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The First Saturday in May

Majesty and manure
By JEFFREY GANTZ  |  April 16, 2008
3.0 3.0 Stars
The First Saturday in May

Shot in the winter and spring of 2006, this down-to-earth documentary from John and Brad Hennegan follows half a dozen Kentucky Derby hopefuls — Achilles of Troy, Brother Derek, Sharp Humor, Barbaro, Jazil, and Lawyer Ron — and their trainers as they try to make it to “the most exciting two minutes in sport.” There are some would-be movie stars among the six equines who poke their noses into the camera lens, but the focus is on the trainers: salty New Yorker Frank Amonte (Achilles of Troy), who could fill a documentary on his own; Dan Hendricks (Brother Derek), who was paralyzed from the chest down after a dirt-bike accident; Dale Romans (Sharp Humor), whose beer-belly cousin Paul fancies himself part of the team; Kiaran McLaughlin (Jazil), who was diagnosed with MS in 1998 but went on to achieve great success for the ruling Maktoum family of Dubai. Troy of Achilles suffers a minor tendon tear; the other five make it to Churchill Downs, where after patrons deliver what amounts to a Derby commercial Barbaro runs away with it and we then get the Preakness with its tragic aftermath. Horse racing is more than the Kentucky Derby — still, The First Saturday in May delivers the manure along with the majesty. 97 minutes | Kendall Square
  Topics: Reviews , Sports , Horse Racing , Triple Crown
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