ESPN Original Entertainment (EOE) announced it will produce an original film, "Ruffian," based on the story of the great filly who was undefeated until suffering a fatal breakdown in a match race against Foolish Pleasure at Belmont Park in 1975.
The film is scheduled to premiere on the ABC Network in conjunction with ABC's presentation of the 108th running of the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) in June 2007. The movie will subsequently be aired on ESPN. Principal photography on "Ruffian" is slated to commence in February 2006.
"Ruffian's story is one of the most poignant of her time," said John Skipper, ESPN executive vice president, content. "This project will continue our strategy to make content available to consumers across multiple platforms and serve fans with superior programming."
ABC and ESPN are both owned by Disney. Producer/writers on the project are Jim Burnstein and Garrett K. Schiff. Orly Adelson will serve as executive producer.
Ruffian won her first 10 races, five of them grade I stakes, in 1974 and 1975, and is considered by most one of the greatest fillies of all time. She was owned by Locust Hill Farm, racing as a homebred for her breeders, Mr. and Mrs. Stuart S. Janney Jr. She was trained by Frank Whiteley.