Fifteen-year-old Patrick (Zac Efron) hates playing baseball, but feels forced to by his father who used to be a successful baseball player. He spends a lot of time with Houston, an older African-American man who was a former Derby winner (steeplechase racing).
Patrick feels Houston understands him better than his own parents (seems to be a common theme in modern children’s books/movies). He finally tells his father he is quitting baseball and that Houston (an alcoholic) is going to train him to be a steeplechase rider. He will compete against the spoiled, rich son of a nearby stable owner (Randy Adams) who dislikes Houston and vandalizes his property.
I appreciated the approach Houston took with Patrick, having him develop a relationship with the horse first, rather than just jumping on and riding. The story line is pretty far-fetched with Patrick competing in the state steeplechase race after less than two months of lessons.
As if that weren't unbelievable enough, he doesn’t ride the horse at all for about a week before the race. Twenty minutes before post time, Patrick is still at the farm, someone having sabotaged their truck. He makes it to the race, gets the horse saddled, and appears at the track thirty seconds before the race begins.
The horse mysteriously switches from chestnut to bay at times. Didn't they think people would notice that?
Minimal bad language, Houston drinking (he quits in the movie), Patrick kissing girlfriend
My Rating for the Movie: 3
Equine Realism: 2
MPAA Rating: PG
Time (minutes): 98