'50-1' follows journey of Kentucky Derby winner
In this Oct. 18, 2012 image provided by Allied-THA, from left to right, Mark Allen, played by actor Christian Kane, Leonard ‘Doc’ Blach played by William Devane, producer and director Jim Wilson and Joanne Blach, played by Tish Rayburn-Miller, talk about a scene during filming at Churchill Downs for the movie “50-1." (AP Photo/Ben Glass, Courtesy of Allied-THA)
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The improbable journey of Mine That Bird from southern New Mexico to the Kentucky Derby winner's circle has made it to the silver screen.
The cast and filmmakers of "50-1" were embarking Monday on a cross-country tour to promote the movie. After making a few stops between Las Cruces and Roswell, they're set to arrive in Albuquerque for Wednesday's world premiere at the historic KiMo Theatre.
They will spend the next month weaving their way across the country until they reach Kentucky, with Mine That Bird scheduled to make appearances along the way.
Oscar-winning producer and director Jim Wilson describes it as a "rock star-style tour" that will cover 10,000 miles and provide him and the others with a chance to meet and talk with fans.
"I thought, why not meet the audience this movie is intended for, introduce them to the stars and shake their hands," Wilson said. "It's the audience that matters the most. It's why we make these stories, to share them with the world."
The story of Mine That Bird — a little horse with an unsightly gait — is an incredible one.
Cowboy hat-wearing trainer Chip Woolley loaded the gelding in a trailer, hitched it to back of his pickup truck in 2009, and drove 1,500 miles to the Kentucky Derby, arriving largely unnoticed.
During the race, an inspired ride on the rail by jockey Calvin Borel produced one of the greatest upsets in 135 years of America's most famous horse race. With 50-1 odds, Mine That Bird pulled away in the stretch to post a 6 3/4-length victory on the sloppy track.
In this Oct. 14, 2012 image provided by Allied-THA, Chip Woolley, played by actor Skeet Ulrich, kneels on the muddy racetrack in a scene from the movie “50-1." (AP Photo/Courtesy of Allied-THA.
Wilson, a racehorse owner himself, remembers watching it on television. It couldn't have been more visual — or more perfect — for a filmmaker, he said.
"This horse was so far back he was off the TV screen. It was bad," he said. "So when he passes 18 horses in the last quarter mile, it was just stunning. And he didn't just pass them, he just blew by them."
Mine That Bird went on to finish second in the Preakness Stakes and third in the Belmont Stakes. Now retired, he resides in Roswell with owners Mark Allen of Double Eagle Ranch and Leonard Blach of Buena Suerte Equine.
The film, scheduled to open Friday in New Mexico and later in several other states, stars Skeet Ulrich as Woolley, Christian Kane as Allen, Todd Lowe, William Devane, Madelyn Deutch and Borel as himself.