Thoroughbreds Don't Cry

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Young Roger Calverton (Ronald Sinclair) and his uncle Sir Peter Calverton (Sir C. Aubrey Smith) bring their prize race-horse The Pookah to America, hoping to win a major purse and save their impoverished family estate. They cross paths with Tim Donahue (Mickey Rooney), one of the top young jockeys in the business, and also with Cricket West (Judy Garland), the niece of Mother Ralph (Sophie Tucker), who runs the boarding house where Donahue resides. Cricket likes to sing every chance she gets, and also has a terrible crush on Tim, but even she can't abide his brash, cocky attitude about himself -- and as a good hostess and also a sensible girl, she also gets just a tiny bit smitten with Roger. He and Tim have a rough first meeting but find that they do sort of like each other, and soon Tim -- who has had a tough, hard-scrabble life -- becomes very close to his new friend from England and to Sir Peter, especially when he finds out how much they love horses and racing. He agrees to ride The Pookah -- but then the young jockey is suckered by his estranged father (Charles D. Brown), a low-life member of a gambling syndicate, into throwing the race. This leads to a tragedy that forces Tim to walk away from his profession and everyone he knows, until Cricket finds him and convinces the boy that what he did wasn't entirely his fault, and that he still has the power to make up for a part of it. Tim steals some of the money he gave his father -- supposedly to save the man's life -- to help Roger get The Pookah into another race, but he still has to overcome the machinations of the mob so he can right the wrong he did to the best friends he's ever had. ~ Bruce Eder, Rovi