01/12/2006 12:00AM

Ruffian movie in works at ESPN


ESPN plans to begin production next month on a television movie about Ruffian, the champion 2-year-old and 3-year-old filly who was undefeated until suffering a fatal injury in a match race in 1975, the network announced Thursday.

The movie is scheduled to debut in June 2007 on ABC in conjunction with ABC's broadcast of the Belmont Stakes. Both ESPN and ABC are owned by the Walt Disney Company.

Trained by Frank Whiteley and owned by Mr. and Mrs. Stuart Janney, Ruffian was named 1974's champion 2-year-old filly after dominating her opposition in all five of her starts, including four graded stakes. In 1975, she had won all five of her starts before she broke down approximately a quarter-mile into a 10-furlong match race with Kentucky Derby winner Foolish Pleasure at Belmont Park.