There is a moment when she needs to raise funds to be able to pay off the inheritance tax due upon her father's death, and while that may be the most dramatic of the occurrences, it is quickly dealt with. That probably is actually a smart move on the filmmakers' part rather than an oversight as Penny's pseudo-underdog status is seriously challenged by the notion that she might owe millions in an inheritance tax (because the estate she got had to be worth millions to owe that money).
The script by Mike Rich (based on a book by William Nack) does, occasionally, try to play up the issues Penny has living so far away from her family, but not terribly successfully. Again here, a main problem is a lack of character development — the film only bothers to try to establish one of her four kids as a real individual and even that attempt is half-hearted. Then, as Penny's family issues are only given the briefest nod, one has a hard time discerning why they're included to begin with.
In the end, without characters to really root for, without massive obstacles for them to overcome, and without true dramatic reversals, what the audience is left with is a straightforward tale about the best horse of its time (some might say the best horse ever) managing to win a whole bunch of races. On the upside, those races are actually filmed in fine fashion, with the cameras truly getting the viewers into the middle of the action. While 2003's Seabiscuit may have made for a better movie overall, the filming of Toby Maguire (as the jockey) during the race sequences left a whole lot to be desired, and that's a mistake that Wallace and company don't make here. Every shot during a race looks beautiful, breathtaking, and utterly real. Of course, good camerawork during those sequences doesn't make up for a film which is, in almost every other way, distinctly lacking.
Those good racing scenes look that much better with this Blu-ray release. Disney, yet again, does quite a good job with the high definition transfer. The colors are rich and the detail level high. When the dirt flies up off the track in a race it look spectacular, and when Lucien is wearing one of his horrible outfits it looks just as atrocious as the characters say it does. There does appear to be an issue with the blacks during some sequences where it becomes difficult to tell where one black ends and another begins, but it isn't a hugely distracting problem. The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack excels during the races, with thundering crowds, thundering hooves, and a completely immersive audio experience. The sound also works in quieter moments and is well mixed so you won't have to play with the volume repeatedly as the film switches between those quiet and loud sequences.