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So now Grandpa (Walter Brennan) is at the cashier’s window, with the seller counting out piles of cash winnings — with all the young scoffers suddenly turned admirers, conscious that Grandpa might just know something they don’t, after all. From the 1938 movie Kentucky.
So what does a horse trainer actually do? Maybe it is best explained in the 1938 movie “Kentucky.”
Today, the movie might be branded as so much Hollywood hokum. Too unrealistic. Too much young love and corny visages of Old Kentucky, with Loretta Young as the beautiful young owner of a down-on-its-luck horse farm, and Richard Greene as the wealthy young heir to a successful farm – with their families just happening to be locked in a feud that traces to the Civil War. Then Loretta’s old mare delivers her final foal, named “Kentucky.”
OK, so it won’t win any Oscars – except it did! Walter Brennan won Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his role as Peter Dillon, or Grandpa, the trainer of Kentucky.
There’s an early scene where Grandpa has Kentucky running in her first race, at Keeneland. He’s somehow slipped over to a posh bookie joint in Lexington, and the young gents are kidding Brennan as he comes away from a betting window with a wad of tickets on Kentucky.
“Grandpa, what are you doing betting on that horse?” they’re laughing. “Don’t you know the game has passed you by?”
Kentucky goes off at about 20-1, and then “They’re Off!” with a call of the race coming in over the wire and -- can you believe it? – here comes Kentucky to run by them all and win!
So now Grandpa Walter Brennan is at the cashier’s window, with the seller counting out piles of cash winnings – with all the young scoffers suddenly turned admirers, conscious that Grandpa might just know something they don’t, after all.
“Tell us, Grandpa,” says one new admirer. “How did you know that horse would win today?”
Grandpa gives them the old twinkle.
“How did I know? It took me 75 years to know that horse would win today.”