8 Amazing Little Known Thoroughbred Horse Movies

Sharing is caring!


You have probably already heard of Thoroughbred horse movies like Dreamer, National Velvet, Seabiscuit, and Secretariat. But what about films such as Bite the Bullet, Champions, Ruffian, and The Cup?

If you haven’t heard of them, you are missing out on some amazing Thoroughbred horse movies!

Make sure to also check our list of popular horse movies!

8 Thoroughbred Horse Movies to Binge-Watch!

1. 50 to 1

50 to 1 is a 2014 drama movie based on the true story of “Mine That Bird.” Who is an undersized Thoroughbred racehorse who won the 2009 Kentucky Derby with 50 to 1 odds.

The movie is about a misfit group of New Mexico cowboys. They started on a lifetime journey when their small racehorse qualified for the Kentucky Derby in 2009.

50 to 1 stars Skeet Ulrich as Chip Woolley, Christian Kane as Mark Allen, and William Devane as Leonard “Doc” Blach.

2. Bite the Bullet

 Bite the Bullet is a 1975 action, adventure, Western movie. It’s about a group of contrasting individuals who enter a horse race to win a large cash prize. 

The group includes Luke Matthew (played by James Coburn) and Sam Clayton (played by Gene Hackman). They play two former Rough Riders. It also stars Miss Jones (played by Candice Bergen), a former prostitute, Mister (played by Ben Johnson), an aging cowboy. 

Sir Harry Norfolk (played by Ian Bannen), an English gentleman, and Carbo (played by Jan-Michael Vincent), an inexperienced punk kid. 

The group enters a grueling 700-mile horse race through the Southwest desert. 

They race against a Thoroughbred champion pedigree horse. 

The horse is owned by a wealthy man named Jack Parker (played by Dabney Coleman), who intends to win the race at any cost.

ALSO CHECK: Horse Racing Movies Based on True Story

3. Champions

This is a 1984 biographical, drama, romance movie. It is based on the true story of Bob Champion, an English steeple chase jockey. 

After a testicular cancer diagnosis, Bob Champion decides to fight his disease rather than succumb. 

Miraculously, he recovers. And with his Chestnut colored racehorse named Aldaniti, he won the 1981 Grand National horse race at the Aintree Racecourse in Liverpool, England.

ALSO CHECK: Good Horse Movies on Netflix

4. Ruffian

Ruffian is 2007 biographical, sports, drama, and movie. It’s about the real-life story of Ruffian, a champion Thoroughbred filly. 

Ruffian was undefeated in 10 races. During her 11th race, on July 6, 1975, at the Belmont Park in Elmont, she broke both sesamoid bones in her right foreleg. 

Four veterinarians and an orthopedic surgeon attempted surgery, but, in the end, Ruffian had to be euthanized. 

The movie stars Sam Shepard as Frank Whiteley, Ruffian’s trainer.

5. Run for the Roses

Run for the Roses is a 1977 sports drama movie. 

It focuses on Juanito Hernandez (played by Panchito Gomez). A boy from Puerto Rico finds himself in Kentucky. 

He befriends a Thoroughbred horse that he believes can win the Kentucky Derby. 

After the horse undergoes an operation, Juanito takes care of the horse until he fully recovers.

He then convinces the horse’s owner, Clarissa Stewart (played by Vera Miles), and the horse’s trainer, Charlie (played by Stuart Whitman), that the horse has an excellent chance to win the Kentucky Derby.

RECOMMENDED: Horse Films for Kids

6. The Cup

The Cup is a 2011 biographical drama and sports movie about the 2002 Melbourne Cup. 

Australia’s most prestigious annual Thoroughbred horse race. 

This one was held on November 5, 2002, at Flemington Racecourse. 

The race was won by jockey Damien Oliver (played by Stephen Curry), trainer Dermot Weld (played by Brendan Gleeson), and Media Puzzle, an Irish horse. 

Just a few days before the 2002 Melbourne Cup, on October 29, 2002, Damien’s older brother, Jason Oliver (played by Daniel MacPherson), who was also a jockey, died after a fall during a race trial at Belmont Park Racecourse in Western Australia.

7. The First Saturday in May

The First Saturday in May is a 2007 sports documentary. It follows six diverse horse trainers and their Thoroughbred horses preparing for the 2006 Kentucky Derby. 

This includes 

  • Frank Amonte and his horse Achilles of Troy (who was sidelined due to soreness). 
  • Michael Matz and his horse Barbaro (winner of the race). 
  • Robert Holthus and his horse Lawyer Ron (who finished 12th). 
  • Dan Hendricks and his horse Brother Derek (who finished 4th in a dead heat with Jazil). 
  • Kiaran McLaughlin and his horse Jazil (who finished 4th in a dead heat with Brother Derek). 
  • Dale Romans and his horse Sharp Humor (who finished 19th).

Make sure to also check our list of the best horse tv shows on Netflix.

8. The Rocking Horse Winner

This is a 1949 drama, and fantasy movie adapted from the 1926 short story, of the same name, by D.H. Lawrence. 

It is about a young boy named Paul Grahame (played by John Howard Davies) who receives a rocking horse for Christmas. 

While rocking at breakneck speeds, Paul soon discovers that he can pick the winning horse with complete accuracy at all the horse races. 

Paul’s mother, Hester Grahame (played by Valerie Hobson), is greedy and irresponsible and constantly complains about the family’s lack of wealth. 

Paul’s luck changes the family’s wealth for a short time until things turn for the worse.

Here are some of the most famous horse racing movies.

Final Thoughts

If you are a fan of horse movies, or just want to watch something interesting and new, I would definitely recommend giving some of these underrated Thoroughbred horse movies a try.

You may be surprised by how much you enjoy them!

Thoroughbred horse running

What are your favorite thoroughbred horse movies? Please share below!


Deanna has a knack for finding amazing entertainment ideas for horse lovers! When she’s not writing, Deanna loves listening to country music, or watching Dancing With The Stars.
Read her : Latest Articles

Leave a Comment


Want The Best Care For Your Horse? Subscribe to our EXPERT RIDER Tips