Let It Ride is a 1989 comedy film starring Richard Dreyfuss as a normally unsuccessful habitual gambler who experiences a day in which he wins every bet he places (and doesn’t lose on the ones he doesn’t).
The film was directed by Joe Pytka and written by Academy Award winning screenwriter Nancy Dowd (under the pen name of Earnest Morton) and based on the novel Good Vibes by Tulsa-based sportswriter Jay Cronley.
Let It Ride was primarily filmed at Hialeah Park Race Track in Miami, Florida, which was closed in 2001 and reopened on November 28, 2009.
The story is centered around the personality contrasts and the perpetually upbeat, hopeful attitudes of losers!
Jay Trotter (Richard Dreyfuss) drives a cab. His friend Looney (David Johanson) does likewise and has a secret microphone in the taxi to record his passenger conversations in hopes of hearing something spicy.
Looney has a tape of two men talking about a horse race and how one of the horses, due to some unethical practice by its owner, is a sure thing to win big. Trotter realizes the potential value of knowledge of a fixed horse race and goes to the track to make a bet — despite the fact that the day before, he told his estranged wife Pam (Teri Garr) that he would quit betting and would be at her place to begin a reconciliation at noon.
At the track, one of the service people offers the observation, “Sometimes you can be walking around lucky and not even know it.”
Watching one of the men from the cab talk to the jockey of the horse that is “supposed” to win, Trotter promptly places a $50 bet. The horse wins in a photo finish and pays $28.40 to win (earning him $710).
Armed with a newfound sense of confidence, Jay approaches the men from the cab and generously gives them the tape of their conversation. In gratitude (since he could have blackmailed them with it), Trotter is given a tip for the next race. He places a bet and wins again.
Sensing that this could be his “lucky day,” Trotter goes about picking winner after winner, letting it ride. (That is, he lets his winnings finance his next bet.) As he accumulates more money and uses his new friends’ membership in the track’s exclusive dining room, Trotter starts coming into contact with other gamblers, including the wealthy Mrs. Davis (Michelle Phillips) and a sexy vixen named Vicki (Jennifer Tilly), attracted to him because of his money and confidence.
Trotter becomes a hero to the ticket seller (Robbie Coltrane) whose window he uses every time and to the customers of the track’s bar. Vicki is throwing herself at him, too, making Trotter appreciate all the more: “I’m having a very good day.”
However, he has totally neglected his wife Pam back at home. Pam flies into a rage when she confronts her husband at the track. He tries to make it up to her with a bottle of wine and a new pearl necklace, but there is still one more race to be run at the track and, after all, “I’m having a very good day.” Trotter makes a final bet of $68,000 (his winnings for the day beginning from the original $50 bet) at 8 to 1 odds on the number 2 horse.
After drinking martini’s at home on the couch by herself and realizing there is nothing she can do to stop him, Pam decides to forgive Trotter, who feels this alone makes him a winner.
He barely pays attention as his final bet of the day…when???