Sam Shepard and Frank Whaley have been cast in the ESPN original telefilm Ruffian. The horse racing drama is set to premiere on ABC in June 2007, in conjunction with ABC's coverage of the Belmont Stakes, after which it will air on ESPN and other Walt Disney Co.-owned outlets.

The Hollywood Reporter reports that Shepard plays trainer Franky Whiteley, who guides a filly racehorse through the 1970s. Whaley will play sportswriter Bill Nack. Production on the project is expected to begin March 20 in Shreveport, La. Orly Adelson is executive producing Ruffian, penned by Jim Burnstein, Garrett K. Schiff and Ross Parker.

Yves Simoneau (USA Network's The 4400 and FX's 44 Minutes) is on board to direct.