Mine That Bird 50 to 1 Movie Brings Pride to New Mexico

One of the biggest upsets in horse racing history came at the 135th Kentucky Derby on May 2, 2009. New Mexico’s “Mine That Bird” American Thoroughbred horse, at 50-1 odds, started the race as expected – in dead last place, eight lengths behind the second to last place horse. It looked like it would be a dead-last finish.

But then something magical happened.

After that first stretch of the Kentucky Derby, Mine That Bird turned up the heat and one by one began passing other horses. Showing amazing speed and agility, Mine That Bird overtook the entire field of favorites and won the Kentucky Derby by more than six lengths. It was one of the most stunning results ever at the Kentucky Derby and the second biggest upset ever in the history of the race.

The Kentucky Derby History

The Kentucky Derby, held annually at Louisville, Kentucky, is one of the biggest horse races and part of the “Triple Crown”. The Kentucky Derby has been run every year, without fail, since 1875. It is consistently the highest attended and watch horse race in the United States. The first ever live radio broadcast of The Kentucky Derby occurred in 1925. In 1949, the race was first broadcast on TV.

The Kentucky Derby has many nicknames, but the most frequent is “The Run for the Roses.” Every year, the winner of the Kentucky Derby has a blanket of 564 red roses presented to them. The origins of this tradition are traced back to 1883 when E. Berry Wall (a New York socialite) gave ladies roses at a post-Derby party in which the Churchill Downs founder was in attendance. That gave founder Col. M. Lewis Clark the idea to make the rose the official flower of the Derby. In 1896, the first “blanket” of roses was given to the winner.

Mine That Bird History

Mine That Bird was born in Kentucky, but trained in Canada until 2008 when the horse was sold to Mark Allen and Leonard “Doc” Blach who took the horse to their ranches in Roswell, New Mexico, for training by U.S. Racing Hall of Fame trainer Richard Mandella. Prior to being sold, Mine That Bird had won the award of “2008 Canadian Champion 2-yr-old Male Horse” after winning four of his six starts.

Mine That Bird didn’t experience immediate success. The gelding came in last at the 2008 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile race. A new trainer was brought in, Chip Woolley, and the first two races of 2009 resulted in a second and fourth place victory. the history of Mine That Bird qualified it to be one of the Kentucky Derby participants, but the lack of great finishes since being acquired by the New Mexico duo resulted in the horse being given 50-1 odds with a prediction of a last-place finish.

The Kentucky Derby Race

The 2009 Kentucky Derby Race was a very dramatic race for Mine That Bird. Right out of the gate, the horse was in dead last by several lengths. Not until the last stretch did the horse turn up the heat and, via the inside, pass every single horse and win the Kentucky Derby by several lengths. It remains one of the most dramatic victories ever in horse racing history.

Video of the 2009 Kentucky Derby Race

Here is the video of the 2009 Kentucky Derby Race:

Honored by the State of New Mexico

Months after the impossible victory by Mine That Bird, the state of New Mexico was still buzzing with pride. The horse from New Mexico was reason for celebration throughout the state. Nine months after that victory, On February 11, 2010, the New Mexico State House of Representatives voted, unanimously, to name Mine That Bird “Horse of the Year” for 2009.

50 to 1 Movie

On April 18, 2014, a movie on Mine That Bird’s incredible victory will open in theaters nationwide. Titled “50 to 1”, the movie stars Skeet Ulrich, Christian Kane, William Devane, Madelyn Deutch, Todd Lowe, and David Atkinson. The real jockey for Mine That Bird, Calvin Borel, appears as himself in the movie.
The synopsis for the movie is as follows:

“A misfit group of New Mexico cowboys find themselves on the journey of a lifetime when their crooked-footed racehorse qualifies for the Kentucky Derby. Based on the inspiring true story of Mine That Bird, the cowboys face a series of mishaps on their way to Churchill Downs, becoming the ultimate underdogs in a final showdown with the world’s racing elite.”
As a tribute to the New Mexico heritage of the horse (and the movie being filed in New Mexico), the “50 to 1” filmmakers decided to do a special New Mexico tour/screening throughout the last two weeks of March. Actors and crew from the movie made stops all throughout New Mexico, including Santa Fe, giving New Mexico residents an advanced screening the movie.

50 to 1 Movie Trailer

Here is the movie trailer for 50 to 1:

Video: The Inspiration Behind 50-1

Here is a short video on the inspiration behind the 50-1 movie:

The Triple Crown

After shocking the world and winning the Kentucky Derby, Mine That Bird entered the 2009 Preakness Stakes. But the jockey who rode Mine That Bird in the Kentucky Derby, Borel, was already promised to another horse for the Preakness. Ironically, Mine That Bird finished second and Borel, on Rachel Alexandria, finished in first. For the final stretch of the Triple Crown, the Belmont Stakes, Borel was back on Mine That Bird, pulling out a third-place finish. The incredible Kentucky Derby win would be the last first-place finish for Mine That Bird, but one of the most memorable races ever.


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