Katie Woods (Joanne Vannicola) loved life on her father's, Henry's (Len Cariou), ranch but after her mother passed away he sent her away to get a proper education as that is what her mum would have wanted. But six years later and now in a relationship with Eric (Dean McDermott), Katie returns home to the ranch as she learns that her father is sick and he wants her to return to run the place. But that is not the only issue Katie is confronted with having returned home as Cass (David Charvet), who she was in love with back then, still works for her dad, training his prize horses to run in the derby.
It is over 20 years since "Derby" was made and trust me there have been a lot of similar movies to have graced the small screen since which feature the cliche of an estranged daughter returning home to a ranch which has financial problems and so has to make a decision between head and heart when it comes to the ranch, the horses and her fathers wishes. But we then have the cliche of Katie still having feelings for Cass who has always carried a torch for her. As such there is an undeniable familiarity to "Derby" with at least part of the movie being pretty obvious.
But there is an interesting side to "Derby" as we have a horse which only Cass is capable of riding but is skittish around others yet we have horse trainers and owners who want the horse purely for profit. Basically there is a duplicitous side to some of the characters in the movie which at least makes this a little more interesting.
But I have to be honest and tell you that for all the story and a few racing scenes "Derby" is very much about the appeal of Joanne Vannicola and David Charvet who look great both together and apart. Yes their characters are cliche and don't have a great deal of depth but in a strange sort of way it doesn't matter.
What this all boils down to is that "Derby" isn't going to surprise you to much if you are a fan of made for TV movies as it is built on some familiar cliches. Yet it has a certain easy going and visual appeal which makes it a pleasant distraction for fans of TV movies.