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Ruffian movie to be made for ABC (2007)

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  • Ruffian movie to be made for ABC (2007)

    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

    Ruffian Film Slated for ABC/ESPN
    by Lenny Shulman

    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

  • #2
    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.


    • #3
      I don't know how I feel about this.
      \"it\'s not what you win, but who you beat\"
      Member of Acrylic Nail,Horseless Riders,Mommies, and Pennsylvania Cliques!


      • #4
        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!
        Aefvue Farm Ft.Lauderdale


        • #5
          Good luck finding a fleet of Ruffian lookalikes. They'll need at least three. Perhaps they'll actually look like TBs.


          • #6
            I wonder if they will use geldings!
            A man must love a thing very much if he not only practices it without any hope of fame or money, but even practices it without any hope of doing it well.--G. K. Chesterton


            • #7
              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.


              • #8
                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.
                If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.
                Desmond Tutu


                • #9
                  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.
                  In loving memory of Chutney (1977 - 2008)


                  • #10
                    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!


                    • Original Poster

                      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


                      • #12
                        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?


                        • #13
                          I can't even watch Black Beauty without bawling!!
                          In loving memory of Chutney (1977 - 2008)


                          • #14
                            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..

                            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.
                            MnToBe Twinkle Star: "Twinkie"

                            Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!


                            • Original Poster

                              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:

                              "..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


                              • #16
                                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.
                                Y'all ain't right!


                                • #17
                                  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.
                                  In loving memory of Chutney (1977 - 2008)


                                  • #18
                                    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.
                                    WestWind Farms
                                    Love means attention, which means looking after the things we love. We call this stable management.
                                    - George H. Morris


                                    • #19
                                      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.


                                      • #20
                                        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".