Stable Life

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See a preview of this Truly CA episode.

Wealthy owners, charismatic jockeys and elegant thoroughbred horses might be the dominant images associated with racetracks, but an important side of the story is kept from public view. The Sport of Kings wouldn't exist without the constant efforts and cheap labor of immigrant workers who run the practical operations of the stables. Behind the track, undocumented families gamble on the promise of a better tomorrow by maintaining the sporting spectacle.

In a collision of the seen and hidden, Stable Life follows the Martinez family and the days leading up to the 2008 closure of the Bay Meadow Racetrack. Though the family lives with the constant threat of deportation, they are optimistic. Eldest son José Luis has begun a promising career as an apprentice jockey, and parents Dionicia and Mario hope to pay a coyote to bring their two youngest boys to the States. Though the hours at the racetrack are long, it's steady work and they have created a network with other immigrants to engenders a warm and supportive community. Just when it looks like the gamble might pay off for the Martinez family, however, immigration crackdowns shatter any hope of family and stability.

An unfiltered look at America's immigration system, Stable Life examines undocumented labor by offering a candid window into their often forgotten world. How much is the American dream worth? How much do you actually want to find out?