughtered.

He got lucky or unlucky, depending on how you see the glass. Here he is, the liver chestnut with a sweet mare who was in the feedlot with him named Princess of York, won $100,000, not enough, hmmm. She's also at the rescue. Take a look at this video. http://www.mjarden.com/nk.html Have tissues ready.




I am glad to see that they will be doing a movie about Ruffian. She was my favorite racehorse of all time, next to Native Dancer. She was absolutely beautiful. I watched everyone one of her races. I cried for days after that fatefull race. I prayed for her to make a complete recovery, and when they finally had to put her down, it broke my heart.

I hope the movie does her justice. She had a heart of gold.

chawley
Jul. 18, 2006, 12:34 PM
I have mixed feelings about this. I saw her final race as a kid and it haunted me for a long time.

.

Me too. As a famous race writer said during that time, the country never ex-haled after that race. I don't think I have either.

She was my hero as a child. Still is.....

Glimmerglass
Nov. 15, 2006, 11:45 AM
The benefits of youtube.com ...Ruffian in the Coaching Club American Oaks; June 21, 1975 the complete race (length 3:07) (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ga50lpOMEus&mode=related&search=); called by the late great Chick Anderson at Belmont.

(She by the way equalled the stakes record in her effort)

Another revised version of another video, which is very well done, youtube.com tribute to her Final start (aka Great Match) (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vGFswkcfqaA&NR) that featured the folk song by Gerry Lukacik.

ivy62
Nov. 15, 2006, 02:36 PM
I tried to watch the video of the match but could not finish it...I started to cry all over again like it was today not 31 years ago......This race ruined my thinking on racing for a long time and then the Barbaro tragedy and Pine Island. it is so heart breaking but at least they broke down doing what they loved....I wish there was a way to prevent it though...wait a year or 2!

I hope the movie does her justice I do not know if I can watch it.......

ElonGrad1997
Nov. 15, 2006, 02:58 PM
I was a hair over 2 months, 2 weeks old when the Match Race was run. That is the first time I've ever seen the footage. It's particularly gut wrenching because it was like watching Barbaro all over again. I read the Ruffian book a few years ago and was in tears. That You Tube video was really well done.

gubbyz
Nov. 16, 2006, 12:32 AM
I just watched the video of the match and kept rewinding it to the part when the jock jumped off. I kept hoping she would stop walking on it! Just stop walking around on it! That is what killed me. I was 9 when it happened, dont remember much of it, so seeing it again did not make me cry, I was just amazed at how she kept going on it. I still have the original newspaper clippings of it.

*jumper*
Nov. 17, 2006, 12:44 AM
I think this could be a good movie, as long as they show her breakdown in a tasteful manner...I want to see this becase it is a tribute to a great filly, not because of her breakdown. They are certainly treading on thin ice doing this movie, and Ruffian deserves something that will show her in the best light.

Glimmerglass
Feb. 16, 2007, 09:24 AM
Art Wilson of the Whittier Daily News (CA) does a column on Ruffian: "Ruffian's legacy lives on" 2/16/07 (http://www.whittierdailynews.com/sports/ci_5238656)

He refers to a [youtube] video cited here in this thread before, which if I'm not mistaken was put together by a COTH poster.

Glimmerglass
Feb. 16, 2007, 09:28 AM
[posted in this thread Nov 15, 2006]

The benefits of youtube.com ...youtube.com tribute to her Final start (aka Great Match) (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vGFswkcfqaA&NR) that featured the folk song by Gerry Lukacik.

The above is the video cited by Art in his 2/16/07 column

asb_own_me
Feb. 18, 2007, 04:38 PM
Is the movie still scheduled to air this summer?

I have footage of the match race from a segment that was aired years ago on ESPN. Horrible, horrible moments. I just watched the tribute video on YouTube and started to cry before it happened, in anticipation of what would happen next. I can't see how airing that footage in a movie does any good. I never again want to watch that footage.....nor footage of Go For Wand, or Barbaro. I vividly remember Mr. Nickerson collapsing the the BC Sprint, I know it wasn't a "breakdown" like the others (rather a suspected heart attack or anuerism) but why do we feel the need to watch things like that over and over?

Glimmerglass
Feb. 18, 2007, 07:34 PM
Is the movie still scheduled to air this summer?

This spring - to coincide with ABC's airing of the Belmont in June 2007 - yes.

I truly doubt ABC will for the 2-hours of alloted airtime show a recreation of the breakdown over and over. They won't however sweep it under the rug as it was part of the Ruffian saga. It won't get ratings and trust me the NTRA would take them and ESPN to task hard if they dare exploit the issue.

Actor Sam Shepard's website - "Ruffian" role as trainer Frank Whitley (http://www.sam-shepard.com/ruffian.html)

ivy62
Feb. 18, 2007, 07:47 PM
I am not sure I can watch this movie knowing the way it ends and having seen it live in 1975 and what we have just gone through with Barbaro....I hope they do her justice....

ruffian forever
Feb. 26, 2007, 12:45 AM
Ruffian was a miracle-I loved her more than life itself. I saw that ill conceived match race in July in 1975. It has been over 30 years and just thinking of her still breaks my heart. TB racing has never been the same for me and many others. If not raced so young Ruffian and many other good horses would have lived to race again. As for this movie -about Ruffian-she deserves to have her wonderful life told. No movie could ever capture the wonder that she was, but new generations of horse lovers should know that once upon a time there a horse named Ruffian and she was perfect-she was the horse that every fan had ever dreamed of , but because she was real and not a dream, she was oh-so-fragile-and many times life is so much more fragile than any dream.

ruffian forever
Feb. 26, 2007, 12:50 AM
Ruffian was a miracle-I loved her more than life itself. I saw that ill conceived match race in July in 1975. It has been over 30 years and just thinking of her still breaks my heart. TB racing has never been the same for me and many others. If not raced so young Ruffian and many other good horses would have lived to race again. As for this movie -about Ruffian-she deserves to have her wonderful life told. No movie could ever capture the wonder that she was, but new generations of horse lovers should know that once upon a time there a horse named Ruffian and she was perfect-she was the horse that every fan had ever dreamed of , but because she was real and not a dream, she was oh-so-fragile-and many times life is so much more fragile than any dream.

Glimmerglass
May. 7, 2007, 05:32 PM
"Ruffian": set to air Saturday June 9th at 9 pm Eastern on the ABC Network (http://sports.espn.go.com/espntv/espnShow?showID=K117)

-- corrected per barnfairy's astute eyes :)

Barnfairy
May. 7, 2007, 10:06 PM
Um, make that Saturday June 9th.

Thanks for the heads up! 'Looking forward to this.

hitchinmygetalong
May. 7, 2007, 10:57 PM
I'll pass. Thanks anyway. :no:

ivy62
May. 7, 2007, 11:20 PM
I think I will pass also, having watched it live and remember it like it was yesterday I do not need more pictures for they are in my head already. I still do not understand why someone would make a movie about a horse breaking down and release it on the night of the Belmont inlieu of what happened last year....
If anyone is interested just read the book burning from the start...JMHO

Glimmerglass
May. 7, 2007, 11:37 PM
I still do not understand why someone would make a movie about a horse breaking down and release it on the night of the Belmont inlieu of what happened last year.

Because the film was announced in January 2006 and shot in large part before the middle of May 2006.

I find it truly odd that people can bristle and recoil over the idea of seeing the grace of Ruffian and her story told on the screen to a new generation. Yet fully endorse reading a book about her and yearn for more videos to be done on Barbaro.

Ruffian's legacy should not be simply the last moments of her career. Her impressive runs prior to the match race is what made her a star and gave her a following.

caffeinated
May. 8, 2007, 08:18 AM
Ruffian's legacy should be simply the last moments of her career. Her impressive runs prior to the match race is what made her a star and gave her a following.

I think you forgot a "not" in there somewhere.

I'm looking forward to the movie- hopefully it's well done. But I'm too young to remember Ruffian, and would like to learn more about her. I've watched many of her races (thanks be to youtube), and she takes my breath away, even now.

Looking forward to learning more about her and her people :)

ivy62
May. 8, 2007, 09:02 AM
Glimmerglass- if they could make it about her triumphs I have no problem with that and hope that is what they focus on instead of her breakdown. No, I do not like watching Barbaro breakdown time and time again. I only hope that they can show by comparrison how far we have come with medicine and treatment for major injuries....
I guess at the time it was about boys against girls...ie: Billy Jean King and Bobby Riggs
I just wish they would show it a different night..just in case....
I cried for Ruffian and for Barbaro but we got to know Barbaro and he lived 8 more months, modern technology allowed that in more ways then one... I hope they do not make it a habit of making movies about horses breaking down.

horselips
May. 9, 2007, 02:02 PM
I think I will pass also, having watched it live and remember it like it was yesterday I do not need more pictures for they are in my head already. I still do not understand why someone would make a movie about a horse breaking down....


Obviously you did not watch the clip.
The movie is to be focusing on her career, her races, her brilliance as an athlete.
Not her breakdown.

I followed this wonderful filly's career from her first race. I am looking forward to seeing the movie to relive her victories.


Gosh, I hope my entire life isn't judged on my manner of death.

Geeze....I give up.

:rolleyes:

June
May. 9, 2007, 04:25 PM
Because the film was announced in January 2006 and shot in large part before the middle of May 2006.

I find it truly odd that people can bristle and recoil over the idea of seeing the grace of Ruffian and her story told on the screen to a new generation. Yet fully endorse reading a book about her and yearn for more videos to be done on Barbaro.

Ruffian's legacy should be simply the last moments of her career. Her impressive runs prior to the match race is what made her a star and gave her a following.

Agree with Glimmerglass here. And for this ol' mare, I remember that after Ruffian's death, Dr. Jenny developed and found the funding for the "recovery pool" at New Bolton. Does anyone else remember the NYTs article about it? I do. I wonder if that will be mentioned in the doc?

Prayer continues, always,
June

R D Lite
May. 17, 2007, 03:34 AM
My father, a newspaper sports editor, was sent a review copy of the film, which I just finished watching a few minutes ago. Mini-background on me, in case it matters: I am too young to have seen Ruffian in life, but I'm a racing fan (with a sports journalist for a father, it's unavoidable!). I've read Jane Schwartz's book. My horse was an OTTB, and my next horse will be, too.

Overall, I thought the movie was very well done. Yes, it's a TV movie, and I could have done without Bill Nack's character's voice-over. It could have been much longer, but anyone who knows Ruffian's story will be able to fill in the gaps. It's very much a horse racing movie, not just a horse movie, and everything else is built around the racing scenes, which I thought were filmed beautifully. It's a good-looking movie overall, and maybe I just wasn't looking closely enough, but I didn't even see "gelding evidence," if you know what I mean!

The breakdown and hopsital scenes are tough to watch, no doubt about it. They are fairly graphic, but in my opinion they were honest, not exploitative. (I do work at an equine hospital and have seen a number of catastrophic injuries in real life, so perhaps the visual wasn't quite as shocking to me as it might be to some people.) I think the film struck a good balance of acknowledging Ruffian's death for the heartrending event that it was with the fact that her life and career were what made her astonishing and memorable. The book naturally paints a much clearer and more detailed picture of both Ruffian and the people around her, but for a relatively short film, they chose their scenes well.

I know everyone will have their own opinion, and those opinions will probably run the gamut, but I just thought I'd share my 2 cents. If you're thinking of watching it, I'd say it's worth a look.

Glimmerglass
May. 20, 2007, 08:19 PM
My father, a newspaper sports editor, was sent a review copy of the film ...

Hmm any chance a copy of that might be available? :)

I likely will not get to see it originally aired [on ABC but I will on the rebreoadcast set for ESPN] or the Belmont as I'll be flying back from Bermuda that day.

Thanks for the comments on the movie. Bill Nack has spoke very positively of the film and that should also say something about its quality.

R D Lite
May. 20, 2007, 09:39 PM
Hmm any chance a copy of that might be available? :)

Alas, I had to give it back to the legitimate news agency! :D (Although it did cross my mind to write ESPN and tell them they should just send me review copies of any and all horse-related material so I can come talk it up on COTH! :yes: )

Glimmerglass
May. 24, 2007, 02:11 PM
Writer Bill Nack was today's guest for the BloodHorse's "Talkin' Horses" Q&A feature for Thur May 24, 2007 (http://www.bloodhorse.com/talkinhorses/BN052407.asp) and he was posed the question on Ruffian and this movie:


Q: I know some people who have seen the Ruffian movie (I have not) and they are very upset or distressed about the breakdown scene. They say it's extremely graphic. In light of Barbaro, why get so graphic?

Nack:
It was the hardest part of the movie for me to watch, but this is what happened to her---Ruffian shattered the two sesamoids in her right front ankle---and I think it’s ill-advised and a cheat to make such a catastrophic breakdown less graphic than it was. I’ve thought about this, but I just don’t think that Barbaro’s accident and fate should have any bearing on how the Ruffian tragedy was handled on film.
The Ruffian movie project was started long before Barbaro came on the scene, and I just don’t see how and why one should influence the other. While the breakdown was graphic, it was very brief, and I thought the scenes following the accident were handled with abundant sensitivity. In fact, there was nothing of that horrible scene at the barn that I witnessed and described in my book, with Barbara Janney wailing; with an uninvited vet, Dr. William Reed, giving her a shot he should not have given her; and with Ruffian going into shock, trying to lie down as she bled continuously from the ankle.

These were scenes I witnessed at the barn and none of them is in the movie.

When Ruffian awoke from surgery and started thrashing around, according to witness Frank Tours, she threw people around like rag dolls. None of this violence is in the movie. In fact, from her breakdown to her destruction, the scenes are very quiet and subdued.. Some would say it’s too quiet and subdued---too far from reality, too far from what really happened after she broke down.

You be the judge.

A strongly recommend reading his transcript and his comments are always well informed and fascinating.

CeeDreams
May. 25, 2007, 04:28 AM
My friend previewed the movie months ago and said it was very sad.

Glimmerglass
May. 25, 2007, 02:14 PM
I'm not sure if I shared this link before in the thread ... to give folks a perspective fresh at the time

Time Magazine, July 21, 1975 "Could Ruffian Have Been Saved?" (http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,913296-1,00.html)

excerpt


Would other methods of treatment have worked? Continuous sedation is unrealistic because a horse lying too long on its side develops radial paralysis; placing a horse in a sling often impairs circulation and waste elimination and could cause death; finally, putting a horse on a rubber raft in a pool, so that kicking off a cast becomes impossible, is still an experimental technique.

At 'week's end Jack Dreyfus, chairman of the board of the New York racing association, said, "The inadequacy of knowing what to do was the problem. It happened to strike an area of incompetence in the whole industry." Meantime, Ruffian had been buried quietly at Belmont, mourned by millions who knew little of racing but were moved by the untimely death of a great horse.

Sadly, just shy of 32 years later the remarks above are not irrelevant today

Glimmerglass
May. 28, 2007, 12:11 AM
As inquired by another:

ABC will air Ruffian as the 'movie of the week' Saturday June 9th at 9:00 pm -11:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. [The Belmont Stakes will be aired that afternnon on ABC too] This movie will (also) be broadcasted in 720 Progressive (720P), ABC's selected HDTV format, with 5.1-channel surround sound.

As for the rebroadcast that won't be until the fall!

It will be re-aired on ESPN October 24 at 8:00 p.m. EST

Content will also be available at that time to consumers across multiple ESPN platforms, including ESPNHD, ESPN360, VOD and DVD.

For those with ABC network access: photo captures from the movie (http://www.abcmedianet.com/web/display/display_main.aspx?global_id=ph12721&leftcol=links)

The overview:


Sam Shepard ("Don't Come Knocking," "Black Hawk Down") stars in the inspiring horse racing drama "Ruffian," the powerful and emotional true story of the racehorse hailed as the greatest thoroughbred filly of all time. Shepard plays trainer Frank Whitely, who guides this incredible filly's ascension into the public consciousness amid the backdrop of the '70s, a decade of equine superstars and Triple Crown winners. Ruffian's beauty and speed made her a memorable filly, but it was her match race with Kentucky Derby winner Foolish Pleasure that made her one of the beloved horses of all time.

The movie, which was shot in Shreveport, LA in 2006, also stars acclaimed actor, writer and director Frank Whaley ("Pulp Fiction," "Born on the Fourth of July") as legendary sports writer Bill Nack. Famed Canadian film director Yves Simoneau ("The 4400," "44 Minutes" and "Nuremberg") helms this original production.

"Ruffian" stars Sam Shepard as Frank Whitely, Frank Whaley as Bill Nack, Mat Greer as Dan Williams, Mark Adam as Mike Bell, Tyrone Shaw as Squeaky, Nicholas Pryor as Stuart Janney, Christina Belford as Barbara Janney, Keith Flippen as Dinney Phipps, Franco Torres as Braulio Baeza, Mike Harding as Leroy Jolly, John McConnell as Tony Pappas, Jon Stafford as Dr. Pendergast, Stuart Greer as Dan Lasater, David Dwyer as Dick Sandler, Dennis O'Neill as bar owner, Marion Guyot as Barbara's friend and John S. Davies as CBS executive.

QHJockee
May. 29, 2007, 10:13 AM
Just a side note, if anyone caught HBO Sundayor any reruns, their new movie "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee" is also directed by Yves Simoneau. These 2 movies are quite a contrast for the sci-fi types he is known for. I thought he did a great job with Knee.

Anyone heard anything about a "Behind the Scenes" show on ESPN? I know they were supposed to air it.

Glimmerglass
May. 29, 2007, 10:39 AM
Not unexpected is a very positive review by ESPN's Bill Finley ""Ruffian" movie captures all that was great" (http://sports.espn.go.com/sports/horse/columns/story?columnist=finley_bill&id=2884766) for May 28th.


The movie never varies from the real life story and the director and producer and their teams have done an excellent job making the racing scenes seem realistic.

The story is seen through the eyes of Bill Nack, who, at the time, was covering racing for Newsday, Long Island's biggest newspaper. Nack, arguably the most gifted horse racing writer ever, is played by Frank Whaley, best remembered for his roles in Pulp Fiction and Field of Dreams. Nack is both an inquisitive reporter and a passionate racing fan and his love affair with Ruffian is at the heart of the theme. The real Nack was a consultant to the movie.

There is a video interview with actor Sam Shepard and below it are 9 of her 11 starts. Although highly shameful is the fact they have her match race video. Skip that option and watch something more positive like The Acorn or Mother Goose Stakes, both of which are there too.

Looking back I have to say that Dave Johnson, the race caller of her big efforts, just is so lackluster in his passion and comments. By comparison listen to Chick with Secretariat or Seattle Slew or even Tom Durkin with Cigar ... calling historical horses should be more 'wow'.

QHJockee
Jun. 5, 2007, 12:08 AM
Ok, so I've had to wait around for 14 months but the week is finally here - the big movie! ESPN aired the behind the scenes today and was excited to see myself (all 1.2 seconds of me) and my pony! DH even got his air time - for those that watch it, there will be a guy brushing one of the Ruffian's in a round pen and a guy with his backside to the camera and that would be him....wondering why his butt doesn't look that good in person! ha ha ha ha ha

It's just exciting to see things and people you are involved with every day on national tv.

JER
Jun. 5, 2007, 02:47 PM
From The Blood-Horse: "Whiteley and Vazquez sue Disney over Ruffian movie" (http://news.bloodhorse.com/viewstory.asp?id=39231)

Basically, Disney/ABC/ESPN bought the Nack book but did not make separate agreements with Whitely and Vazquez; they also claim there's a trademark infringement with Thoroughbred Legends.

I'm sure they'll reach a settlement as usual.

QHJockee
Jun. 5, 2007, 07:02 PM
Oh Imagine this, conflict in the days leading up to the movie....you'd never have guessed this would happen, esp. since Frank Whitley's feature profile is in The Bloodhorse this week.

Glimmerglass
Jun. 11, 2007, 12:58 PM
I'll sidestep the opinions thread on the Ruffian movie aired and just take the time to suggest the great article written by ESPN's Randy Moss:

ESPN June 5, 2007 "Ruffian remembered" Randy Moss (http://sports.espn.go.com/sports/horse/columns/story?columnist=moss_randy&id=2892898)

All of her actual races are on the linked page (above) on the right column. They also have been cited in this thread elsewhere through ones ripped and uploaded onto youtube.com

No word on the lawsuit or even Jacinto Vasquez or Frank Whitely's opinion of it. Clearly the injunction was rejected by the court with regards to ABC's airing, they might be successful with the ESPN airing in October or the planned release of the film on other media. From the LA Times:


The Daily Racing Form reported that the suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Northern Georgia, seeks monetary damages of $10 million and an injunction against airing the movie.

The plaintiffs claim Thoroughbred Legends owns the trademark of the name "Ruffian," and that Whiteley and Vasquez are part-owners of the Ruffian trademark Thoroughbred Legends LLC is unrelated to the BloodHorse publishing division of the same name].

Bloomberg News reported that Whiteley and Vasquez said that they rejected offers to sell their life story to ESPN and Orly Adelson Productions for $5,000 each and an additional $100,000 to be split among the pair and assistant trainer Mike Bell if a film was made.

In a statement, ESPN said, "The claims in the lawsuit are without merit."

Per the media press conference in advance of Ruffian Orly Adelson (of Orly Adelson Productions along with ESPN Original Entertainment) said that for the injury scenes they built mock horses for those scenes.

Orly furthermore said animal rights officials were on the set to make sure no horses were mistreated. Five live horses were used to make the film.

Aside - Ruffian in respect to media, television, etc with the horse was only filed for trademark rights (http://tess2.uspto.gov/bin/showfield?f=doc&state=is3g58.2.3) in May 2004. So if anyone thinks Whitely, et al have been holding the rights since the 1970's is rather mistaken.

Thoroughbred Legends, LLC
(A Georgia Limited Liability Company)
Bank of America Plaza
600 Peachtree Stree
c/o Troutman Sanders LLOp
Suite 5200
Atlanta, GA 30308-2216

US Trade Mark Office, word mark: "Ruffian"
Serial Number 78415873
Filing Date May 10, 2004
IC 041. US 100 101 107. "G & S: Entertainment services, namely, production of theatrical plays, motion picture films, television shows, and documentaries."

horselips
Jun. 11, 2007, 01:51 PM
In my opinion, the subtle - and not-so-subtle undertones in this movie, together with the grisly Hollywood-ed up graphics of the breakdown (Any unsuspecting group of watchers were blindsided) did more damage to horseracing in the general public's eye than anything.


I was very disappointed in many aspects of the movie, mostly the multi-faceted negative theme, but not surprised. It is Disney, after all.

Glimmerglass
Jun. 11, 2007, 06:16 PM
ABC's telecast of its Ruffian television movie drew a 2.9 rating and 5 share June 9 from 9-11 p.m. EDT. The movie, which documented the story of the brilliant race filly from the 1970s, finished third in its time slot behind "American's Most Wanted" on FOX (3.7) and "Die Another Day," a film on CBS that drew a 4.1. NBC showed "Scary Movie," which registered a 1.9

Source: BloodHorse using Nielsen Ratings release (http://tcm.bloodhorse.com/viewstory.asp?id=39329)

(In overnight ratings, each ratings point equals 770,000 viewers, and the share refers to the percentage of TVs in use that were tuned to the program.)

The Ruffian movie was hampered by poor Belmont ratings - despite the race being fantastic - of a 3.5 rating compared to say 2005 when NBC garnered a 5.0 for Afleet Alex's victory.

Barnfairy
Jun. 11, 2007, 09:11 PM
I'll sidestep the opinions thread on the Ruffian movie aired and just take the time to suggest the great article written by ESPN's Randy Moss:

ESPN June 5, 2007 "Ruffian remembered" Randy Moss (http://sports.espn.go.com/sports/horse/columns/story?columnist=moss_randy&id=2892898)

All of her actual races are on the linked page (above) on the right column. They also have been cited in this thread elsewhere through ones ripped and uploaded onto youtube.com

Glimmerglass, thank you thank you thank you for that link. That just made my night.

hottntrottn08
Aug. 1, 2007, 11:32 PM
i just saw the movie tonight and i loved it! you couldnteven tell that she was 4 diff. horses. They did a good job capturing her personality and passion for running.i give it 5 stars...the actors were great.:D:D