Ruidoso Fans Greet "50-1" Cast
Movie about Thoroughbred Mine That Bird opens this week.
March 19, 2014
A winding bus tour that mimics the trip that New Mexico-based Mine That Bird took to the Kentucky Derby winner’s circle to promote the feature film "50 to 1" about 2009 Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird was a hit at Ruidoso Downs on Tuesday afternoon.
"50 to 1" premieres on Wednesday, March 19 in Albuquerque at the historic KiMo Theatre.
Meeting potential moviegoers were co-producer, director and co-writer Jim Wilson, co-producer and co-writer Faith Conroy and actors Christian Kane, Madelyn Deutch and Todd Lowe. Wilson earned an Academy Award® as the producer of "Dances With Wolves."
Mine That Bird trained at Ruidoso Downs during the summer of 2009. He had won the Kentucky Derby at the second-longest odds, 50-1, in the classic race’s 139-year history. He then finished second in the Preakness Stakes and third in the Belmont Stakes before coming to Ruidoso Downs. The gelding used his Ruidoso Downs’ training as preparation for his fall campaign.
The owners of Mine That Bird – Mark Allen of Double Eagle Ranch and Dr. Leonard Blach of Buena Suerte Equine – are Roswell residents and regulars at Ruidoso Downs.
Allen won the $308,267 Ruidoso Derby (G1) with champion Time For A Cigar on the same afternoon back in 2009 that Mine That Bird finished third in the Belmont Stakes. Kane plays Allen in “50 to 1.”
Blach’s connection with Ruidoso Downs predates Allen. In 1983, Blach was the resident veterinarian at the famed Buena Suerte Ranch in Roswell, the predecessor of Buena Suerte Equine. The three-time world champion Go Man Go stood at Buena Suerte Ranch and Blach brought the then 30-year-old stallion to Ruidoso Downs to lead the post parade for the 1983 All American Futurity. He also played a veterinarian in “Casey’s Shadow,” the 1978 film starring Walter Matthau about a Quarter Horse from Louisiana competing in the All American Futurity at Ruidoso Downs. William Devane plays Blach in “50 to 1.”
Allen and Blach, along with Butch Southway, own 2012 Rainbow Futurity (G1) winner Carters Cookie.
Trainers Chip Woolley, who conditioned Mine That Bird, and his brother Bill Woolley race horses each summer at Ruidoso Downs. Chip is played by Skeet Ulrich and Bill is played by David Atkinson in “50 to 1.”
Mine That Bird reached rock-star status in New Mexico with extensive local news coverage and elevated horse racing throughout the Land of Enchantment to a water-cooler subject. Therefore, it is fitting the film about Mine That Bird has a rolling rock-style opening with a bus tour criss-crossing the central United States.
"I thought, why not meet the audience this movie is intended for, introduce them to the stars and shake their hands,” said Wilson. “It's the audience that matters the most. It's why we make these stories, to share them with the world."
Wilson knew there was a potential film about Mine That Bird when he was watching the 2009 Kentucky Derby on television. “It hits me fast,” he said about a potential film. “By the end of the broadcast and seeing all the replays, I was smitten.”
The Oscar® winner only wanted to meet Mine That Bird’s trainer and owners to see if there was a story and not just a horserace. “I saw Chip on his crutches and I could tell he had attitude. I met Leonard, Mark and Chip and knew I had a story,” Wilson said.
If the filmmaker and cast’s reception in Billy’s Sports Bar and Grill at Ruidoso Downs is any indication, Wilson may have another hit on his hand. On a Tuesday afternoon in a small mountain town, there was a line of people winding from the door to a table along the back wall wanting autographs on a “50 to 1” poster and anxious to meet the film’s connections.
There will be a two-week run at the Sierra Cinema in Ruidoso starting this weekend.
Live racing returns to Ruidoso Downs on Thursday, May 22 with the first of two days of trials to the $700,000 Ruidoso Futurity (G1). Allen and Blach will surely be present to watch their 2-year-old prospects race in the trials.
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