Saturday, April 19, 2008

It's Not Too Late - See This Movie!

I ventured into Manhattan yesterday to see a showing of "The First Saturday in May", by the Hennegan Brothers. I expected to see a historical documentary about the 2006 Kentucky Derby, but came away with a lot more than that. This is a film about people. Interesting, funny, entertaining people. People that love their families and the horses in their care. The filmmakers did an extraordinary job of capturing the passion and humanity of their subjects.

What touched me most were the scenes with the kids. I was getting choked up watching Alex Solis' son cheering "Go Dad!" while the rest of the world was cheering for his mount, Brother Derek. I felt like a voyeur into an extremely personal relationship between father and son.

And what about Dale Romans' son, Jake? I'm not sure if he will be running a hedge fund or hustling at a pool hall in the future, but his life will surely be colorful. It was interesting to see that the lone involvement of Todd Pletcher in this movie was him (facetiously) asking to borrow some cash from Jake.

From the Hendricks boys and their quests for new skateboards, to Frank Amonte's relationship with his kids, to Michael Matz' daughter jokingly stating that her father knows his horses better than he knows her, it was the story lines involving the kids that affected me most.

There is so much to process in this movie that I can't wait to buy the DVD and really dig in. The combination of the personal stories and the great coverage of the derby preps and the Derby make this film a win-win.

And on top of it all, John Hennegan was in the theater and spoke with each of us after the show. It was a thrill to speak with the filmmaker after watching his heart and soul on the screen for the last 97 minutes.

Good luck John and Brad! I hope the film generates a lot of revenue for the distributors so you can make more of these films. Our sport needs more of this and I greatly appreciate and admire your efforts.


Teresa said...

Great observation about the storyline of the kids...I've seen the movie three times and never really put that together. It's a great, under-noted element of the movie.

dana said...

Definitely... the scene that chokes me up every time isn't any of the Barbaro footage, it's the "go dad" scene.

Anonymous said...

It's Alex Solis' son choking up as his dad winning the Santa Anita Derby; it's Dale Roman's son after a bad defeat saying, "Where's my dad?" -- J.S.


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