Category Archives: Historical

Racing Films & Panel Featured at EQUUS Film Festival

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Image & art courtesy of ©Beatrice Bulteau & Suzanne Kopp-Moskow
A broad-based panel comprised of racing industry professionals and film makers will present “The Right Side of the Track: The Positive Side of Horse Racing” at 3:15 p.m., Friday, November 20, at the EQUUS Film Festival in New York City. The panel  will include a 15 minute film, The Black Turf Project, which looks at the role black jockeys have in racing history incl as first winners of the KY Derby. The racing films will be screened throughout the festival.

L. A. Pomeroy of Equestrian Media Services will moderate the panel that includes: 

  • Nicholas Carter & Drew Perkins, directors, Racing the Times film
  • Daryle Ann Lindley Giardino, Executive Producer, Behind The Gate film
  • Gary Contessa, licensed Thoroughbred trainer and racing educator, Contessa Racing Stable
  • Ross Peddicord, Program Executive Director, MD Horse Industry Board
  • Ken Brown, The Black Turf Project film
  • Rachel Connolly Kwock, Producer/Director, Riding in Stride film

Yes that’s four films covering horse racing being screened at the festival! Check for times here.

 Celebration of horses
You’ll find feature films, documentaries, shorts, even commercials from every corner of the U.S. as well as from Europe, Tibet and India. Find all festival information on the website and Facebook page.

Starting with a VIP party (attend with a free pass) at Manhattan Saddlery on Thursday evening, over the next two days the EQUUS Film Festival features juried screenings on Friday and Saturday, and several lectures and directors’ panels that range from wild horses to horse racing, with discussions about horse psyches and welfare issues too.

A common thread throughout the films and panels is telling the stories of horses. For this festival, horses aren’t supporting cast, they are the main characters and catalysts. Festival founder Lisa Diersen, started with this premise three years ago, in St. Charles, Illinois. Since then, the festival has moved to Manhattan and settled in to the landmark Village East Cinema, that is a showcase venue for other festivals including the esteemed Tribeca Film Festival. Activities other than screenings will take place at the Ukrainian National Home at 140-142 2nd Avenue, 2nd floor.

The legend of Snowman

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Photo courtesy of Harry and Snowman/©Budd Photo

Not to be missed is Harry and Snowman, the tale of a discarded Amish plow horse, destined for slaughter, who was given a reprieve by a post-WWII émigré from Holland, Harry de Leyer. Without giving everything away, Snowman becomes a national celebrity and a cherished member of de Leyer’s family. Film maker Ron Davis put out a call to the horse show community and was able to interview de Leyer’s contemporaries and to access amateur and professional vintage photos and footage of Snowman and de Leyer in action. The de Leyer family, including Harry, is integral to the film.

Kids and horses … free activities!
Of interest to families, children are welcome to a morning full of horse-themed activities at the Li’l Herc’s Kids Fest Children’s Film Screening & Fest – at no cost, but reservations are required. This event is at Ukrainian National Home.

In addition to the films, the theater will house a Literary Corner where authors of equestrian-themed literature will be available to meet the public and sign books. A Pop-Up Artist, Filmmakers & Literary Gallery will be featured Friday and Saturday afternoons at the Ukrainian National Home.

EQUUS festival attendance and ticket costs start at free for Lil Herc’s Kids Fest and Thursday’s VIP reception (both require reservations) to $250 for a full-immersion Pony VIP all-access pass. Screening options are $35-$50.

Move Over Soccer, Here Comes Team Pharoah

2Tonko Letter to WH (1) (1)
Citing the tradition of the White House honoring America’s leading athletes, Representative Paul Tonko, the Co-Chairman of the Congressional Horse Caucus has requested the accomplishments of Triple Crown winner American Pharoah and his team be honored in a White House ceremony.

In a July 14 letter to President Barack Obama, Tonko, who represents New York’s 20th Congressional District that includes Saratoga Race Course, outlined the accomplishments of American Pharoah’s Triple Crown campaign.


Video courtesy of America’s Best Racing

Secretariat Redux, Updated Articles, Videos!

Secretariat needs no introduction.

The images of his glowing copper form streaking past the Belmont Stakes’ finish line, thereby winning the Triple Crown, are forever burnished in our collective minds.

I’ve parsed through countless (it seems) clips, articles and websites covering Secretariat. Here is a selection of my favorites. Enjoy!

UPDATES

Triple Crown 2015: Why Secretariat was the greatest ever” Jerry Izenberg, The Star Ledger

Secretariat birthplace designated historic siteAssociated Press, Virginia Pilot

SI 60 Q&A: William Nack on what ‘Pure Heart’ and Secretariat mean to himTed Keith, Sports Illustrated

“Secretariat’s Jockey on Winning the Triple Crown at Belmont, 40 Years Ago”  Andrew Cohen, The Atlantic Monthly

 

 Life & Times of Secretariat, YouTube.com, PlanetHorseDVD

VIDEOS
New Bonus!!  SECRETARIAT – Heart Of A Champion 13 minute featurette including vintage clips and clips from Disney’s Secretariat film

Penny Chenery, owner of Secretariat, sits down with BloodHorse.com‘s Lenny Shulman to share her remembrances of Big Red and his legendary career.

The Immortal SECRETARIAT, Enjoy Big Red living large on the farm, with his handlers and admirers remembering his personality and greatness. YouTube.com, cf1970

Secretariat, ESPN Classic’s SportsCentury.

Secretariat Didn’t Like Roses!, This is a rare clip of Secretariat after the 1973 Kentucky Derby. After he got the roses, he tried to bolt! Check out how mature he is, a neck like a 4- or 5-year old… YouTube

FILMS

Penny & Red, The Life of Secretariat’s Owner, 2013

Secretariat, 2010

WEB SITES
Secretariat.com: Out of the gate … and into history

Secretariat’s Meadow Blog

Secretariat. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Eddie Sweat. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

PERIODICALS
“Secretariat Remains No. 1 Name in Racing” by Ron Flatter, Special to ESPN.com

“Putting A New Light On The Derby” by Whitney Tower, Sports Illustrated, April 30, 1973 Before the 1973 Kentucky Derby, Whitney Tower scrutinizes the Derby field.

“Crunch Went The Big Red Apple” by George Plimpton, Sports Illustrated, July 09, 1973

“Pure Heart”by William Nack, Sports Illustrated, October 24, 1994. In this SI Classic from 1990, Nack relives the greatest ride of his life: Secretariat’s thrilling career as a racehorse.

“Secretariat” by Dan Illman, DRF.Com, September 23, 2010

“To the Swift: Red Smith on Secretariat”by the New York Times, June 6, 2008

BOOKS
Secretariat: The Making of a Champion By William Nack

Secretariat’s Meadow by Kate Chenery Tweedy

The Big Red Horse, The Secretariat Story by Lawence Scanlan, For young readers and up.

Secretariat, by Raymond Woolfe, Jr. and Ron Turcotte

The Horse God Built: The Untold Story of Secretariat, the World’s Greatest Racehorse by Lawrence Scanlan

 

BIZARRE

SECRETARIAT WAS NOT A CHRISTIAN” Roger Ebert, RogerEbert.com

 

Alfred Vanderbilt Selected By Racing Hall of Fame

The National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame has announced
the selection of Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt to be inducted into the
Pillars of the Turf category

Through his contributions to Thoroughbred racing that resonate to this day, Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt, 1912-1999, was one of the architects of the golden years of racing spanning the 20th century. The young man who devised the match race of the century between Seabiscuit and War Admiral, and whose homebred Native Dancer influences the pedigrees of Thoroughbreds to this day, became a horseman accepted as a peer by the finicky and fickle population that makes up horse racing.

Whereas Vanderbilt had to earn his racing stripes one at a time, outside of the track milieu his own pedigree from a storied American family gave him advantages in terms of access and wealth. A great-great-grandson of transportation and shipping magnate Cornelius “Commodore” Vanderbilt, young Alfred lost his father in 1915 when the Lusitania sank. As an adult, one week might find Vanderbilt sitting outside the Dancer’s stall shooting the breeze with Lester Murray, Dancer’s groom. The next week he might be on safari with Ernest Hemingway.

As a teenager, the racing bug sank its bite into Vanderbilt and never let go. At 21, he was given his mother’s racing stable and its horse farm base in Maryland, Sagamore Farm. Racehorses raised at Sagamore include Native Dancer, Find, Bed o’ Roses and the memorably named Social Outcast. Vanderbilt’s cerise and white silks were immediately recognizable out on the track and in the winners’ circle. Those silks were last seen as his homebred filly Opening Address was sent out alone to gallop over the Aqueduct track as part of Vanderbilt’s memorial service in December 1999.

Alfred Vanderbilt sports illustrated coverVanderbilt’s involvement in racing went far beyond being an owner-breeder. He had a knack for racecourse management and brought his skills to Pimlico, the Westchester Racing Association − the precursor of the New York Racing Association (NYRA). He was chair of the board and CEO of NYRA for four years. Early on in his racing career, Vanderbilt was dissatisfied with the starting procedures of racing so he developed the starting gate; at the other end of a race, Vanderbilt pioneered the use of a photo-finish camera.

In August 1963, Vanderbilt was featured in a Sports Illustrated cover story that outlined his concerns about where racing was headed and what was needed to remedy the situation. The points made in the article concerning industry leadership and uniform standards are as relevant today as they were 52 years ago.

One of Vanderbilt’s roles outside of racing was as an advocate for veterans. He served as a lieutenant on a PT boat in the Pacific in World War II, earning a Silver Star for gallantry. After the war, he was the head of the World Veterans’ Fund.