American Dream Derby
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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


Steve Santagati
Trainer: Alex Hassinger
Creator: Richard Cronin
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 2 - January 10

Previously on AMERICAN DREAM DERBY, Susan won the first Owner's Challenge and picked David, Tara W. and Aaron to join her in the mansion. Levar won the Stablehand Challenge by digging through "muck". David and Deanna were picked to go through the Guts Match, but it was David who was sent packing when his horse stumbled at the start.

It's morning at Santa Anita and the eleven left are a little bummer that David is history but look forward to trying to get into the mansion as an Owner today. They talk with trainer Alex Hassinger about the Guts Challenge yesterday and how the Owners' horse would've won had it not stumbled. Deanna was saying to the Stablehands that she prayed to her grandfather and uncle and that THEY tripped the horse. Of course, the fact that she's in a heavy lead makes her a marked woman. And several other players are targets as well - Dean for betting against the Stablehands' horse, Tara for being too loud and Levar for being too much of a threat.

After a healthy breakfast, the eleven go out onto the track for the Owner's Challenge which will decide who goes to the mansion for the next few days. The winner gets $1000 added to his/her cash card and gets to choose three housemates.

Host Steve Santagati tells them that THIS Challenge will be about speed. But not the HORSES' speed. I'm talking the PLAYERS' speed. Each person starts by running a half-furlong (110 yards or close to 100 meters) and being timed. One-by-one, they go into the starting gate and sprint. Their times:
AARON - 15.22 seconds DEANNA - 17.97
SARA - 19.75 SUSAN - 22.32
TARA C - 19.62 LEVAR - 14.25
TARA W - 18.38 CHRIS - 13.43
JEWEL - 23.16 ERIC - 14.03
DEAN - 18.38  

So Chris has the fastest time... but... the Challenge isn't over yet. You see, this wasn't exactly a fair race... and horse racing is all about having horses who are equally matched. There was a man named John who asked questions about the players' fitness regiment and their shape and diet. It turns out that John is a pro handicapper... and he's responcible for evening out horse races by putting weights on horses. That's what'll happen here; each player will get weights added to their waists and they'll all run at the same time, with the first to cross the finish line becoming the Lead Owner. The weights:

CHRIS - 120 lbs TARA C - 15 lbs
LEVAR - 100 lbs TARA W - 15 lbs
ERIC - 100 lbs SARA - 10 lbs
AARON - 90 lbs SUSAN - 0 lbs
DEANNA - 30 lbs JEWEL - 0 lbs
DEAN - 20 lbs  

Of course, EVERYONE complains about the weight they put on. They enter the starting gate...they're at the post...annnnnnnnnnnnd they're off! And it's Susie and Jewel with no weight aside of their own bulk going into the lead, but Tara C. and Karen are coming up on the inside. But HERE COMES Eric, hauling that 100 pounds of dead weight to go with his 150 pounds of deader weight! Dave comes out of the backfield, bad knees and all...and it's DEAN by a body length over Eric! Dean gets the grand and the choice of housemates to give $500 to each. Dean chooses Jewel (after she all but threatens him), Levar and Chris. They go to the mansion each for the first time...and the rest, including the Owners from the last two days, get to sleep in the stables tonight.


Aaron took going to the stables with a grain of oats. He looked upon it as an oppotunity to learn from Deanna about what makes HER such a good handicapper. Susan is in heaven and ALSO learns from Deanna. Meanwhile, the Owners down a nice meal in the clubhouse and talk up about the other Stablehands they left behind. Jewel isn't in any "alliances" yet, stating she's getting info about and from everybody for now.

The next day, in the "walking ring" where the jockeys mount their horses en route to the track, both Owners and Stablehands get information about the horses they have to pick from. Most of the info is about breeding, ages, colors and markings.

Steve hopes they were paying attention because there's going to be a quiz. It's another Stablehand Challenge to decide a Lead Stablehand. They're going to see three of the horses and must get the right nameplate for them. The CATCH is...the nameplates are in a troth of cooked oats... and they have to use their MOUTHS to get them out! They must hang the right nameplates on the right stall in the fastest time. Whoever does that wins. And, of course, the Owners get to bet up to $500 on who they think will win.

The horses brought in are #7 Kool Smoke, #1 Regal Cruiser and #2 Sharp As A Fox. Tara C. will start off. She bobs for the nameplates and gets the three of them in position as the Owners cheer her on. She hits the button and finds she has them all right! And in only 1 minute, 11 seconds, too! Sara has to beat that time...and she does, doing it in a mere 58 seconds!

Tara W. is next. She gets Sharp as a Fox right but thinks Kool Smoke is Lauren's first. She corrects it...but she misses hitting the button by one second. Eric is next and he screws up Regal Cruiser and Kool Smoke, which cost him enough time to lose.

Next is former Lead Owner Susan... but her short stature makes it hard for her to lean down and find the nametags. She manages to get ONE on its post...but time runs out quickly after that. Deanna attacks it next. You'd think she knows the horses well enough by now...but she gets one wrong.

It's all down to Aaron to beat 58 seconds and knock Sara off her perch. He gets Regal Cruiser right...she gets Kool Smoke right...he gets Sharp as a Fox right...he hits the button...and he WINS in 53 seconds! Aaron's the new Lead Stablehand!

Now the BAD news. The Owners all LOST money on Aaron. Chris bet $222 on Tara W. (dropping him to $1500), Dean bet $400 on Tara C. (putting HIM at $924), Levar dropped $250 on Tara C. (down to $1250) and Jewel lost $425 on Tara C. as well ($1325). The Taras blew it for them... but at least they have a nice mansion to live in for the night. At said mansion, Dean actually ASKS the other three if they WANT to go to the Guts Match... and they all said no. So he has to do "what's best for Dean".

At the stables, Deanna KNOWS she's the target by Aaron... and she and the other two-time Stablehands get together to talk about which horse Deanna should take at the Guts Match. Aaron seems to be building two different alliances amid the Stablehands: one to pick Deanna and one NOT to. He's not sure WHO he's going to pick.

The next day, at the Santa Anita Chandelier Room, it's time for Guts and Glory Ceremony, the selection process for the Guts Match. For the Owners, Dean nominates Jewel because where she is in the standings. For the Stablehands, Aaron chooses Deanna again because of her knowledge.

The two now may ask Alex one question about one horse. Jewel HAS no questions for Alex. But Deanna asks about Free To Please winning his first race.

And now the choices: Jewel picks #11 Shoot Yeah. No reason...just likes the greatgrandson of Secretariat. And Deanna goes with #7 Kool Smoke, the 5-year-old gelding. Aaron manipulated Deanna into taking up the yoke...and Deanna KNOWS it.

It's the "Call to the Post" with Jewel and Deanna putting their game life on the chopping block in Guts Match. 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 keeps them alive. The picker of the LOSING horse... is "scratched". The other can bet up to $500 with even odds for whichever horse they think will win. The wagers:

DEAN - $220 on #7 CHRIS - $250 on #11
SARA - $150 on #11 AARON - $100 on #7
TARA W - $500 on #7 SUSAN - $500 on #7
ERIC - $500 on #7 TARA C - $160 on #7
LEVAR - $500 on #11  

Jewel thinks Dean's lost his integrity by giving her ONE kind of advice on horses and then choosing the OTHER. Chris hopes to have an alliance with Jewel once this is over. Aaron thinks it's win-win; either he's in a semi-alliance with Deanna... or his greatest rival is gone!

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

Annnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnd they're off! And DOWN THE STRETCH THEY COME! They bump at the start, but it's Kool Smoke on the inside feeling the whip and picking up the pace. Shoot Yeah is in hot pursuit. but it looks like the winner... #7 Kool Smoke by two lengths! Deanna earns ANOTHER $5000! Everyone but Sara, Levar and Chris win some more money!

And, unfortunately, Jewel is "scratched" from the game. She says her good-byes and slumps away. And Deanna? She has a HUGE lead... and is considered "one lucky b*tch" by the others.


10 are left. Who will be Owners? Who will be Stablehands? Who will be scratched NEXT?

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