Bob Baffert reacts to being the bad guy in '50 To 1'
Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert is repeatedly depicted as the sneering face of the racing establishment in the new film about Mine That Bird's improbable 2009 Kentucky Derby victory. Though Baffert said Wednesday he had not seen the movie, he has heard enough about it to be annoyed.
"Chip Woolley told me, 'You were the only nice guy to me all week and they made you a rotten son of a gun in the movie,' " Baffert said, recounting a conversation with Mine That Bird's trainer. "I had an owner call me up in Arkansas and tell me, "Man, you ought to sue.' They made me the villain."
Director Jim Wilson's film traces the improbable path Woolley and Mine That Bird's owners took to the winner's circle at Churchill Downs.
Wilson, who is also credited among the film's writers, says he has known Baffert for 25 years, and that, "he can be pretty arrogant at times."
As the trainer of three Derby winners and 2009 runner-up Pioneerof The Nile, Baffert also made for a convenient and familiar foil.
"If you take a shot at somebody," Wilson said, "Baffert's the guy."
"They knocked Bobby a little bit," said jockey Calvin Borel, who plays himself in the film. "You know how Bobby is."
White-haired actor Bruce Wayne Eckelman plays Baffert with his trademark sunglasses, but without the humor that often lightens some of the trainer's more caustic comments.
"Everybody knows that horse doesn't belong here," Eckelman says of Mine That Bird in one scene. "Frankly, I wouldn't be worried if they had God riding for them.''
Baffert compared the portrayal to that of the late trainer Pancho Martin in Disney's "Secretariat." Martin, who trained the rival three-year-old Sham, was shown as obnoxious and belligerent in an effort to create an antagonist in the story of a surpassing thoroughbred whose Triple Crown campaign was short on real drama.
Baffert, by comparison, comes off as snide but not combative, and is shown in his last scene giving a grudgingly gracious post-race interview about Mine That Bird's connections.
"I'm the only one who would talk to them all week 'cause I knew them," Baffert said Wednesday outside his barn. "I knew those guys (from) the quarterhorse business. For some reason, Jim Wilson and those guys, they never asked me. That's not me at all. ...
"But what are you going to do? Luckily, I don't think very many people are going to see that movie. I don't think I have anything to worry about."
World's fastest man has equine rival - Usain Colt
The 3-year-old thoroughbred named after the world's fastest man is being lined up for several races in Britain this summer, and his owners hope Usain Bolt will meet his equine namesake while he is in London for the Olympics.
Trying to schedule an appointment with the three-time Olympic champion is proving difficult, however, with the opening ceremony for London Games only two days away.
Bolt has been training in seclusion on a track at the University of Birmingham, a facility surrounded by thick bushes and patrolled by security.
''Usain Bolt is not the easiest person to get a hold of these days, but I'd like to hope that Usain Colt's chance to meet him after the Olympics would be boosted if the horse wins a race this summer,'' said Jake Warren, one of the horse's handlers.
Warren said Usain Colt deserves his name even though he has only won once - a year ago in Newbury.
''He's quite a big horse. He's very athletically built and has lots of character,'' Warren said. ''He's a laid-back horse with a big personality and has a presence like no other.
''Not other than Bolt, of course.''
The horse is owned by Ascot Racecourse. Prince Harry is believed to have joined the Birdcage Racing Club run by Ascot, whose 100 members pay an annual fee and share any prize money earned by Usain Colt. Their aim is to promote the sport amid dwindling interest during the hard economic times.
Bolt is aware of Usain Colt's existence.
When Prince Harry visited Jamaica earlier this year, he met Bolt and showed him a picture of the thoroughbred. Bolt was quoted as saying that ''to have a race horse named after you by someone who owns it like Prince Harry for me is an honor.''
''He's going to do great, takes time, work his way up,'' Bolt said of the horse.
Like Bolt, Usain Colt has also had problems with his starts in the past year. He was forced out of the Royal Ascot meet, horse racing's biggest event in Britain, and pulled from a recent race in Ireland because rain made the track too soft for him to run.
Usain Colt returned to the track on Wednesday for a seven-furlong race at Sandown. He finished second in a field of 10.
''He had an amazing sprint at the end, but was held too far back by the jockey in the beginning and ended a length and half behind the winner,'' Warren said. ''We hoped he'd win, but we hope that the good performance on the track will bring some good luck to Bolt's Olympic 100 race.''
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Kentucky derby attractions
Although the Kentucky derby is primarily about horse racing, this is not the sole reason that people attend. There are a host of events that could keep you entertained for several days after the Kentucky derby is finished. Here are a few of the most popular events that take place during the Kentucky derby.
Undoubtedly the most spectacular event that takes place during the Kentucky derby is Thunder Over Louisville. Every single year, almost five hundred thousand people congregate on the banks of the Louisville’s river to stare in awe at the spectacle that is Thunder over Louisville. This event is the largest ever fireworks display in the world. It constitutes half an hour of amazing fireworks in the night sky over the Louisville river. The reflections of the fireworks on the water’s surface make it all the more awe inspiring. Thunder Over Louisville is preceded by an air show that is held during the day. The air show involves around one hundred planes performing stunts to the crowd’s delight. Thunder Over Louisville marks the beginning of the Kentucky derby festival that runs for almost two weeks.
Another popular event at the Kentucky derby is the Derby marathon. This is a twenty six mile marathon held during the Kentucky derby festival. For those with less stamina but still eager to take part, there is the twelve mile Derby mini Marathon. Over twelve thousand people from all over the world come to take part in both of these events. The course of the marathons run through the parks in Louisville and is quite scenic. The Kentucky derby mini marathon has proved to be quite popular with tourists.
The Great balloon festival is yet another attraction at the Kentucky derby festival. It constitutes a series of five events finally leading up to the climax which is the Great balloon Race. The premier balloon race held at the Kentucky derby only featured seven balloons. Over the years, this attraction has grown in leaps and bounds and is now made up of a weekend characterized by hot air balloons. All of the great balloon festival events are fee as long as you possess a Pegasus pin. The only problem you may encounter is finding parking space.
The last attraction of the Kentucky derby happens to be the oldest. The Pegasus Parade has been taking part since the inception of the Kentucky derby. It is made up of spectacular floats, marching bands and even celebrities make an appearance.
About The Kentucky Derby
The Kentucky Derby is a race that was found in 1875 and involves race of three year thoroughbred horses. The event is held at Churchill Downs racetrack in Louisville, Kentucky. The event kicks off officially on the first Saturday of May of every year. The derby is the longest continuously staged event in the history of US with over 100 years of taking place and likelihood that it will continue becoming popular. With its history, the event is popular internationally. The race itself and the accompanying spectacle make attractive spectacle bound to attract anyone.
The race is often dubbed s `the most interesting sport of two minutes’. Wining horses take approximately to complete the race which involves running across a distance of ¼ mile on a dirt track. This race is the first and the most popular of the Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing. The thoroughbred racing is a collection of big money and high profile races. The other two sports include Preakness Stakes held in Baltimore and Belmont stakes held in New York.
Over the years the event has been taking place; a lot of traditions have cropped up. For instance, the University of Louisville Matching Band presents the song `My Old Kentucky Home’ prior to the race which is normally joined by the jubilant singing from the audience. Attendants are served with iced drinks called Mint juleps. There is also a thick lamb stew called Burgoo. The winning horse is rewarded with a bunch of roses which makes it often be referred as the `run for the roses’.
The Churchill Downs was started by Col. M. Lewis Clark in 1875. The first Kentucky Derby was held in the same year and has been continuous since then. The Clark Handicap and Kentucky Oaks which are held in the same stadium also kicked off for the first time in the same year. The starting of the race by Clark was inspired by three major horse races that were held in England. The Twin Spires were started in 1895 as a result of inspiration from Churchill Downs; and have become popular icons of the event.
Attendants of the Kentucky Derby tend to wear flashy but formal dressing styles. Women also tend to wear unique kinds of hats that are both conspicuous and give them a touch of flashiness. The elaborate hats are iconic of festivities and fashion. With the above 150,000 crowd attending the event, the sport looks highly attractive.