Not able to grab tickets to this year’s derby or oaks? Don’t worry about it, as always Bob Costas will be pontificating about the plight of the equine industry this year on NBC. And more than that, as the world’s attention turns to Louisville derby related programming is all over the place, here’s a quick synopsis of some of that.
The cable network has been running classic Derbies through the years and will continue to do so Friday afternoon, in fact in many ways the station known for showing big guys beating the begeezus out of one another has become the in-depth derby network this week. Their classic derby analysis Friday will be leading up to their coverage of the Oaks at five.
Starting at 11 a.m. Versus will be out at Churchill Downs with analysis and the airing of the day’s prior races.
Versus will hand the baton off to their network brethren at four for NBC’s “Red Carpet Special,” this leading to coverage of the big event at five.
Of course, if you need to get in the Derby mood you can check out any of these horse racing classic movies- one for each decade from the 1930’s till today here goes.
From 1936 this comedy parallels modern Louisville actually in a lot of ways, believe it or not. An average guy inherits a bunch of racing horses, what follows is a debate between him and his mom about if gambling would be a positive option. Plus, the guy owns a wrestling company (OVW anyone?).
The Gentlemen from Arizona
From 1940 this light hearted comic/romance is centered around an ensemble cast around a local race track.
In 1957 this dramatic film told the story of a tough kid who moves to Kentucky where he finds solace in both a racehorse and a significant other.
Ride a Northbound Horse
From the often written about year of 1969 Ride a Northbound Horse was one of the first campy Disney family westerns, this one hinging around an orphan (shocking for these kinds of movies, I know) who’s life begins to take a turn when he comes across a cowboy and his two racehorses.
Run for the Roses
This drama from 1978 centers around a young Kentucky boy who gets his wish of a horse and despite it being injured he raises it to compete in the Kentucky Derby.
This slapstick comedy from 1986 stars Tim Conway, Harvey Korman, Jack Weston, and Ted Wass as a bunch of losers who stake their entire fortune on a horse race and I really like to say this phrase, wackiness ensues.
Based on the classic novel Black Beauty from 1994 tells the inspirational story of the famed horse and the people that surround her.
Quite possibly the most profitable movie on this list, 2003’s Seabiscuit is the story of another legendary racing horse and the odds against it.
Debuting during this year’s Christmas season War Horse will be the newest Steven Spielberg offering centering around a young man and his horse.
Photo: G. Jones/Associated Press