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Sporting Blood (1931) Poster

Trivia

At Churchill Downs, the announcer credits Vice President Charles Curtis, who is clearly visible.
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Sporting Blood (1931) was inspired by a true-life story wherein Arnold Rothstein, the gambler racketeer infamous for the 1919 Black Sox Scandal (see Eight Men Out (1988)), entered his horse Sporting Blood in the 1921 Travers Stakes at Saratoga. Sporting Blood was initially the second favorite at 5-2 behind the filly Prudery, the 1-4 favorite. Then legendary trainer Sam Hildreth entered his best runner Grey Lag, who became the immediate favorite with Prudery the second favorite and Sporting Blood the third favorite at 3-1. Thirty minutes before the race Hildreth scratched Grey Lag with no explanation. The favorite money then switched to Prudery while Sporting Blood remained at 3-1. Sure enough, Sporting Blood won and Rothstein collected $500,000 in both prize money and, mostly, from the $150,000 he'd bet here and there. It seems that Rothstein had heard just before the race that Prudery was having "female problems." Both Rothstein and Hildreth were accused of colluding but nothing could be proved. In any event, Rothstein soon sold his horses and never owned another horse again. He was later shot dead in 1928 over a crooked poker game in which he'd lost $320,000 but refused to pay.
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Some of the location shots are clearly out of focus, but for whatever reason, they were obviously not reshot. MGM under production chief Irving Thalberg was noted for his use of retakes, so this is an unusual situation.
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The first feature film in which Clark Gable received top billing even though he doesn't appear until almost halfway into the movie.
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Racing scenes at Churchill Downs (the Kentucky Derby) and at Latonia were taken from archive footage.
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In her Film Fan Monthly 1972 interview by Leonard Maltin, Madge Evans gives this testimony about how the movie was made: "While he (Gable) was making SUSAN LENOX and I was making GUILTY HANDS, we worked on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays making SPORTING BLOOD. All the long shots for that film were done by doubles they took down to Kentucky."
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This film was first telecast in New York City Monday 4 November 1957 on the Late, Late Show on WBCS (Channel 2), in Philadelphia Monday 23 June 1958 on WFIL (Channel 6), and in San Francisco 2 March 1959 on KGO (Channel 7).
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