Following a tip, Manabu Yazaki loses his last money betting on the older "banba" horse "Unryu" (jockied by Makie, a legendary jockey's daughter) in a draft-horse race held in his childhood home of Obihiro on the island of Hokkaido. That evening he seeks out his older brother Takeo, a trainer who owns a stable. Takeo is cool to his brother's return since Manabu cut off contact with Takeo and his mother 13 years earlier, after completing a degree at a Tokyo university, founding a successful company, and getting married.
After finding out that Manabu's company is going bankrupt, his marriage has ended and he is hiding from his partner and creditors, Takeo offers to let his brother stay if he earns his keep as a stable hand. However, he resists letting him see their mother, who is in a nursing home. Manabu makes real friends among the stable boys, and begins to bring Unryu back into peak racing form. He also takes an interest in restoring Makie's confidence, for after winning early races as a novice she is now in a losing streak.