50 TO 1

"Friendship and Faith Overcome Obstacles"


What You Need To Know:

50 TO 1 is a sports drama about the New Mexico cowboy who trained a longshot horse in the 2009 Kentucky Derby. Ten years after rescuing him in bar fight, racehorse trainer Chip Woolley is hired by Mark Allen to train horses at Mark’s ranch. Chip recommends buying a really fast, quirky racehorse in Canada named Mine That Bird. They face many obstacles trying to turn the horse into a winner. Unexpectedly, they get an invite to the Kentucky Derby because of the horse’s Canadian success. More obstacles occur, including the snooty attitudes of the Derby’s elite horse crowd.

50 TO 1 is an entertaining story about friendship and persistence. Though it sometimes meanders, it has a big finish. The third act also contains some inspiring elements of Christian faith when the New Mexico cowboys find a worthy jockey in the form of Derby winner Calvin Borel. Despite the positive elements, however, 50 TO 1 contains an excessive amount of PG-13 foul language, some hard drinking, and a couple lewd moments. So, extreme caution is advised, especially for older teenagers.


(Pa, BB, CC, LLL, V, S, AA, M) Light pagan, mixed worldview with pagan content, moral content, and overt Christian content, which includes man crosses himself before a big race, man points to Heaven, man honors his late parents, and faith and friendship overcome obstacles; 34 obscenities (an equal number or so of “h,” “s,” “d,” and a** words), two strong profanities mentioning Jesus, and eight light profanities (such as OMG); bar fight with punching and kicking and men hit with chairs, vehicles almost crash, and man suffers broken leg from motorcycle crash and is painfully on crutches the rest of the movie; brief sexual connotations because one character seems to be a ladies man, woman sits on man’s lap, man can’t remember one woman’s name at a small party, woman makes eyes at man at another party; no nudity; alcohol use and drunkenness; no smoking or drugs; and, poker gambling, mostly implied racehorse gambling, and cowboy horse trainer dismisses female exercise rider, apparently because she’s a woman, so they have some conflict.

More Detail:

50 TO 1 is a sports drama about the cowboy who trained a longshot horse in the 2009 Kentucky Derby. The movie meanders a bit in the beginning and middle, but has a big finish. Caution is warranted for some foul language, drinking and innuendo.

The movie opens in 1998. A cowboy named Chip Woolley comes to the aid of another cowboy, Mark Allen, who’s being pummeled by three other guys in a bar. The two rodeo riders go their separate ways, with Mark saying he’s going to Alaska with his father to work in the oil fields.

Ten years later, Chip is training racehorses with his older brother, Bill. Their company, however, is facing bankruptcy, with a stack of unpaid bills higher than their prospects. Chip hears that Mark is back in town and runs a quarter-horse training facility nearby. During a night of partying, Mark offers Chip a job training horses. His first job is to go up to Canada to take a look at a thoroughbred horse named Mine That Bird.

In Canada, Chip is amazed at the horse’s speed. With help from a business partner, a longtime veterinarian named Doc, Mark buys the horse. However, the jockeys they pick can’t seem to capitalize on Mine That Bird’s innate talent. So, they lose race after race, and Mark begins to doubt Chip’s training abilities.

Suddenly, Mark gets word that Mine That Bird’s winning performances in Canada qualify it for the 2009 Kentucky Derby. Partly as a lark, he and Doc decide to take a chance and enter the horse. Against Doc’s better judgment, Mark decides to keep his friend Chip as the trainer, though Chip doesn’t get along with the young female exercise rider, Alex.

With Chip’s career on the line, the Derby becomes his last chance at success. However, things don’t look good when Chip encounters more obstacles getting Mine That Bird to the Derby in Louisville. Only a miracle can save the day.

50 TO 1 is a story about friendship and persistence. After a strong opening, the movie meanders a bit. Despite its speed, the horse in question turns out to have a quirky nature, but the movie relegates the horse to the sidelines in the middle. Also, the conflict between Chip and the female rider takes focus away from Chip’s friendship with Mark. Things come back into focus at the end, when the two cowboys, the vet, the female rider, and their horse become the laughing stock of the horseracing elitists at the Derby. The team finds their miracle man in jockey Calvin Borel, the 2007 Derby winner who suddenly found himself without a horse. Calvin, who plays himself in the movie in an appealing performance, guides Mine That Bird on the inside rail to accomplish one of the most memorable finishes in Derby history.

50 TO 1 has a moral center to it in that Mark sticks by his friend, Chip, despite the obstacles Chip encounters. Also, when Calvin joins the team as the jockey, the movie shows that Calvin’s committed to his Catholic faith in God and Jesus before the race. Calvin also honors his late parents before and after the race. Finally, Mark prays to God at the Derby that God lets their horse not embarrass them and at least finish in the Top 10. Calvin’s faith and Mark’s prayer are answered in a truly amazing way.

Despite this positive content, there’s plenty of drinking in 50 TO 1. In one sequence, Chip gets inebriated and wins a bunch of money at a poker game. However, his winnings aren’t enough to save his ranch. Also, Mark is shown to be a ladies man in two scenes. In one scene, he forgets the name of a girl at a party. In another scene, he’s enticed by another girl at another party. 50 TO 1 also has an excessive amount of PG-13 language.

All in all, 50 TO 1 is clearly not as good or as wholesome as Disney’s SECRETARIAT movie about another famous racehorse, which was directed by Randall Wallace, the director of HEAVEN IS FOR REAL. So, although most moviegoers probably will enjoy 50 TO 1, strong or extreme caution is advised.

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