Auto museum to host premier event for horse racing movie

“50 to 1,” a movie depicting the long shot victory of Mine That Bird in the 2009 Kentucky Derby, will be shown at a premiere set for June 13 at Allen Unique Autos in Grand Junction. The event will offer an opportunity to meet the horse and his owner as well as members of the cast and crew. (Photo courtesy Ten Furlongs)
“50 to 1,” a movie depicting the long shot victory of Mine That Bird in the 2009 Kentucky Derby, will be shown at a premiere set for June 13 at Allen Unique Autos in Grand Junction. The event will offer an opportunity to meet the horse and his owner as well as members of the cast and crew. (Photo courtesy Ten Furlongs)

Phil Castle,The Business Times

Tammy Allen vividly remembers watching the 2009 running of the Kentucky Derby on television — as well as her reaction when her brother’s horse, a 50-to-1 long shot, finished first. “Oh my God, I can’t believe it.”

That moment — along with the story of the racehorse, owners and trainer who defied the odds — will be depicted in a movie that will be shown in a Colorado premier set for June 13 at Allen’s automotive museum in Grand Junction.

The event also will offer participants a chance to meet in person the horse and its owner as well as the Academy Award-winning director and producer of the film and one of the featured actors in the production. A party is planned for after the showing.

Allen, owner of Allen Unique Autos and a financial backer of the movie, said she and her brother are excited about bringing the opportunity to Grand Junction. “It’ll be fun.”

“50 to 1” tells the story of Mine That Bird, the upset winner of the 2009 Kentucky Derby that went on to place second in the Preakness and third in the Belmont in the Triple Crown competition that year.

Mark Allen, Tammy’s older brother, has long bred and trained race horses at his operation in New Mexico. He joined with Leonard Blach in purchasing Mine That Bird in 2008. The horse won four of its first six starts in Canada, but was subsequently winless going into the Kentucky Derby.

At Churchill Downs, Mine That Bird came from dead last out of the first turn to take the lead in the final furlong. Mine That Bird finished with the longest margin of victory in the Kentucky Derby in more than 60 years and was the longest-odds horse to win the race in more than 85 years.

Jim Wilson, the producer who won an Academy Award for “Dances With Wolves,” served as producer, director and co-writer along with Faith Conroy on “50 to 1.”

Wilson also worked with actor Kevin Costner on such movies as “The Bodyguard,” “Wyatt Earp” and “Message in a Bottle.”

“I had been waiting for a great racehorse story for a very long time. But when I watched what unfolded at the 2009 Kentucky Derby, I was stunned. I’ve always been a fan of true underdog stories, and after meeting the owners, trainer and finally Bird himself, I was hooked,” Wilson stated in a news release. “This story had all the cinematic elements you could ask for. It’s been a real adventure, and one I am proud to share with the world.”

The movie stars Christian Kane as Mark Allen, William Devane as Leonard Blach and Skeet Ulrich as trainer Chip Woolley. Calvin Borel, the jockey who rode Mine That Bird to victory in the Kentucky Derby, portrays himself. The film also features Todd Lowe and Madelyn Deutch.

The movie was filmed in locations in New Mexico and Kentucky, including Churchill Downs. 

“We shot for two weeks at Churchill Downs and were able to use the real barn and stall where Mine That Bird stayed,” Wilson said. “Chip Woolley even gave Skeet the shirt he wore at the Derby to wear in the movie.”

Tammy Allen said the movie also includes actual footage from the 2009 Kentucky Derby — which brought back her memories of the race.

The overall message, she said, is one of hope and inspiration. “It’s just like the little engine that could.”

“50 to 1” is scheduled to open June 20 at the Regal Canyon View Stadium 14 theater in Grand Junction.

The June 13 event will offer people a not only chance to see the movie a week earlier, but also meet Mine That Bird, Mark Allen, Wilson, Conroy and Lowe as well as get autographs. The gates are set to open at 6 p.m., with an outdoor showing of the movie to follow at 7:45 p.m.

A party will follow at 10 p.m. indoors at Allen Unique Auto for people age 21 and over. The event will include a musical and comedic performance by Lowe. 

The outdoor venue for the showing can accommodate 1,200 to 1,500 people. The indoor venue can accommodate about 500 people.

Tammy Allen opened Allen Unique Autos in 2010 to house her eclectic collection of more than 120 rare, vintage and unique vehicles under the roof of a combination museum and events center. Allen Unique Autos also operates a limousine service.

Allen said she and her brother, who once lived in Grand Junction, are anxious to bring the movie — as well as the subject of that movie — to the Grand Valley.


An outdoor showing of “50 to 1” is set for June 13 at Allen Unique Autos, 2285 River Road in Grand Junction. Gates will open at 6 p.m. The event will include an opportunity to meet Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird and its owner as well as members of the cast and crew of the movie. An indoor party after the showing for people 21 and over will feature the comedy and music of Todd Lowe, an actor in the movie. Tickets to the showing sell for $20. Tickets to the party sell for $15. Tickets to both are available for $30. For tickets or more information, call 263-7410 or visit

4 Responses to "Auto museum to host premier event for horse racing movie"

  1. AndiDanceCO   June 6, 2014 at 3:25 am

    This is so great! You all will love the movie!!!

  2. Mary E Brewer   June 11, 2014 at 9:45 am

    Awesome! how very cool.. thanks for sharing this.. I loved the movie.. #ChristianKane and #SkeetUrlich did an amazing job in this movie.. and of course.. who better to play #CalvinBorel than the man himself! if this movie isnt playing in your area… request that your local theatre show it! you dont want to miss it on the big screen! check the #50to1 the movie website to check for places showing it thanks!

  3. Jacquie Wallis   June 11, 2014 at 10:04 am

    Thank you for the great article. I’m looking forward to seeing #50to1themovie, starring #ChristianKane, #SkeetUlrich and #WilliamDevane when it opens in my area ❤ At least, I sure hope it opens in my area 🙂 #YearOfKane

  4. Tina Walker   June 11, 2014 at 11:02 am

    Thanks for the great article! This movie is going to be the best “Feel Good” movie of the year! I can’t wait for it to come to my area. The cast is amazing… I especially want to see my favorite Actor/Song writer/Singer #ChristianKane on the big screen.