American actor Clifton Collins Jr. was one of the few actors who didn't have professional experience in horse racing in the 2021 movie Jockey. 

Otherwise, the film — directed by Clint Bentley and written by Bentley and Greg Kwedar — featured real-life horse-racing professionals. Though Collins was not an expert, he did his best to blend in with the jockeys and bring his character to life. 

And his connection with horses from a young age helped him live the part to full potential. 

Clifton Collins Jr. Started Betting on Horses at a Young Age 

Collins' participation in horse racing goes back to when he was a kid. The Jockey star gushed about his experience during an interview with TheWrap’s Beatrice Verhoeven at the Toronto International Film Festival in September 2021.

As per his accounts, those memories weren’t always pleasing. Actually, Collins' parents had separated when he was a kid.

So whenever he met his father, he would spend time with him on the racetrack. As a result, Collins started betting on horses at nine. He would do the stats and calculations when his father drank. 

But obviously, the now-51-year-old didn't continue the sport. Instead, he became a prominent member of the Latino entertainment industry, starring in a plethora of movies and TV series such as Freddy's NightmaresAlias, Red Widow, and The Event. 

Clifton Collins Jr. In 'Jockey'

Collins embodies a professional horse rider named Jackson in Jockey. Jackson is a middle-aged rider who gets the last chance to prove his worth through a horse racing championship. 

He has to win the title for his long-time trainer Ruth, played by Molly Parker. For his role in the drama, Collins did all that he could to get in the headspace of a jockey. He even helped his jockey mentors while getting trained for the part.

From carrying saddles, cleaning gear to staying with the horses, the talented actor took his training seriously. "I spent almost every day with the jockeys," he told Verhoeven in the aforementioned interview. 

That wasn't all. Collins wanted to change his mentors' perception of him being actor-y. So he served them whenever he could to fit in and be one of the guys. As per the Los Angeles native, it was easier for him to have enough anonymity and blend in within days.

Thanks to his hard work and the entire team's dedication, Jockey won the U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Award at the Sundance Film Festival in 2021.

And soon after its premiere in the Park City, Utah festival, Sony Pictures Classics acquired the film. According to Deadline, the movie will first hit theatres in LA and New York on December 29, 2021.