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Golden Hoofs

Golden Hoofs(1941)

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Teenaged horse enthusiast Jane Drake has spent most of her life training the trotting horses of the Yankee Stock Farm in Bingham. She is horrified when she learns that the farm has been sold to race horse breeder Dean MacArdle, who intends to sell the trotters to make room for his "bangtails," the term used by the locals for race horses. Jane is especially worried about her favorite horse, "Yankee Doodle," who has a fever. Dean agrees to sell Doodle to Jane and her grandfather, Dr. Timothy Drake, for five dollars, and as time passes, Jane nurses the horse back to health. Jane is then upset when Dean tells her that he intends to bring regular racing to the Hiatgoa racetrack, the traditional home of harness racing. She believes that he can be persuaded to change his mind, however, and as she spends time telling him the history of the sport, she develops a crush on him. She finally convinces Dean to enter "Yankee Clipper" in the upcoming Hiatoga Stakes, and he agrees that if her training turns Clipper into a winner, he will keep part of the farm for trotters. Jane assures Dean that Clipper will win the Hiatoga, whose winners are called "Golden Hoofs" because their hoofs are painted gold after the race, because only Doodle could beat him, and Doc cannot drive Doodle because of a promise he made to Jane's grandmother never to race again. Jane then teaches Dean how to drive, and he soon becomes as big a fan of harness racing as she is. Later, while Doc worries about how to raise $15,000 to build a local hospital, Jane prepares a box lunch for a barn dance, hoping that Dean will buy her lunch. She encloses in the box her late father's lucky charm--a rag doll horse named "Golden Hoofs"--but when Dean's fiancée, Cornelia Hunt, arrives, the little horse ends up with Mose, Jane's stableboy friend. Jane is devastated by the appearance of Cornelia and tries to persuade Doc to enter Doodle in the race in order to beat Dean. Doc explains that he vowed to his wife that he would never race again after Jane's father was killed in a race, but Jane convinces him to break his promise by stating that he could use the money for his hospital. On the day of the race, which is won when a horse wins two heats, Jane despairs over the loss of her rag horse. While Mose rushes home to get the charm, Doc and Doodle win the first heat. Mose is injured when he falls off a wagon, however, and Doc must leave to tend to him. Dean wins the heat held while Doc is gone, but determined to give Doc a sporting chance, has the next heat delayed until he returns from saving Mose. Doodle is too winded to win again though, and Clipper edges him out by a head. Thrilled by the experience, Dean gives Doc the prize money for his hospital and shakes hands with Jane to cement their partnership.