Looking for the best horse racing movies?
You’re in luck!
There are many fantastic films based on true stories and famous racehorses.
Here are my top picks.
16 Famous Horse Racing Movies
The best horse racing movies are pretty easy to find and watch. There are many, some classics from many years ago, true stories, and those featuring some of the most famous race horses in history.
Luckily, most are available to stream on various platforms, while others can be purchased from Amazon.
Let’s get started. I’m sure you’ll be breaking out the popcorn in no time after reading this list of horse racing movie titles.
Secretariat is one of my all-time favorite horse racing movies. This Disney movie follows the life of one of the world’s most famous racehorses from his birth to winning the Triple Crown.
Champion horse, Secretariat, won the Triple Crown in 1973. Prior to his win, no horse had won the elusive honor since 1948.  If you are a horse racing fan, you will love this story.
Diane Lane stars as Secretariat’s owner, Penny Chenery. Not only do you learn the story of this magnificent horse in this film, but you also become invested in the struggles and success of the characters.
You can stream Secretariat on Disney+. If you don’t subscribe to Disney+ you can buy or rent the movie on Prime Video.
If you don’t have Disney+ but are keen to watch horsey movies check out Netflix movie about a horse for some great ideas.
Here’s the movie trailer. I’m sure you will want to see the film after watching it!
Seabiscuit is the story of an underdog Thoroughbred racehorse. It is not only about the horse’s phenomenal racing achievements but the human equine bond. The horse helped the humans who saved him.
It is a beautiful, heartwarming story based on the book Seabiscuit: An American Legend by Laura Hillenbrand. The movie takes place during the Great Depression.
This 2003 movie stars Tobey Maguire and Jeff Bridges and is available to rent or buy on Prime Video. You can also find it on Showtime and fuboTV.
Check out the theatrical trailer here. It’s a really rags to riches story you will love.
Check out this video for other amazing horse movies on Netflix.
#3 Phar Lap
You might not have heard of Phar Lap, but this racing horse earned his spot amongst the best horses of all time. Phar Lap is one of the best movies about famous racehorses, at least I think so!
I was obsessed with this movie as a kid. I watched it so much I’m surprised the video still worked!
Phar Lap was a New Zealand bred Thoroughbred that was overlooked and bought for a bargain and taken to Australia in 1928 at the age of 2. He is considered an Australian racehorse since that is where he was based.
He is the second horse to have been dubbed ‘Big Red’ for his chestnut color and size. The first, another legend, was Man O’War and the most recent was Secretariat.
Like Seabiscuit, Phar Lap was a Great Depression era horse. The movie is exhilarating and emotional. Be warned, you might cry.
Unfortunately, it is a bit difficult to find this movie, but keep an eye out for it on Amazon.
Here’s the original trailer.
Horse racing genre isn’t the only type of film with horse stories. Check out this horse movies list for some of the best options.
#4 National Velvet
National Velvet is perhaps one of the most famous racehorse movies of all time. Released in 1944 the film stars a young Elizabeth Taylor as Velvet Brown and the legendary Mickey Rooney as Michael “Mi” Taylor.
This is feel good story about a young girl, Velvet, and a horse overcoming the odds to take part in the Grand National. Velvet wins a horse which she names The Pie. Mi a former jockey who gave up and is down on his luck is convinced to help Velvet as a horse trainer.
You can rent or buy it on Prime Video.
Here’s the trailer to this classic movie.
#5 Ride Like a Girl
Ride Like a Girl is one of the most recent movies about horse racing and was released in 2019.
It is an autobiographical film about Michelle Payne, the daughter of a racehorse trainer with big dreams about winning the Melbourne Cup. An achievement no other woman had done before.
You can stream Ride Like a Girl on Netflix or Hulu. You can also buy or rent it on Prime Video.
Here’s the trailer, check it out.
Champions is a 1984 movie based on the life and story of jockey Bob Champion. It follows how Bob Champion overcame a devastating diagnosis to go on to win the Grand National in 1981.
It stars John Hurt and Edward Woodward. You can buy or rent the movie on Prime Video.
Here’s the official trailer.
Dreamer is another beautiful racing movie based on a true story. It stars a young Dakota Fanning and Kurt Russel.
This is a story of family struggles, an injured racehorse, and a little girl’s bond with the horse.
You can stream Dreamer on Netflix or rent it from Prime Video.
Here’s the official trailer.
Ruffian is a 2007 movie that tells the story of one of the greatest racing mares in history. It is a TV movie that follows the accomplishments of this great mare and her tragic death that will definitely leave you emotional.
It stars Sam Shepard and Frank Whaley. To watch, the best way is to buy the Ruffian DVD from Amazon.
Take a peek at the trailer here.
#9 Racing Stripes
Racing Stripes is a super cute family movie that is a little different than other horse race movies. It features the life of a Zebra foal that is left behind after the circus visits and is taken in by a racehorse trainer.
The main character, a Zebra named Strips then has big dreams of becoming a ‘racehorse’.
You can stream it on HBO MAX or get in on Prime Video.
Here’s the trailer.
While Racing Stripes is for kids, not all the movies in my guide are, so check out horse movies for kids if you’re looking for something fun.
#10 The Black Stallion
I can’t create a list of the most famous horse racing movies without including The Black Stallion. This was another film I loved as a kid.
It is based on a book and was released in 1979, starring Mickey Rooney. The story starts in 1946 when a boy and a wild black stallion become stranded on a deserted island.
This is a truly classic film that even those who aren’t horse lovers will enjoy.
Take a look at the preview, you’ll add this to your must-watch movies after for sure!
There are a few ways to watch The Black Stallion which include, Prime Video rental, tubi, TCM, Hoopla, and PlutoTV.
#11 The Black Stallion Returns
The Black Stallion Returns is a book adaptation, just like the first installment of the movie. In this sequel, we catch up with Alex and Black on another adventure.
Black is kidnapped and taken to Morroco where Alec follows to save him. They end up taking part in a very different type of horse race.
Take a peek at what to expect from this popular movie.
Hidalgo is a biographical movie that features a different type of horse racing. It is the story of Frank Hopkins who was a long distance rider in the early 1890s.
Hidalgo is a Mustang that Hopkins takes to Arabia to enter the grueling 3,000-mile race, “Ocean of Fire”. A race previously restricted to the Arabian horse breed.
The movie stars Viggo Mortensen as Frank Hopkins and was released in 2004.
Watch Hidalgo on Prime Video, tubi, or Hoopla.
To get a taste of the movie, have a look at the trailer.
#13 50 to 1
If you follow horse racing, or at least the Kentucky Derby, you might have heard of the horse that came out of nowhere to win it in 2009, Mine That Bird.
What you might not know is that a movie was made about this horse’s interesting story. I only discovered the film recently, even though it was released in 2014.
The horse’s real life jockey, Calvin Borel, plays himself in the movie.
If you want to watch 50 to 1, head over to Prime Video to rent or buy it.
Here is the trailer, take a peek.
#14 The Derby Stallion
The Derby Stallion is a 2005 movie starring Zac Efron as Patrick McCardle. Patrick is a teen who dreams of riding horses instead of playing baseball, which his father forces him to do.
This is a feel good family movie when Patrick learns to overcome tragedy and fulfill his dream of steeplechase racing.
You’ll find The Derby Stallion on Prime Video to rent or Plex.
Check out the teaser here.
#15 Dark Horse: The Incredible True Story of Dream Alliance
Dark horse is a bit different than the other movies on my list, instead of a fictional or adapted story, this film is a documentary.
The documentary is the story of Dream Alliance, a horse of humble Welsh beginnings who goes on to win the Welsh Grand National.
If you want to learn about this amazing story head to Prime Video of fuboTV to watch.
Here’s the preview trailer.
Jockey is a 2021 film that made its debut at the Sundance Film Festival. It not only has a racing theme, is has a lot of focus on human struggles.
It stars Clifton Collins Jr. as Jackson Silva, a horse rider suffering some failing health. This is a little-known but excellent movie that’s worth putting on your must-watch list.
Unfortunately, it is a struggle to find this movie, but keep it in mind in case you spot it somewhere.
Watch the trailer here.
Is Winning Brew faster than Secretariat?
In one way, yes. Winning Brew was named the fastest horse ever by Guinness World Records when she ran ¼ mile in 20.57 seconds.  However, Secretariat was far more successful and broke speed records at several distances.
Has any horse ever beat Secretariat’s record?
To date, no horse has ever beat Secretariat’s speed records in various races. He still holds records for the Kentucky Derby and the Belmont Stakes.
What horse has never lost a race?
Several horses have never lost a race at the highest levels, including Black Caviar, Frankel, and Peppers Pride.
I hope you found plenty of choices in my best horse racing movies guide. There’s something for everyone here, and I’m sure you’ll want to watch more than one. I’ve seen them all!
Yes, I’m horse obsessed, but if you have a passion for these amazing animals you can never get enough. What’s your favorite racehorse movie? Let me know in the comments.
What are your favorite horse racing movies? Please share below!
- 1. Triple Crown Winners [Internet]. Kentuckyderby.com. 2020. Available from: https://www.kentuckyderby.com/history/derby-history/triple-crown-winners
- 2. Available from: 2 https://www.hartpury.ac.uk/media/6734/case-study-fastest-horsedocx.pdf
Siun is an all-around animal lover, with a passion for horses. She grew up in the United States, competing in the hunters, equitation, and jumpers. Now living in Ireland, she competes with her own showjumping horses. She is experienced in the care and training of horses, as well as teaching riding lessons. She loves to combine her love for horses with her work. When not working, Siun will be found at the stables, rain or shine.
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