"Its power lies in the way events, unforeseen at the time of production, played out in such a remarkable way. I am referring of course to the story of Pleasantly Perfect. His secret was so well-kept, then revealed so skillfully that it never fails to catch me unawares each time I view the DVD."
V. Lyn Powell, Racing Fan, Charleston, SC

eclipse ***WINNER***Media Eclipse Award, feature category, 2006
***WINNER***American Library Association, Booklist Editors' Choice, 2008

The equine athletes in Hall of Fame trainer Richard Mandella's stable are "on the muscle" —fit, race ready, and as good as they get. The barn doors are wide open for the first in-depth look inside their world.

Three one-hour episodes follow the engaging horse characters and their trainer, veterinarian, jockeys, exercise riders and caretakers through the highs and lows of a year of world class racing. With unprecedented access to all areas of Santa Anita Park, Hollywood Park and Del Mar Racecourse, the filmmakers reveal a self-contained world that few people see, and most misunderstand.

The three segments are organized chronologically, extending from the Southern California circuit to some of the biggest events in racing — including the Kentucky Oaks and two Breeders' Cup World Championships. The daily life of the barn and its people is the constant backdrop from which the stories of six horse characters emerge, competing at racing's highest level.

Rich with life lessons and dramas big and small, the programs culminate in a breathtaking, historic triumph at the 2003 Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships. After a year of dramatic setbacks fit for "Seabiscuit," our hero horse, Pleasantly Perfect, caps off the day by winning the $4 million Breeders' Cup Classic. A more perfect ending could not have been scripted!

Original Score by Charles Gross

ON THE MUSCLE has been broadcast in the U.S. on HRTV and HorseTV, and in Japan on Green Channel, with screenings in the U.S., South Africa, Sweden and Trinidad.

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What viewers are sayng about On the Muscle:

"Without question the best thing I have ever seen on thoroughbred horse racing… nothing short of brilliant."

Mike Willman, Racing Analyst and ESPN Radio Host

"On the Muscle should be required viewing for all race fans. It was extremely well shot and put together. It was entertaining. It was educational. I cringed a little on that first operation...but I found that it was so interesting that I made myself watch, and it was worth it. Mandella's little "chats" with Pleasantly Perfect as a young horse were hysterical. If you can't tell, I was mesmerized by the entire film...was really hoping it would go on for at least another hour."

Lydia Williams, Freelance Racing Photographer, Parkton, MD

"I had allowed time to watch Part One only, but I could not turn it off and go back to my scheduled activities. I thoroughly enjoyed every moment of this DVD. It was Pleasantly Perfect!"
Mary Van Holt, Flying Mane Ranch, San Juan Capistrano, CA

"Oh gosh...watched it start to finish...I just loved it. I actually wish they would have added a few more hours to it...I hated when it was over. The surgeries were pretty neat too. I've seen pictures of what happens but to see it actually happening was amazing. To all associated with this--BRAVO!!!"
JeAnna Ramirez, Racing Fan, Redwood City, CA

"… one of the greatest training achievements of all time."

Steve Haskin, Senior Correspondent, The Blood-Horse