Screened as part of NZIFF 2008

The First Saturday in May 2007

Directed by Hennegan Brothers

Behind the scenes with six contenders at the 2006 Kentucky Derby. "Compelling, expertly paced... Nothing short of riveting." — Washington Post

USA In English
100 minutes DigiBeta

Directors, Photography


Hennegan Brothers
Mark Krewatch


Hennegan Brothers
Tamara McDonough


The Ryan Brothers


Frank Amonte
Michael Matz
Dan Hendricks
Kiaran McLaughlin
Bob Holthus
Chuck Chambers
Dale Romans


Tribeca, Vancouver 2007


On the first Saturday in May America keeps its annual appointment with the Kentucky Derby. It's the Holy Grail of American horse-racing: only 20 of the 40,000 thoroughbreds born each year possess the magic blend of pedigree, owner, trainer, rider - and luck - to make it. The Hennegan Brothers' documentary explores the personal aspirations and the strenuous regimes surrounding six contenders for the 2006 Derby. Race world insiders, they're clearly as addicted to the two-minute thrill of the race as any of their subjects, and as well-versed in the art of not always winning. The owners and teams we meet are a fascinatingly far-flung and varied bunch. All confide in the filmmakers with such candour that we are placed in the pleasurably impossible position of barracking for the lot of them. — BG

"Compelling, expertly paced... The Hennegans, sons of a horse racing official, used their vast knowledge of the sport and incredible access to paint vivid portraits of colorful characters... Nothing short of riveting." — Joe Heim, Washington Post