This film is a classic example of the old studio system at work. Both Madge Evans, and Clark Gable, were brand new at MGM. The studio bosses weren't at all sure how well either star would fare with the public. Hence, though each was working on another picture, the studio assigned them to work on weekends and holidays when they filmed SPORTING BLOOD. Only in Hollywood!
In fact, there is a sense of freshness about this film. It hasn't the ordinary Hollywood veneer to it. It makes no pretensions and avoids clichés typical of so many similar films of the 1930s. Evans and Gable are absolutely marvelous in their respective roles. Evans is especially fresh and beautiful. But... it is the way blacks are treated in this film that set it apart from most films of its time. "Tommy Boy's" trainer, Uncle Ben is black. He is as far removed from Stepin Fetchit as a teacher is from an illiterate. Indeed, Uncle Ben is central to the plot... and in as loving a manner as could be imagined. This alone sets out SPORTING BLOOD as a better film by far than many others of its day.
Finally, the camera technology was fairly crude in 1931. Film speeds were slow and the cameras sometimes weighed five hundred pounds. Remember this when you watch the racing scenes. The photography is impressive.