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Racing Stripes

Racing Stripes
Theatrical poster
Directed by Frederik Du Chau
Produced by Broderick Johnson
Andrew Kosove
Edward L. McDonnell
Lloyd Phillips
Written by Screenplay:
David Schmidt
David Schmidt
Steven P. Wegner
Kirk De Micco
Frederik Du Chau
Starring Frankie Muniz
Hayden Panettiere
Bruce Greenwood
Mandy Moore
Dustin Hoffman
Whoopi Goldberg
Wendie Malick
Fred Thompson
Music by Mark Isham
Cinematography David Eggby
Editing by Tom Finan
Studio Alcon Entertainment
Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures (USA/Canada)
Momentum Pictures (UK)
Summit Entertainment (International sales)
Release date(s) 6, 2005 (2005-01-06) (Australia)
14, 2005 (2005-01-14) (United States)
Running time 102 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Gross revenue $90,752,852

Racing Stripes is a 2005 comedy film directed by Frederik Du Chau, the director of Quest for Camelot. It is similar in the style to the 1995 film Babe, in that the protagonist is a talking animal who lives on a farm and succeeds at an activity not expected of his species. (The animal characters also call Nolan Walsh "the Chief"; the animals of Babe called Arthur Hoggett "the Boss.") Although set in Kentucky, the movie was filmed in Pietermaritzburg and Nottingham Road, South Africa.



In a rush to pack up during a thunderstorm after blowing a tire, the Circus Sorano (a traveling circus) accidentally leaves behind a baby zebra. The foal is rescued by Nolan Walsh, a retired thoroughbred-racehorse trainer. Nolan takes the zebra home to his farm, and leaves it in the care of his daughter Channing, who names him "Stripes". The other farmyard animals try to educate him about life on the farm, but he is convinced that he is destined for the nearby racetrack, even though he isn't a real racehorse (a fact he doesn't realize for three years). He spends his time training, helped by Tucker, a Shetland Pony who had helped coach champion racehorses in the past.

Channing has a similar ambition: To become a jockey. Her father had refused to let her train, as he believed it to be too dangerous; he had retired from training after her mother, also a jockey, had died in a racing accident, several years before. However, her enthusiasm eventually wins Nolan over, and he agrees to train her and Stripes, with the aim of winning the illustrious Kentucky Open.


  • Channing Walsh is the movie's human protagonist. She wants to ride, and despite her lack of opportunity she has a natural talent for it. She's determined to race just like her mom, whatever it takes.
  • Nolan Walsh is Channing's father. Ever since his wife was killed when her racehorse stumbled, Nolan hasn't been able to bear training horses. Fearing that Channing will hurt herself if she rides, he refuses to let her anywhere near a saddle. But he ajusts his attitude when the animals show him that his wife would probably want her daughter to be a jocky.
  • Woodzie is an old racetrack gambler. He sympathizes with Channing, especially since he sees the same gift in her that was present in her mother.
  • Clara Dalrymple is Nolan's former employer and the film's human antagonist. She is a classic example of an egotistical aristocrat. She seems at first to be the movie's main villain, but to her credit she's honest enough not to sabotage the competition; the real villain of the movie is Sir Trenton.
  • John Cooper is Clara Dalrymple's trainer after Nolan stopped. He is shown to truly care about the horses he trains, giving Sandy a break when she seems unsettled for the high jump hurdles. After witnessing this, Dalrymple berates him going as far as to say as long as she pays him, he will train to the pace she wants. He sarcastically asks her if she has a board meeting to go to. He is involved in Pride's training.


  • Stripes is the protagonist of the film. He may be a zebra, but he won't let that stop him from competing in the Kentucky Open. The horses from Turfway Park all make fun of him, with the sole exception of Sandy, a beautiful white jumper who loves him.
  • Sandy is a professional jumper. She's been all over the world, so of course she knows that Stripes is a zebra (a fact that Stripes did not yet realize). But unlike the other horses, she believes that there's nothing wrong with being a zebra. On the contrary, she thinks that Stripes is "the cutest thing on four hooves." The sentiment is obviously mutual: the moment he first laid eyes on her, Stripes forgot what he was doing and crashed headfirst into a tree. As time progresses, they begin to really love each other.
  • Tucker used to help Nolan Walsh train racehorses. He may be too small to stand a chance in a race himself, but he's got more than enough horse-sense to know what it takes. Years of training horses who never give him any thanks for his help has left him grumpy, though, and it takes almost as much work to persuade him to help Stripes run as it does to persuade Nolan to let Channing ride Stripes. His height and the length of his mane are the subject of running gags throughout the movie. He's possibly a Shetland Pony.
  • Franny is an old goat. She has a heart of gold, and unlike Tucker she's not afraid to let it show. She takes Stripes under her wing right from the start and makes it her business to help Stripes succeed on the racetrack—even when Stripes is ready to quit. She also plays a role in Stripes' relationship with Sandy.
  • Buzz and Scuzz are a pair of horseflies. They are brothers, prone to arguing, humorous, and quite alike in appearance. The easiest way to tell them apart is that Buzz has blue eyes and Scuzz has red eyes. This could be seen as an outward manifestation of their musical tastes—Scuzz is a rap fan, whereas Buzz favors more conservative music. They are old friends of Tucker from the racetrack, and play an indispensable part in Sandy's escape from Sir Trenton, as well as helping Stripes out in the race.
  • Reggie is the Walsh farm's rooster. He means well, but is not very bright. He seems to be in the movie mostly for laughs.
  • Goose is a former mob hitman pelican from New Jersey with a gangster accent so thick you could cut it with a knife. Fleeing his boss after a botched assassination, Goose crash-landed on the Walsh farm. Tucker sums up Goose's personality as follows: "Goose, who is really a pelican, is really a stool pigeon, who is actually a chicken that ducks. That makes five birds in one, count 'em." In addition, he is terrified of loud noises, as they bring back memories of his mobster past.
  • Sir Trenton is the main antagonist of the movie. He is an arrogant Thoroughbred horse. Trenton sees his son, Pride, as having no purpose other than to carry on the Trenton legacy. He was trained by Nolan Walsh and Tucker, but shows no gratitude.
  • Trenton's Pride, Sir Trenton's son, is a bully to be sure, and he picks on Stripes virtually every chance he gets, such as beating him in a night race at the beginning of the movie. Pride is not as bad as his father, though and it's implied that his father is pushing him on to be great and strong. He wants to win the race fair and square, and in the end he is honest enough to admit that he lost fair and square, despite his father's cheating.
  • Ruffshodd seems at first to be merely a bully-lackey to Pride, but in reality he is a worse bully by far, proving quite eager to help Sir Trenton threaten Sandy in order to keep Stripes from running in the Kentucky Open. Even when Stripes and his friends thwart the cheat, Ruffshodd—and even his rider—persist in fighting dirty. During the race, Ruffshodd's rider whacks Stripes with his riding crop, and Ruffshodd pins Stripes to the rail with a maneuver Goose calls "the old Jersey squeeze," until both Ruffshodd and his rider are taught a lesson by Scuzz. In all probability Ruffshodd is jealous of Stripes. When Ruffshodd first tried to get Sandy's attention, she bluntly turned him down, parting with a comment of "Talk to the tail". Her attentions were obviously for Stripes alone, much to Ruffshodd's chagrin.
  • Lightning is the farm's lazy watchdog and family pet. Lightning is rarely seen onscreen with little speaking lines. However, on the film's advertisements Lightning is depicted to be a major character but he actually is not.


Acting Cast

  • Hayden Panettiere ... Channing Walsh
  • Bruce Greenwood ... Nolan Walsh
  • Wendie Malick ... Clara Dalrymple
  • Gary Bullock ... John Cooper
  • M. Emmet Walsh ... Woodzie
  • Thandi Puren ... Reporter #1
  • Morne Visser ... Reporter #2

Voice Cast

Role Actor Animal
Stripes Frankie Muniz Zebra
Sandy Mandy Moore Mare
Tucker Dustin Hoffman Shetland pony
Franny Whoopi Goldberg Goat
Sir Trenton Fred Thompson Stallion
Buzz Steve Harvey Fly
Scuzz David Spade Fly
Trenton's Pride Joshua Jackson Stallion
Clydesdale Michael Clarke Duncan Stallion
Reggie Jeff Foxworthy Rooster
Goose Joe Pantoliano Pelican
Lightning Snoop Dogg Dog
Ruffshodd Michael Rosenbaum Horse
Young Stripes Jansen Panettiere Baby Zebra
Young Ruffshodd Frankie Manriquez Baby Horse
Young Pride Kyle Alcazar Baby Horse

Visual Effects

The bulk of the visual effects work on the film was carried out by the Santa Monica based company Digiscope. The visual effects supervisor was Dion Hatch, and the animation supervisor was Alexander Williams.

Plot details and coincidences

  • Racing Stripes has many plot similarities to the later-released Disney movie, Herbie: Fully Loaded. In fact an Image Search for "Racing Stripes" on Yahoo revealed pictures of Herbie (due to his design) much sooner than it did any pictures pertaining to Racing Stripes.[citation needed]
  • According to Ripley's Believe It or Not at least one person has succeeded in training and riding a zebra as a racehorse[citation needed].
  • Tucker makes reference to the movie Chicken Run when talking to Franny about the species that are known to race.
  • When Stripes asks why Tucker stopped training horses, Franny begins speaking in Pig Latin, Tucker makes a pun on this by saying "Stay with me, Franny, we haven't spoken Latin since the pigs left."
  • In the movie, Tucker says he has "shorter legs than a sheepdog." This is probably a bit of a pun on the fact that he is a Shetland Pony, since there is also a Shetland Sheepdog.
  • In the alternate ending on the DVD, it is revealed that Stripes and Sandy eventually had a son. Such a hybrid of zebra and horse is possible, and just as Nolan said such a crossbreed is called a "Zorse", though the animal shown in the film more closely resembles a quagga. However, professional horse-trainers claim they are not the easiest animals to get along with[citation needed].
  • Scuzz once calls himself "Luke Skuzzwalker", a reference to the Star Wars character Luke Skywalker. A further reference is made when Goose attempting to hit a metal rooster fixture on the barn says "C'mon Goose, use the force".
  • Goose made a reference to The Godfather while insulting Tucker by saying, "Be careful pony-boy, or someday somebody's gonna wake up with your head in their bed."

Soundtrack album

The soundtrack album was released 2005-01-11 on the Varese Sarabande label. The film's score was composed by Mark Isham, who also co-wrote the first of the two original songs on the CD (both heard in the movie over the closing credits).

  1. Taking the Inside Rail - Sting (4:16)
  1. It was A Dark And Stormy Night (4:05)
  1. At Home On Walsh Falm (5:01)
  1. I'm A Racehorse! (2:51)
  1. The Blue Moon Races (3:39)
  1. A Pelican Named Goose (1:19)
  1. Tucker Lays It Out! (2:25)
  1. Goose Makes A Hit On The Iron Horse (2:10)
  1. Run Like The Wind (2:04)
  1. Twilight Run (2:27)
  1. Upstaged By A Zebra (2:46)
  1. A Brave Decision (1:48)
  1. Glory Days (3:18)
  1. If You Build It, They Will Come (2:21)
  1. Out Of Africa (1:06)
  1. Spring Training (2:31)
  1. Ambushed! (4:48)
  1. Filly In Distress (1:05)
  1. Race Day (1:03)
  1. They're All In! (1:12)
  1. The Big Race (7:19)
  1. In The Winner's Circle (1:54)
  1. It Ain't Over Yet - Bryan Adams (3:18)

Critical reception

Overall reaction to Racing Stripes was mainly mixed to negative. Rotten Tomatoes gave the film a 35% "rotten" rating, with the consensus stating, "An entertaining children movie that ought to be tolerable for adults." Despite the panned criticism, the film was a commercial and financial success, grossing over $90 million worldwide.

See also

  • 2005 in film

External links


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