Racing Stripes

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Racing Stripes
Theatrical release poster
Directed byFrederik Du Chau
Screenplay byDavid Schmidt
Story by
Produced by
CinematographyDavid Eggby
Edited byTom Finan
Music byMark Isham
Distributed byWarner Bros. Pictures (United States/Canada)
Summit Entertainment (International)
Release dates
  • January 8, 2005 (2005-01-08) (Hollywood)
  • January 14, 2005 (2005-01-14) (United States)
Running time
101 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$30 million
Box office$90.8 million[1]

Racing Stripes is a 2005 American sports comedy family film directed by Frederik Du Chau. The film was produced by Andrew A. Kosove, Broderick Johnson, Lloyd Phillips and Edward L. McDonnell, based on a script written by David Schmidt, Steven P. Wegner, Kirk DeMicco and Du Chau.

The film tells the story of Stripes, a circus plains zebra who is accidentally abandoned in Kentucky and raised on a farm next to a racing track. Believing he is a racehorse, Stripes dreams of training for and competing in the races. The film stars Hayden Panettiere, Bruce Greenwood, Wendie Malick and M. Emmet Walsh, with the vocal and voice talents of Frankie Muniz, Mandy Moore, Michael Clarke Duncan, Jeff Foxworthy, Joshua Jackson, Joe Pantoliano, Michael Rosenbaum, Steve Harvey, David Spade, Snoop Dogg, Fred Dalton Thompson, Dustin Hoffman and Whoopi Goldberg.

Racing Stripes was released theatrically January 14, 2005, by Warner Bros. It received mixed reviews from critics and grossed $90 million worldwide.


During a thunderstorm, a traveling circus, Circus Sarano, accidentally leaves behind a baby plains zebra after replacing a flat tire. The foal is rescued by widower and former racehorse trainer Nolan Walsh, and is taken to his farm, where his 13-year-old daughter, Channing, names him Stripes. He meets a Shetland pony named Tucker, a Saanen goat named Franny, and a rooster named Reggie. The next day, Stripes becomes convinced that he is destined for the nearby racetrack, Turfway Park, not realizing that he is not a horse, but a zebra, and is disqualified to race. Two foals named Trenton's Pride and Ruffshodd decide to race Stripes, until they are stopped by Pride's father, three-time Kentucky Open champion, Sir Trenton.

Three years later, after racing the mailman again, an adult Stripes meets an Arabian filly named Sandy and develops a crush on her after losing to the mailman in their usual race. While talking to Sandy, he is approached by Pride and Ruffshodd, Stripes' tormentors since childhood, while Channing's bloodhound, Lightning, is lazy and talks while he rests. Pride challenges Stripes to a racing match at a secret racetrack in the woods called the Blue Moon Races; he accepts, but loses the race.

The following day, Tucker, having secretly watched Stripes, approaches him and suggests that he gets proper training first. Stripes, in need of a rider, chooses 16-year-old Channing, and convinces a new farm animal, a pelican named Goose, to sabotage Channing's motorcycle and Old Blue, Nolan's old pickup truck, so that Channing can ride him to her workplace at Turfway Park. The plan works, and Channing, with Nolan's reluctant approval, rides Stripes to Turfway Park. There, Channing is antagonized by her boss, Clara Dalrymple, for bringing Stripes to the racetrack, while Stripes meets a pair of horse-fly brothers, Buzz and Scuzz.

As night approaches, Channing, remembering her first ride on horseback with her mother Carolyn, completes a lap around the track with Stripes. They are approached by Woodzie, a racetrack gambler and old friend of the family, who encourages Channing to sign up her and Stripes for a tryout race the next day. She does, despite Nolan's disapproval stemming from his wife's death in a racing accident six years ago, which has since discouraged him to continue training, but Stripes has a major meltdown after being easily scared by the horse-gate like all the other horses at the tryouts. Once he calms down, he begins running, but gets hit in the face by flying dirt while racing, causing Channing to fall off. Although she is uninjured, Nolan chastises and blames her. However, when Dalrymple mocks her riding skills, Nolan defends his daughter. In response, Dalrymple sarcastically signs Stripes to compete in the Kentucky Open competition.

Meanwhile, Stripes realizes he is a zebra after being told off by Sir Trenton, which severely discourages him. Despite Channing's pleas and Woodzie's encouragement, Nolan refuses to let her race Stripes. Realizing this, the farm animals lure Nolan into the farm to show him a table holding his past accomplishments, and he changes his mind. Meanwhile, due to Stripes's misbehavior during training, Franny reveals to Stripes that Tucker helped Nolan train the racehorse champions, including Sir Trenton, without getting any thanks, which encourages him to begin training.

Refusing to allow Stripes to race, Sir Trenton and several thoroughbreds ambush Stripes and Sandy at a creek as they are talking and making up for their previous argument, and they kidnap Sandy, threatening to hurt her if he races. The next day, after rescuing Stripes, Tucker, Franny and Goose agree to rescue Sandy. With a little help from Buzz and Scuzz, the rescue is successful, and they get back in time for Stripes to go to the race.

At the race, Nolan bets Dalrymple that if Stripes wins, he gets Sandy, and if he loses, he will come back to work for her. During the race, Ruffshodd, and even his jockey, try to stop Stripes from winning, until Scuzz gets them disqualified by biting Ruffshodd's rear end. Later, Stripes begins to wear out, until he finally remembers what Tucker taught him: "Don't look back. Leave it all on the track", which boosts his confidence. Stripes wins the race and earns respect from the other racehorses, including Pride. In the end, they all pose together in a group photo, which is later shown with the other previous Walsh wins.



  • Hayden Panettiere as Channing "Chan" Walsh, who is Nolan's free-spirited 16-year-old daughter who is determined and willing to ride on horseback on Stripes, and despite her lack of opportunity, she has a natural talent for it exactly like her late mother, Carolyn, who died in a horse racing accident at Turfway Park six years ago, when she was 10.
  • Bruce Greenwood as Nolan "The Chief" Walsh, who is Channing's widowed father, a veteran Kentucky corn farmer, and a retired racehorse trainer who has not been able to bear training horses, let alone Stripes the prized zebra, ever since his late wife, Carolyn, was killed when her racehorse stumbled six years ago when his daughter, Channing, was only 10 years old. Fearing that Channing will hurt herself if she ever rides Stripes, he refuses to let her anywhere near a saddle or the Turfway Park racetrack, until at almost the end of the movie, when he finally wants to help Channing and Stripes for the big race, the Kentucky Open (an implied spoof of the Kentucky Derby), and finally encourages them to enter in it and win, which they do in the end.
  • M. Emmet Walsh as Sheriff Woodzie, who is an old, wise racetrack gambler and a good friend to the Walsh family. He sympathizes with Channing, especially since he sees the same gift in her that was present in her late mother, Carolyn.
  • Wendie Malick as Clara Dalrymple, who is Nolan's former employer, Channing's boss, and, while beautiful, the film's main villain. She admires Trenton's Pride and Ruffshodd and only sees the Kentucky Open competition as a means of business and money and is not concerned for the well-being of her horses, especially not Stripes.
  • Gary Bullock as John Cooper, who is one of the racehorse trainers for the Kentucky Open thoroughbred sweepstakes. He doesn't share his boss, Dalrymple's views on pushing her horses past their limits, but continues to follow her instructions in order to get his paychecks, which are important for his work.
  • Caspar Poyck as The Mailman, by whom Stripes is beaten every morning when they race around the block.

Voice actors[edit]

  • Frankie Muniz as Stripes, a foundling zebra who desires to compete in the Kentucky Open race, which leads to bullying from the local horses with the sole exception of Sandy, whom he has a crush on. His younger self was voiced by Jansen Panettiere, Hayden Panettiere's brother.
  • Dustin Hoffman as Tucker, a Shetland pony who used to help Nolan train racehorses, including Sir Trenton. He presents himself with a grumpy demeanor after years of training ungrateful horses before retiring, then helps Stripes by teaching him to race. Stripes was the only one who was really grateful to him for his help.
  • Whoopi Goldberg as Franny, an elderly Saanen goat who constantly encourages Stripes to pursue his dream and gives him many words of advice. She seems to be the only animal on the farm aware of how upset Tucker is about his retirement.
  • Mandy Moore as Sandy, a professional jumper Arabian filly. She is the only horse who supports Stripes's dream to become a racehorse. She and Stripes have romantic feelings for each other, which become mutual by the end of the film. After Stripes wins, she ends up living at the farm as part of Nolan and Dalrymple's bet.
  • Steve Harvey and David Spade as Buzz and Scuzz, a pair of horsefly brothers who serve as the film's comic relief and are good friends with Tucker. Buzz is larger and has blue eyes and combed hair, while Scuzz is scrawnier and has red eyes and messed-up hair. The brothers have a different taste in music: Scuzz is a rap fan while Buzz favors classical music.
  • Jeff Foxworthy as Reggie, the Walsh farm's rooster, who means well, but is not very bright. He serves as the news announcer for the rest of the farm animals.
  • Joe Pantoliano as Goose, a New York-accented American white pelican from the big city. He states that he moved to the farm in order to escape several other birds who have placed a hit on him, and that he was a "hit bird". It is presumably his experiences that render him afraid of loud noises.
  • Snoop Dogg as Lightning, the family's lazy bloodhound who talks while asleep.
  • Fred Thompson as Sir Trenton, an arrogant black thoroughbred horse who sees his son, Trenton's Pride, as having no purpose other than to carry on the Trenton legacy. He also seems to view the Kentucky Open competition as his property, which leads to his antagonistic nature towards Stripes, who he believes might ruin it. He is also one of Tucker's former racehorses-in-training before Nolan and Tucker retired from training.
  • Joshua Jackson as Trenton's Pride, Sir Trenton's son, who is a bully and picks on Stripes every chance he gets, but still believes in winning a race the fair and honest way, unlike his father and other horses. However, by the end of the film, he makes up and becomes friends with Stripes, having become impressed with his racing ability. His younger self was voiced by Kyle Alcazar.
  • Michael Rosenbaum as Ruffshodd, Pride's friend and lackey. At first, it seems that he bullies Stripes with Pride merely out of sycophancy for the latter and fear of Pride's father, but in reality, he is a worse bully by far, proving quite eager to help Sir Trenton to threaten Sandy to keep Stripes from racing in the Kentucky Open. This is further evidenced when he and his rider persistently try to sabotage Stripes during the Kentucky Open competition. His younger self was voiced by Frankie Ryan Manriquez.
  • Michael Clarke Duncan as Clydesdale, a Clydesdale horse who oversees the Blue Moon races.

Additional voices[edit]


Kirk DeMicco is the film's writer.

On September 10, 2002, it was announced that Frederik Du Chau was hired and set to direct Racing Stripes. David Schmidt, Steven P. Wegner and Kirk DeMicco wrote the script for the film. Andrew Kosove, Broderick Johnson, Lloyd Phillips and Edward L. McDonnell produced the film with the budget of $30 million, for release in 2005. On November 22, it was announced that Bruce Greenwood, Hayden Panettiere, M. Emmet Walsh, Wendie Malick, Gary Bullock, Frankie Muniz, Dustin Hoffman, Whoopi Goldberg, Mandy Moore, Jeff Foxworthy, Joe Pantoliano, Fred Dalton Thompson, Joshua Jackson, Michael Rosenbaum, Snoop Dogg, Michael Clarke Duncan, Steve Harvey and David Spade joined the film. On March 25, 2003, it was announced that Mark Isham would compose the music for the film.[citation needed]

Two racing zebras, Sam and Daisy, were used in the film. Sam was more well-behaved, and "kind of wanted to be a horse", according to Tim Rivers, who trained him at the Animals in Motion farm near Citra, Florida. Sam had experience in Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls, Second Noah and Sheena.[2]

During production of the film, Hayden Panettiere was thrown off a zebra and ended up hospitalized with a concussion and a pinched nerve in her neck. The producers forbade her from mentioning the injury during publicity for the film; she finally revealed it during a 2013 episode of British talk show The Graham Norton Show.[3]


In March 2003, Frankie Muniz was cast following his performance in Agent Cody Banks. On July 27, 2003, other cast members were announced, such as Hayden Panettiere, who would star opposite the voices of Dustin Hoffman, Whoopi Goldberg, Joe Pantoliano, Mandy Moore, and Patrick Stewart.[citation needed]

Also joining the cast of voices were Joshua Jackson, Michael Rosenbaum, Steve Harvey, David Spade, Michael Clarke Duncan, and Jeff Foxworthy. In August, Bruce Greenwood was cast in the film. Patrick Stewart was originally going to voice Sir Trenton.[citation needed]


It was filmed at the Hollywoodbets Scottsville Racecourse in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa,[4] and Riverholm Country Estate in Nottingham Road, South Africa.[5] Development of the film was completed in Los Angeles, California. On May 21, Summit Entertainment and Warner Bros. acquired distribution rights to the film.[citation needed]


The film's score was composed by Mark Isham, who also produced and cowrote "Taking the Inside Rail" with Sting; "It Ain't Over Yet", heard when Channing and Nolan train Stripes, as well as at the end of the film, was written by Bryan Adams, Gretchen Peters and Eliot Kennedy, and produced by Adams. The soundtrack album was released January 11, 2005, on the Varèse Sarabande label.[citation needed]

  1. Taking the Inside Rail - Sting
  2. It Was a Dark and Stormy Night
  3. At Home on Walsh Farm
  4. I'm a Racehorse!
  5. The Blue Moon Races
  6. A Pelican Named Goose
  7. Tucker Lays It Out!
  8. Goose Makes a Hit on the Iron Horse
  9. Run Like the Wind
  10. Twilight Run
  11. Upstaged by a Zebra
  12. A Brave Decision
  13. Glory Days
  14. If You Build It, They Will Come
  15. Out of Africa
  16. Spring Training
  17. Ambushed!
  18. Filly in Distress
  19. Race Day
  20. They're All In!
  21. The Big Race
  22. In The Winner's Circle
  23. It Ain't Over Yet - Bryan Adams
  24. The Good, The Bad and The Ugly – Ennio Morricone
  25. My Girl – Steve Harvey
  26. U Can't Touch This – David Spade
  27. Here Comes The Hotstepper - David Spade
  28. Ebony and Ivory - Steve Harvey and David Spade
  29. Overture, from 'Le nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro)' K.492 - Hungarian State Orchestra
  30. Exsultate, jubillate, K.165 - Kosice Teachers' Choir/Camerata Cassovia
  31. Walk This Way - Run-D.M.C.
  32. The National Anthem USA
  33. Who Let The Dogs Out? - Steve Harvey and David Spade


Box office[edit]

Racing Stripes grossed $49.8 million in the United States and $41 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $90.8 million.[1]

Critical response[edit]

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 35% based on 97 reviews, with an average rating of 5/10. The site's critics consensus reads: "Racing Stripes might be good for a few laps with younger viewers, but it's too blandly predictable to truly recommend for an all-ages audience."[6] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 43 out of 100 based on 26 critics, indicating "mixed or average" reviews.[7] Audiences polled by CinemaScore give the film an average grade of "A" on an A+ to F scale.[8]


International Film Music Critics Award (IFMCA) 2005
Award Category Nominee Result
IFMCA Award Best Original Score for a Comedy Film Mark Isham Nominated
Teen Choice Awards 2005
Award Category Nominee Result
Teen Choice Award Choice Movie: Animated/Computer Generated Frederik Du Chau Nominated

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Racing Stripes (2005)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved January 24, 2024.
  2. ^ Stinson, Lashonda (January 14, 2005). "Local zebra stars in new film". The Gainesville Sun. Ocala Star-Banner. Retrieved May 21, 2019.
  3. ^ The Graham Norton Show - S13E10 - Dan Stevens, Hayden Panettiere & Micky Flanagan, YouTube
  4. ^ "".
  5. ^ "Riverholm Country Estate - Self-Catering - Nottingham Road".
  6. ^ "Racing Stripes". 14 January 2005.
  7. ^ "Racing Stripes". Metacritic.
  8. ^ "Find CinemaScore" (Type "Racing Stripes" in the search box). CinemaScore. Retrieved April 7, 2021.

External links[edit]