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Thoroughbred Documentary on PBS

From Central Kentucky to Dubai, THOROUGHBRED captures the beauty of the breed, reveals the people whose lives revolve around this legendary creature, and explores the history and traditions of the Thoroughbred world. These majestic animals are more than just a pretty face; even those outside the inner-circle of racing respect the breed’s amazing strength and stamina. The primetime PBS documentary is a production of Kentucky Educational Television (KET), produced and directed by Academy Award® Winner, Paul Wagner. THOROUGHBRED will premiere on PBS Thursday, May 5, 2011 at 9:00 pm ET (check local listings) – just two days prior to the 137th running of the Kentucky Derby.

THOROUGHBRED will explore Aqueduct’s “backside,” where viewers are introduced to an eclectic community of grooms, jockeys, trainers and owners as they prepare for the races. These charismatic characters are joined by gamblers, breeders and journalists, who give viewers a glimpse into the fascinating, intense and sometimes heartbreaking world of Thoroughbred racing. The excitement at Aqueduct reaches a fever-pitch with a thrilling come-from-behind win for I Want Revenge at the 2009 Wood Memorial Stakes.


“The film takes you into the hidden world of the Thoroughbred –– the places, the people, the history and culture of America’s oldest sport,” says producer/director Paul Wagner. “Although THOROUGHBRED focuses on a year of racing, breeding and sales leading up to the 2009 Kentucky Derby, our hope is that we’ve created a timeless film, as relevant in ten years as it is today.”


THOROUGHBRED also reveals the serene quiet of the picturesque Three Chimneys Farm located in the heart of Kentucky’s Bluegrass region. Breeder Arthur Hancock introduces a promising brown mare named Cerise and discusses his storied family history of breeding and racing Thoroughbreds, including the 1989 Kentucky Derby winner, Sunday Silence.


From Kentucky, viewers are transported to the Arabian desert, where the origins of the Thoroughbred are explored and one of the industry’s titans –– Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, ruler of Dubai –– oversees extravagant stables and the richest series of horse races in the world.


THOROUGHBRED culminates at Louisville’s Churchill Downs for the 2009 Kentucky Derby. During the preparations and celebrations of Derby week, owners share their hopes and disappointments, and horses seem to revel in the spotlight as everything comes down to who stands in the winner’s circle. As the excitement of the Derby passes, the program ends with a new beginning and new potential: the birth and wobbly first steps of Cerise’s foal.


 

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