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The Saga of Snowflake


Ron Parker

The Saga of Snowflake

Or: A Little Girl's Faith

No one in Hollywood asked me, but I think it’s about time they came out with a realistic horse film, one that combines the pathos that has been an integral part of their past efforts (which attracts the teenage audience and doubles the sales of Kleenex overnight), along with a slightly more contemporary approach.

Since this is the time of year, the setting should logically center on the Kentucky Derby, and in order to help out some aspiring producer, I’ve already written the plot, which I’ll be happy to contribute in exchange only for the film credit and a free meal at the next Academy Awards banquet next to the star of my choice.

I’ve even thought of an acceptable title for the film, “The Saga of Snowflake,” with the possible sub-title of something like “A Little Girl’s Faith.”  I’m not sure who to suggest for the part (other than Snowflake, which is the horse and should probably play himself), but in an earlier film era I can readily imagine Shirley Temple playing the little girl, Walter Brennan as the little girl’s grandfather, with someone like Chill Wills as the farm manager.

To save interested producers any wasted time getting the film into full production, I’ve included a synopsis of this almost guaranteed box office smash:

The Colonel had taken his granddaughter with him to a breeding farm, where he hoped to buy a Kentucky Derby prospect.  While they were there, the granddaughter was attracted to a scraggly-looking colt shivering in a corner, seemingly shunned by the others.

“That there’s Snowflake,” the farm manager drawled.

“Pretty sorry lookin’ excuse for a horse,” the Colonel observed.

“Yeah.  Don’t reckon nobody’ll want him, probably have to ship him off to the glue factory this Fall.”

Snowflake, grateful for the little girl’s attentions, nuzzled her affectionately.

“Oh, gramps,” she wailed, “you can’t let ‘em do that.  Please buy him, gramps.  Please?”

“That bag o’ bones?  Won’t never amount to nothin’.  Be like throwin’ money away.”

“Oh, gramps, please!” she pleaded.

The Colonel turned to the farm manager.  “How much for that sorry lookin’ excuse for a horse?

“Well, I’m tired of feedin’ him, I’ll let you have him for ten bucks just to get rid of him.”

“Shore seems like a waste of money, but I’ll take him just to keep her happy.”

“Oh, gramps,” she squealed with delight.  “You’ll see.  Snowflake’s a good horse.  I know he is.  Why,” she continued, misty eyes gleaming, “”he might even win the Derby for you.”

“Humph,” the Colonel snorted.  “He’ll never amount to nothin’.”

All winter long the girl and Snowflake were inseparable.  She catered to his every whim.  Slowly the colt gained weight and looked better with each passing week.

“You’ll see, gramps,” she kept insisting.  “Snowflake’s going to win the Derby for you.”

As the months wore on the Colonel realized that none of his three-year-olds were going to be good enough to carry his colors in the Derby.  All his life he had dreamed of being in the winner’s circle that first Saturday in May, and according to what the doctors told him, this would probably be his last chance.  It looked like his ultimate goal would never be realized.

In the meantime, his granddaughter kept asking him to enter Snowflake in the Derby.  While the Colonel knew that he didn’t have a chance, he finally decided that making his granddaughter happy by letting her horse run might be a small consolation for having never won one.  Besides, he thought, what was there to lose?

So he entered Snowflake in the Derby.

Finally the big day came.  Snowflake never looked better.  He strode around the saddling paddock with an air of supreme confidence.  His coat was radiant.  In their box, the Colonel’s granddaughter kept telling him that Snowflake would win.

“You’ll see, gramps.  Snowflake’s a good horse.”

The horses were loaded into the gate and the announcer’s voice boomed, “They’re off!”

As the field raced down the backstretch the Colonel’s granddaughter began screaming, “Where is he, gramps?  Where is he?”

“Can’t rightly tell,” the Colonel replied, “but he’s probably that one about 50 lengths behind.”

The horses thundered toward the wire.  “Where is he, gramps?”

Three horses crossed the wire almost as one, and suddenly the announcer screamed, “It’s Snowflake by a nose!”

The Colonel’s granddaughter was delirious.  “See, gramps,” she cried, tears rolling down her cheeks.  “I told you Snowflake was a good horse.  I just knew it!”

The Colonel peered up the track through his binoculars.  “Just what I figured,” he mumbled.   “That darn fool announcer’s gone and called the wrong horse again.  That’s Snowflake up there, about a quarter mile behind.  Like I told you, girl, that horse won’t never amount to nothin’!”

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