First Saturday in May
Photos and Video
Each year on the first Saturday in May, one horse will thunder down the track headed towards horseracing glory. Capturing the Kentucky Derby, the Holy Grail of horseracing and "the most exciting two minutes in sports," is every aficionado's dream. And a long shot, as only 20 of the 40,000 thoroughbreds born each year make it to the Derby. The trail is long and hard-not only must the horses run in stakes races in New York, Kentucky, Florida, Arkansas and California, they must also be in the top 20 earners of those races to get a place at the big race. Each potential Derby colt requires a perfect blend of pedigree, owner, trainer and rider, and a big dose of luck. The First Saturday in May follows six of these horses-Achilles of Troy, Sharp Humor, Jazil, Lawyer Ron, Brother Derek and the beloved Barbaro-as they make their push to join the 2006 Derby's coveted ranks. Directors Brad and John Hennegan (a.k.a. The Hennegan Brothers) capture the intermittent heartbreak and euphoria of this trek with a watchful and sympathetic eye. Behind the horses are colorful teams of people who love them and hope the best for them: the owners, trainers, grooms, jockeys and all the people whose hearts are broken and soar each time their horses run a race. And they are all characters, men and women who have devoted their lives to these four-legged beauties. Horseracing is a high stakes world. Who's going to win?
Director's Statement Collapse
After working for others for too many years, we got sick of it, quit our jobs and started working for ourselves on a project that we truly believed in. Our goal: to make horse racing cool again. It's a great sport that has gotten progressively less attention over the last 30 years. If we could bring attention back to the sport that has played such a huge role in our lives, then we will have accomplished our mission.
Film Information Collapse
[FIRST] | 2007 | 96 | Documentary Feature
Directed by: John Hennegan and Brad Hennegan
Foreign Title: (The First Saturday in May)
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About the Director(s)Collapse
Sons of a New York Racing Association placing judge, THE HENNEGAN BROTHERS spent much of their Long Island youth at the racetrack, and their background enabled them to gain unprecedented access to the horseracing world for their first feature. Brad has worked in television for the last decade, with credits ranging from Martha Stewart's CBS show to Director of On-Air Promotions at IFC and College Sports Television. John helped launch the show Burden of Proof while at CNN, and has been a writer/producer/director for the NBA and ESPN, among others. The brothers describe their film as "a project that we truly believed in….If we could bring attention back to the sport that has played such a huge role in our lives, then we will have accomplished our mission."