EVERY GIRL deserves a pony of her own, and the girl in this case is Penny Chenery (Diane Lane). With the help of a magical elfin jockey (Otto Thorwarth), a magical Negro stablehand (Nelsan Ellis), and a magical French-Canadian trainer (John Malkovich), Penny takes her pony to the biggest race of all: the Darby! Secretariat wins the Darby, because he is the bestest pony ever, and he wins some other races, and gets triple-crowned or something!
Secretariat is a true story, gussied up and Disneyfied and injected with meaningless dialogue like "heart of a champion." Secretariat won the Triple Crown in 1973, a very rare thing to do, and then spent the rest of his life fucking lady horses and fathering 600 babies. There is no horse fucking in Secretariat; there isn't much horse racing either. The actual time it took Secretariat to run all three Triple Crown races adds up to less than seven minutes; what race footage is in the movie is thoughtlessly and confusingly shot. Even with endless amounts of crowd footage and slo-mo, this movie has a lot of space to fill.
So we watch Diane Lane escape the terrible fate of housewife to become a famous pony lady, her hair going from dowdy Pat Nixon to silken Nancy Reagan, her clothes becoming very, very expensive because she is a princess. We watch John Malkovich, who doesn't act so much as pro-NOUNCE things in AN ex-A-ggera-TED MAN-ner. He also speaks French sometimes, which is awesome because I speak better French than John Malkovich and I don't speak French at all. Also, pony lady needs to win the race because her wicked brother wants six million dollars! And they all dance around the pony to the music of Staples Singers (really), and the pony runs really fast, and America, and Jesus.