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A disgraced jockey teaches a boy to ride and cheat.
At Claremont Park, Walter Garnet, the prominent horse trainer for Ranley Stables, watches with interest as apprentice jockey Benny McNeil practices on his horse, Sweet Lou. Later, Garnet visits sixteen-year-old Benny at his stables, but Benny, a former New York bootblack, fails to recognize the trainer and is flippant with him. Unruffled by Benny's tough attitude, Garnet suggests that Sweet Lou, whose leg is sore, should not run in its next scheduled race. Benny rejects Garnet's advice, but is surprised when his mentor, former star jockey Tom Harrigan, agrees to sell Sweet Lou to Garnet as a breeding mare. When Benny sadly delivers Sweet Lou to Garnet the next day, Garnet praises his riding abilities, as well as his rapport with horses, but cautions him that his "head is too big." Later, on Benny's birthday, Tom, whose own career was marred by race fixing, thrills Benny by giving him his old racing saddle, on which he won many important races. Tom is worried that Benny will soon grow too big to be a jockey and tells his adoring protege that they must earn as much as they can now. Tom then introduces Benny to bookie Jed Jerrett, with whom Tom plans to make money during the upcoming racing season. Benny wins his next race, but is accused by fellow rider Etley of illegal bumping. Although the track official declines to rule against Benny, he does issue him a warning. Now concerned that Benny will be driven out of the sport, Tom sells his contract with Benny to Garnet. Benny then assures Jerrett that once Benny is riding in the big races, he will be "taking orders" from him. Although his move to the spacious Ranley Stables is a step up, Benny is angry and sad to leave Tom. Benny's pain is aggravated when McNamara, Ranley's star jockey, plays a practical joke on him by moving him into Garnet's cottage. The next morning, the two jockeys engage in a brawl, and Garnet punishes Benny by demoting him to stableboy. Benny relieves his subsequent boredom by showing aspiring jockey "Skip" how to use counting to win races and spending time with the expectant Sweet Lou. Later, Benny bets McNamara that Skip, using his new counting system, can beat him on the stable's best horse. Skip wins the race, but Garnet is furious at Benny for not clearing the competition with him beforehand. Garnet's strictness makes Benny yearn for Tom, but he continues to work as Garnet's stableboy. One day, while Skip is practicing a starting-gate trick that Benny has just devised, his horse throws him and he is badly injured. After helping Sweet Lou deliver her colt that stormy night, Benny sneaks away from the stables and returns to Tom. The down-and-out Tom instructs Benny to go back to Garnet and pretend to be contrite long enough to become a Ranley jockey. Tom assures Benny that he can get his revenge on Garnet, as well as making some money, by throwing his first big race. Benny is surprised when Garnet acts genuinely pleased to see him back and asks him to take care of the mares and foals. Benny strives to impress Garnet, who eventually rewards him by picking him to be a jockey during the next racing season. Now conflicted, Benny asks Garnet for permission to stay at the stables, but Garnet insists that Benny go. When Benny is selected to replace McNamara in the Victory Handicap, Tom sends for his protege. As feared, Tom asks Benny to throw the race, but Benny refuses, angering Tom. After Benny leaves, Jerrett informs Tom that he has arranged with the revenge-hungry Etley to insure that Benny does not win the race. The next day, Garnet and Ranley learn that Benny went to see Tom and Jerrett, and Benny is accused of cutting a deal with the bookie. Benny convinces Garnet of his innocence, however, and is allowed to ride in the Handicap. Just before the race, a remorseful Tom sends Benny a note, instructing him to win and stay clear of Etley, then cheers him on from the track's upper deck. Despite Etley's attempted leg-lock, Benny wins the race. When Jerrett, who has been ruined by losing his large bet against Benny, angrily blames the boy for double-crossing him, Tom admits that he encouraged Benny to win. Hearing this, Jerret throws a punch at Tom, causing him to fall over a railing to the level below. Benny and Garnet are summoned from the winner's circle and arrive in time to hear a dying Tom tell them how proud he is.
Cast & Crew
|MPAA Ratings:||Premiere Info:||not available|
|Release Date:||1943||Production Date:||
|Color/B&W:||Distributions Co:||Loew's Inc.|
|Sound:||Production Co:||Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.|
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