The Winner's Circle


1h 10m 1948

Film Details

Release Date
Aug 1948
Premiere Information
Los Angeles opening: 8 Jun 1948
Production Company
Richard K. Polimer Productions, Inc.
Distribution Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 10m
Film Length
7 reels

Synopsis

In the Kentucky bluegrass country, a thoroughbred racehorse is born at Waldron Farm, one of the most noted horsebreeding establishments in the state. After the birth, Colonel Waldron and others remember all the champion racers bred on the farm, including Whirlaway, the greatest money winner of all time, and Gallant Fox, a Triple Crown winner. They also discuss the feats of Man O' War, bred at the nearby Faraway Farms, who was only defeated once in his career. During the days that follow, as the colt grows, the colonel recollects the only American race run by the great Australian horse, Phar Lap, and the day that Discovery won at Empire City. He also recalls the Preakness race in which War Admiral beat Pompoon, Bull Lea's victory at Hialeah, Equipoise's defeat of Mr. Kyan and the race in which Chase Me was destroyed after he broke his leg. As he remembers these great horses, he hopes that one of his new crop of foals might match their accomplishments. In August, the foals, who are all given an official birthday of January 1, are old enough to be sold. The colonel remembers that Alsab sold for $700 and then became one of the greatest racehorses in turf history. Jean Trent, whose father Tom owns racehorses, decides that she wants the colonel's foal, despite the misgivings of Dempsey, the Trent trainer. After Jean reminds the colonel that he once promised her the pick of his yearlings, he agrees to sell the foal to her rather than to veteran horseman Robert S. Howard, who is also interested in the young animal. Back at their farm in California, Jean's horse, now named Teacher's Pet reminds their groom Gus of Bold Venture, a horse that won the Kentucky Derby against all odds. Later, Bold Venture's son Assault won both the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness races. During his first real workout, Teacher's Pet's times are so slow that Dempsey suggests selling him, but Tom capitulates to Jean's request that they give the colt a chance to prove himself in a race at Santa Anita Race Track, the site of many notable races won by famous horses such as Rosemond, Stage Hand, War Admiral and Seabiscuit, in whose honor a statue was erected at the racetrack. Eventually Jean talks renowned jockey Johnny Longden into riding her horse, but a frightened Teacher's Pet throws the jockey, who suffers a chipped ankle. After the race, Jean's father tells her that she must sell the horse, and Howard buys him from the heartsick girl. The sale recalls the unhappy circumstances surrounding Azucar, another horse plagued by nervousness. After winning the Santa Anita Handicap in 1935, Azucar became frightened when a wreath was placed on him in the winner's circle. Azucar then started to lose races and ended up working as a pacing horse. Sometime later, Gus takes a job with Howard and becomes convinced that Teacher's Pet would perform better in long-distance races. In the meantime, Jean sells her car and jewelry and uses the proceeds to buy Teacher's Pet back from Howard. After Teacher's Pet turns three, Jean unsuccessfully tries to convince Longden's agent to allow the jockey to race for her. Longden, however, agrees to ride Teacher's Pet again and beats Jean's father's horse by four lengths. In the winner's circle, Tom kisses his persistent daughter.

Film Details

Release Date
Aug 1948
Premiere Information
Los Angeles opening: 8 Jun 1948
Production Company
Richard K. Polimer Productions, Inc.
Distribution Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 10m
Film Length
7 reels

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

The opening credits contain the following statement: "We acknowledge the generous assistance of a host of turf notables who have contributed their time and facilities to the making of this picture. We are particularly indebted to the officials of the Santa Anita Race Track, the Ryana Ranch, and to the Racing Form." The film's story is intermittently narrated by Elliot Lewis as the voice of the horse "Teacher's Pet." Stock footage of famous races, printed in sepia, is interwoven with the fictional story. On July 13, 1950, Hollywood Reporter reported that producer Richard K. Polimer was suing Twentieth Century-Fox, contending that the studio did not properly promote his film. The disposition of the suit is not known. The Winner's Circle marked the motion picture debut of actor and former baseball player John Berardino.