As a movie, “Ruffian” probably isn’t the best or the worst of the lot. What makes it better than the average movie-of-the-week is Sam Shepard’s brilliant take on Ruffian’s trainer, Frank Whiteley.
Which makes it all the more interesting that Whiteley’s one of a group of people suing to stop the broadcast of the movie based on the filly who broke her leg in the mid-’70s during a match race at Belmont against the greatest colt of the day, Derby winner Foolish Pleasure.
According to Throughbred Times reporter Pete Denk, the hearing on the lawsuit has been postponed and the movie will air at 9 p.m. Saturday June 9 on ABC -the day ABC will air the Belmont Stakes race.
Denk writes that the hearing that could have blocked the broadcast of the movie has been deferred until next week, opening up the way for the movie to air this weekend.
Trainer Frank Whiteley Jr., jockey Jacinto Vasquez, and Thoroughbred Legends LLC filed a lawsuit in United States District Court in Atlanta against Walt Disney Co., ESPN, American Broadcasting Co. Inc. (ABC), and Orly Adelson Productions, alleging copyright infringement.
Denk reports that the lawsuit asks for monetary damages in excess of $10-million and sought to block broadcast of the movie unless it carries a disclaimer stating it contains fictional content. The two sides were negotiating on Wednesday and another meeting has been scheduled for next week.