The horse racing movie Jockey hits the theatres this winter, with a story based not on an aging, ailing rider who is hopeful of prevailing in the twilight of his profession.

The movie opened Dec. 29 in Los Angeles and New York and is set for nationwide release TBA in early 2022. It was featured at the 2021 Toronto International Film Festival but no Canadian theatre release dates have been announced yet.

The movie was filmed at Turf Paradise in Phoenix, AZ, in early 2020, immediately before the pandemic shut everything down. It is directed by Clint Bentley, whose late father was a jockey, and co-written along with Greg Kwedar. It stars Clifton Collins Jr. (who is also executive producer) as Jackson Silva, a fictional jockey dealing with broken bones, chronic pain, and a degenerative neurological disease. Molly Parker (Deadwood, Lost in Space) and Moises Arias (Ender’s Game, Nacho Libre) co-star.

Collins and Arias are surrounded by real riders in the film, including Logan Cormier and Turf Paradise jockey Scott Stevens (brother of Hall of Famer Gary Stevens). Turf Paradise general manager Vince Francia, who had never acted previously, plays Ronnie Langford, a horse vet. Collins received the U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Award at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival for his acting in Jockey.

The choice of Turf Paradise, which opened in 1956, was intentional in that it is not an A-list track but rather a ‘working-class’ track showing signs of age much like its main character.

Francia hopes to provide a private showing of the movie for local horsemen, perhaps in March, either at Turf Paradise or at a movie theatre.

Watch the trailer here:

~ with files from BloodHorse