One of several fictional films produced for the Animal Planet cable network, Big Spender was inspired by a real-life rehabilitation program sponsored by the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation. Having spent most of his adult life behind bars, embittered petty criminal Eddie Burton (Casper Van Dien) is afforded the opportunity to turn his life around by participating in a work-release project caring for retired thoroughbred horses on a minimum-security farm. Although there's little love lost between the cynical Eddie and crusty, crippled farm hand Jake (Graham Greene), Eddie manages to connect with Big Spender, a worn-out race horse who has obviously endured a life of abuse. Through his efforts to save Big Spender from being destroyed, Eddie comes face to face with his own humanity for the first time. But will this new lease on life be enough for Eddie to earn the friendship of Jake and the love of pert female jockey Melinda (Tara Spencer-Nairn)? And what about Eddie's long-estranged seven-year-old son (Matthew Knight)?