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Because they're running out of card games to show, GSN decides to take a perimutual approach to reality TV and give one of twelve people the chance to not only win $250,000 but a stable of eight racehorses! It's the American Dream Derby from Santa Anita Park! Place your bets and get to the post because... THEY'RE OFF!

Recaps by Chris Wolvie, GSNN


FACT FILE:

Host:
Steve Santagati
Trainer: Alex Hassinger
Creator: Richard Cronin
EP:
Scott A. Stone, Sharon Levy, Anthony Ross, Kathy Sutula
Packager: Stone & Co. Entertainment Productions for GSN Originals
Airs: Mondays at 9p ET on GSN


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Episode 1 - January 10

Twelve ordinary people will have the chance for something considerably better than money. They will not only win $250,000...but their own stable of eight thoroughbred racehorses to own, train and breed into world-class champions! For these dozen people, it's a dream of a lifetime. Hence why this is called the AMERICAN DREAM DERBY!

It starts with the twelve players meeting at the Winner's Circle at the famous Santa Anita racetrack in California. Let's meet the folks vying for the cash and the trotters:

SUSAN BOSSO - Hotel Sales Manager from North Palm Beach, FL
ERIC CHILDERS - Pro bull rider and student from Springfield, MO
DEANNA MANFREDI - Marketing consultant (and daughter of horse trainer) from Philadelphia, PA
DAVID MALATESTA - Graphic designer from Los Angeles, CA
SARA SLAVIN - Model from West Milford, NJ
CHRIS BLACK - Pharmaceutical Salesman from Ft. Worth, TX
TARA CLARK - Ranch owner and stunt woman from Pioche, NV
AARON COEN - Horse groomer and student from Newark, DE
DEAN PELLEGRIN - Pharmicist from Houma, LA
JEWEL SAVAGE - Correctional officer from Baltimore, MD
LEVAR THOMAS - Music producer from the Bronx, NY
TARA WALDEN - Massage therapist from Los Angeles

Your host is Steve Santagati (the host of that gad-awful "Bachelorettes In Alaska" FOX show some years ago.) He explains that the 12 will call Santa Anita home and learn the business of horse training from the ground up. When he announces the prize at the end, everybody cheers.

How will the winner be decided? Well, each task performed well will earn them money. And the one with the MOST money gets to first choose their horse to run in the LIVE Dream Derby on February 21st. The one whose horse wins the Derby gets the money and the stable.

It's time for the first Owner's Challenge. They are to take $1000 each and bet it on the third race at Santa Anita using their own knowledge and the Daily Racing Form (the daily bible of horse race handicapping). The won who makes the most money on this race becomes the first Owner, which will have its advantages. The top three odds for the race are #5 Silver Dawn (5-2), #4 Apology Accepted (3-1) and #1 Gee's Bend (7-2).

Levar's never bet on a horse race before (not to many racetracks in "da hood". David split his grand on two horses, each to win. Chris gets info from others to make his bets. Deanna and Dean both are experienced with handicapping but not on such short notice. Sara asked someone ELSE at the track named Tony what HE would do. Aaron went for colors of silks (jockey uniform) to place HIS bets. Jewel doesn't have clue one on what to do and asks Susan for help. Tara W. has troubles with colors, thinking there are pink horses.

It is NOW Post Time! Here are the horses bet on:
 
DAVID - #4 & #5 to WIN CHRIS - #3 to SHOW, #1 to PLACE
DEANNA - #3 to SHOW, #1 to PLACE DEAN - #5 to WIN, #1 to SHOW
SARA - #3, #4 and #5 to SHOW AARON - #7 and #8 to WIN
JEWEL - #8 to WIN, #3 & #4 to SHOW SUSAN - #4 to WIN, #1 to PLACE
ERIC - #3 to PLACE, #5 to SHOW TARA C - #1 to WIN, #7 to SHOW
TARA W - #5 & #9 to WIN LEVAR - #5 to WIN, #3 to SHOW

(For those not in the know, a WIN bet means you think the horse will come in first, a PLACE bet means 1st OR 2nd and a SHOW bet means one of the top three horses. Bets are put in separate "pools" for WIN, PLACE and SHOW, which are then divided among all the winning bets.)

Annnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnd there off! And it's #7 Queen of the Night out of the gate in front, Gee's Bend in a close second and #9 Julie's Emerald in third. Around the first turn, Gee's Bend pulls out on the outside with Silver Dawn pulling into second, but Apology Accepted pulls in nose-to-nose with the favorite. Heading into the backstretch, Apology Accepted forges ahead (making Deanna, David and Susan happy) and Gee's Bend starts to fade as Silver Dawn goes into second. And DOWN THE STRETCH THEY COME! It's Apology Accepted with Gee's Bend hot on the heels...and Apology Accepted pulls away....and it's #4 APOLOGY ACCEPTED with the WIN by a whopping SEVEN lengths! #1 Gee's Bend takes PLACE and...in t a photo-finish #3 Firey Malek edges out #5 Silver Dawn for SHOW by a nose!

Steven tells them the players the bad news first. As a group, they went from $12,000....to a mere $8700! He reminds them that the winner becomes an Owner, which means $1000 goes into his/her American Dream Debry Cash Card (along with the money earned in the bets) AND they get to live in a mansion for the duration! Everybody ELSE are Stablehands and will rough it out in the Santa Anita stables. It was a mere $3.80 difference, but...Susan is the first Owner! She goes to the Owner's Mansion with $2240 on her card! PLUS, in a very Survivor-esque style, she must choose three Stablehands to upgrade to Owners (and get $500 added each of THEIR Cash Cards). Susan chooses David for coming so close to winning, Tara W. because "she's pretty, I guess" (much to Sara' chagrin) and Aaron just to even things out.

CURRENT STANDINGS
1
SUSAN
$2240
2
DAVID
$1736
3
DEANNA
$1060
4
TARA W
$880
5
JEWEL
$800
6
LEVAR
$800
7
SARA
$800
8
ERIC
$737
9
CHRIS
$722
10
AARON
$690
11
DEAN
$624
12
TARA C
$80

The Owners gawk at the mansion and all its anemities...while the Stablehands gawk at THEIR sleeping arrangements: cots IN the stables themselves! Dean's not TOO concenred, since his WIFE said he could sleep soundly even WITH horses. Deanna may not know horse betting but she knows horses. The Owners get plush bathrooms... while the Stablehands have to use the nasty public restroom. The Owners get a gourmet meal... and the Stablehands get box lunches in 'feeder bags'.

But it's not ALL fun and games for the Owners. Susan has another job to do. See, tomorrow is the first Guts Match between Owners and Stablehands. One of each will get one horse in a head-to-head sprint. The winner gets $5000 added to their cash card... but the LOSER is eliminated! Susan has to decide as Lead Owner which of the four to force into the Match. She'll have a special Racing Form about the horses in the stables and has all night to think about it. Oh, and the Owners shouldn't get comfy. They can only stay in the mansion until the next Owner's Challenge. To say that killed the mood...well, it's an insult to Death Row murderers everywhere.

Of course, the Stablehands don't have it too good, either. Aside from sleeping out in the cold, they're awakened at the crack of dawn by thoroughbred trainer Alex Hassinger in order to feed and train the horses. They go to Clocker's Corner where the Owners arrive in the limo. They're here to WATCH the horses train in order to help them decide who'd be best in a Guts Match (plus the Racing Form didn't hurt). It looks like the Owners are stuck together.

And now it's time to introduce the horses that they get to choose from:

1
Regal Cruiser
10
Nigel No Mates
2
Sharp As A Fox
11
Shoot Yeah
3
Archie's Dream
12
Crafty Value
4
Free To Please
13
Big Wagner
5
Ready To Flirt
14
R Champ
6
Avenue of Knowledge
15
Lauren's Halo
7
Kool Smoke
   

Tara C watch the horses intently to find the right horse. And there's a lot of jockeying (pardon the pun) for position and possible alliances.

Later, the Owners and Stablehands meet Steve in the stable and the Stablehands are give the rules of the Guts Match for the first time. Susan will choose a horse for the Owners...but the Stablehands will decide who choose THEIR horse with a Stablehand Challenge. They're in a "receiving barn" where horses are inspected before and after races. The Stablehands' job will be to "muck out" the stables (or clean the "road apples" inside it, in other words). There are red wheelbarrows next to each stable... but their locked and chained up. And the keys are - you guessed it - in the muck! There's a flag near where the key is located so that should make it easier. The Stablehands have five minutes to get as much muck into their containers as possible. And the one who rakes in the most muck gets to be Lead Stablehand and choose who's on the chopping block. As an added bonus for the Owners, they can bet up to $500 on who they think will win.

And they're off (in more ways than one) and gather, two-by-two, to dig and find the keys. But...nobody finds it. So they dig...and dig...and dig some more. Three minutes pass and no one has even an ounce of muck in their bucket because they're concentrating on finding the keys. With 95seconds left, Levar finds the keys and he and Chris find the keys. Tara W., for some reason, is excited about this. Tara C. and Eric are the next to unlock their wheelbarrow and they load it to near overflowing to make up time. All the other teams decide to quit while their pedicures are still relatively intact.

When time expires, Eric and Tara have raked up 62 pounds of muck and straw. Levar and Chris... 245 pounds! It's Levar's container, so Levar wins the Stablehands' Challenge!

But what about the wagers? Aaron bet $40 on Chris, so he goes down to $650. Tara W. bet $150 on Levar (hence why she was so happy), so she goes up to $1030. David bet $136 on Eric and drops to $1600. And Susan, unfortunately, laid $250 on Chris, knocking her down to $1990 but still in the lead.

Later that day, at the Santa Anita Chandelier Room, twelve horse enthusiasts march in to face up to the Guts Match. Think of it as the "Boardroom" of horse racing as two people will be placed on the chopping block. For the Owners, Susan nominates David since he's her biggest competitior. David has no regrets, saying Susan's doing it right. For the Stablehands, Levar chooses the one person he's CERTAIN will pick a winner: Deanna. She says, "I slept with those horses last night; I have feelings for them." (I will NOT go there! I would... I could... I really SHOULD... but I won't!)

The two are then allowed to ask Alex one question about one horse. David asks Alex if Avenue of Knowledge is a good choice. Alex says yes because he has the most current form and good speed. Deanna asks about Ready To Flirt being a lightly-raced horse and Alex says the horse has speed in the morning.

And the choices are...David going for his instinctive pick of #7 Avenue of Knowledge. He thinks the numbers for the 6-year-old grandson of Seattle Slew in the Forum are good... and his father owned a horse called "Avenue of the Stars". And Deanna goes with #12 Crafty Value because the 5-year-old gelding and the most expensive horse in the stable is also the winningest horse in the stable and she "had a ball with him last night". (Again, NOT going there!)

It's the "Call to the Post" with David and Deanna holding their game life in their hands. The two horses will race 2 furlongs (1/4 mile) in a straight line on the front stretch of the track. The winning horse nets its picker $5000 and plants them FIRMLY in the lead. The picker of the LOSING horse... goes home. And the other 10? They again get to bet up to $500 with even odds for whichever horse they think will win. The wagers:

DEAN - $300 on #6 CHRIS - $500 on #12
SARA - $150 on #12 AARON - $325 on #6
JEWEL - $500 on #12 SUSAN - $500 on #6
ERIC - $500 on #12 TARA C - $80 on #12
TARA W - $200 on #6 LEVAR - $200 on #12

Dean's the only one who didn't bet on his fellow Stablehands' horse. This may come back to chomp him in the horse's behind later.

The horses are in the gate...and it's Post Time!

Annnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnd they're off! And DOWN THE STRETCH THEY COME! And Avenue of Knowledge STUMBLES at the start, allowing Crafty Value into an early lead. But Avenue of Knowledge catches up. They are stride-for-stride as they hit the finish line...

...and it's #12 Crafty Value by a head! Deanna earns $5000! All the Stablehands (except Dean) win more money! All the Owners LOSE money!

And, unfortunately, David loses everything. The race, the money... and the shot at the stable. He is "scratched" from the game. (When a horse is "scratched" from a race, it will not be competing... so it makes sense that it's the "You're Fired" of this show.) He says his good-byes and returns to his life as a graphic artist.

CURRENT STANDINGS
1
DEANNA
$6060
2
SUSAN
$1490
3
JEWEL
$1250
4
ERIC
$1237
5
CHRIS
$1222
6
LEVAR
$1000
7
SARA
$950
8
TARA W
$830
9
AARON
$325
10
DEAN
$324
11
TARA C
$160

11 remain. Who will be Owners? Who will be Stablehands? Who will be scratched NEXT?

No need to wait...just
click here.

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