01/29/2012 2:20PM

HBO's 'Luck' breaks from the gate - learn who's who, discuss the pilot


Daily Racing Form coverage of HBO's new horse racing drama "Luck," which has its premiere tonight after offering a sneak peek at the pilot episode back in December:

Bill Christine: New drama 'Luck' reveals racing as Milch sees it

“Every word that you hear will have gone through my typewriter,” Milch said of “Luck.” That was a figure of speech. Actually, he writes without a typewriter or a computer − he writes everything out in longhand.

As he pushed the envelope, Milch knew that what somebody called his “love letter to the game” wasn’t going to be roundly received by even those inside the game.

“There are bound to be some people who will have misgivings,” he said. Read more »

Andrew Beyer: Milch's 'Luck' rises above typical television fare

This is not the typical Hollywood depiction of horse racing’s beauty, though “Luck,” which makes its debut Sunday at 9 p.m., is a collaboration of two Hollywood heavyweights, director Michael Mann (“Miami Vice,” “The Insider”) and creator/writer David Milch (“Hill Street Blues,” “Deadwood.”) While Mann oversaw the camera work that yielded striking depictions of horses and racing action, Milch brought to life the hard-edged aspects of the sport. He had been preparing for this assignment for most of his 66 years. Read more »

Trainer Julio Canani and actor John Ortiz

Trainer Julio Canani (left) at Santa Anita with actor John Ortiz, who plays the Canani-inspired trainer Turo Escalante on "Luck." Photo: Benoit & Associates.

'Luck' cast of characters and real-life inspirations

Those hoping to get lucky in 'Luck' include Chester "Ace" Bernstein, played by Dustin Hoffman. After three years in prison, Bernstein has big plans--revenge, buying Santa Anita, winning some big races with an expensive horse from Ireland. Bill Christine reveals some of the real-life racing figures who inspired Milch's creations. Full character guide »

Review: HBO's 'Luck' gets down and dirty at the track

A trainer hides a horse off a two-year layoff and puts him over at 12-1. A trio of degenerates gets a hustler to bankroll an $864 pick six ticket and takes down the whole pool. A high-level mob associate gets out of the clink and instructs his aide de camp to check up on his colicky, $2 million horse, whose true ownership is hidden. A longshot breaks down and is euthanized on the track while comforted by his bug-boy jock. And a gruff old trainer mutters to his promising new charge that the horse’s “daddy” was killed.

And that was just the first hour.

Welcome to the sinister world of “Luck.” Full review by DRF's Matt Hegarty »

Most importantly, what did you think of the show? Have your say in the comments and discuss the pilot episode.

Chance More than 1 year ago
Luck needed this guy on as a technical advisor: http://blog.horseplayersassociation.org/2012/02/st-horseplayers-say.html
Rhils More than 1 year ago
WinngColrz More than 1 year ago
After one hour I cannot believe how everyone thinks there will be no better portrayal of any part of the horse racing industry, c'mon, really? There is no telling what kind of viewer it will attract, whether it be a new prosepective owner or gambler or a person wanting to be a jockey. Certainly it will attract some people. I can't imagine it not. Personally I got into the game because of the love of horses, at age 19. My first experience of a breakdown fortunately was not one of the horses I groomed, but it was from our barn. People tend to forget that horses injure and maim themselves at farms, in backyards, at horse shows EVERY DAY. I can guarantee you though, that NOBODY in the horse business has a quicker euthanasia protocol than a racetrack. Because we put racing on the big and little screen, and because it's supposed to be a sport and an industry and we "make" the horses run, and we encourage people to enjoy a day at the races, we become the evil that has no regard for their lives. There will always be SOME people that have no regard for animal life and they will never shed tears or be haunted by it. Most people ARE always aware that it can happen at any time and they will do ANYTHING that it takes to prevent it or help end pain and suffering as quickly as possible. It has always been my opinion that just going by numbers, horses suffer catastrophic breakdowns far less than they should, given the way they are made, the speed, the interference, the surfaces we ask them to perform on. I am glad for that! Forget all the inaccuracies of the Pick 6 bet, the payoff, the 12 times they called themselves degenerates, the number of times the f-bomb was dropped (c'mon, really? When you can hear it at nice restaurants and office buildings constantly, you realize more people use it casually than not--this is an outdoor venue where people are self employed--f-bombs happen!). Forget that the workout was much further than he initially said (I believe he just wanted a 1/4 mile blowout and the horse worked 3/4). Forget he was in the middle of the track, too far off the fence for most of workout then works inside horses at the finish. Forget the constant nickering of horses in the gate, paddock and barn. Forget that she said the horse was "pulling her arms off" when in fact he was slack reined and basically hobby horsing. I don't believe there has ever been a horse racing movie or television episode of any type that has EVER been perfectly edited. I'm sure if you're in the law enforcement industry or medical field or a football coach or a dentist, you'll see a zillion things that "would never happen". Just let it go!!! Enjoy that we have a new series that although gritty and more real than many would like to admit, is closer to much of the truth and is out there for a broader possible fan base. I can't wait for more. PS: Yes, I would have liked to have heard the Cajun jock, the trainer, the vet all speak up more clearly I'm sure they'll work on that for us to enjoy more? Bring it on! Lisa J OKC
tim d More than 1 year ago
Edit police......when showing the Pick 6 payouts the first time the 5 and 8 were the $2.6 mil payoffs, during the race it changes to the 2 horse. Poor editing
Transfig More than 1 year ago
For those of you who think we're nitpicking w/the details about the Pick6 ticket scenario, what would your reaction be if this was a baseball movie and a batter had four strikes and a team got four outs in an inning....you need credibility.....minor things that should have NOT been overlooked.....afterall, horse racing fans will make up the majority of the viewers
Rossco More than 1 year ago
Lets all not forget, that without horse racing these horses would not exist. If Luck turns out to be good for horse racing than im all for it.
Jim More than 1 year ago
Possible upcoming storylines for luck: Gary Steven's agent agrees to mount in overnight stakes at Philly park, but Stevens is so distraught he commits suicide. Shipper horse sneezes in jocks face in paddock, causing jockey to OD. (Guest star Dick Dutrow) John McCririck shows up for Breeders Cup week, and strikes up a "relationship" with track announcer Vic Stauffer. Any Chantal Sutherland nude scene.
Christalan More than 1 year ago
We probably could all do without the pain and suffering that goes on at the track, and that “insiders” know all too well. If you have spent anytime “down on the rail” you have probably heard the “pop” while not necessarily realizing that the fluid soon rushes into the joint and starts to stretch the skin like some sort of obscene drum. If the skin is broken the blood will flow. One is more likely to notice the fear and terror in the eye of the majestic Thoroughbred, as the chink in the armor is realized, a problem is channeled, and all bets are cancelled. Sorry. I didn’t like “Titanic”, either.
BOB REEVES More than 1 year ago
Such great actors! The movie seems to be more about gambling on horse races rather than the sport of Thoroughbred horseracing! What exactly is the point of showing a horse breaking down and being put down on the race track? No one seemed to care about the horse that brokedown other than the young jockey holding the horse's head. This is not the case in reality. The common thread among the people in horseracing is love of the horses. Is the series going to later show the relationship between the horse and his trainer? The dreams of the owners that lead them to invest in the horse. Right now the first chapter of this series had nothing positive to say about horseracing. It was very negative. My wife has already said she is done with "Luck" ask me to point out to her one positive thing the show said about our sport. I couldn't! We need positive light shown on our sport which has a lot of positive attributes. I would not recommend this series to anyone that loves animals or horseracing.
michael More than 1 year ago
Could have lived without the breakdown. I worked on the backside for years and we all know the reality of it. But, everybody already associates horse racing with breakdowns. Scumbags and and what have you, people can tolerate. A horse's ankle hanging by the skin of his fetlock we can do without. the loud pop and the pull up should suffice.