02/06/2012 7:59PM

The history behind 'Luck' episode 2


"Calumet was long considered the crown jewel among Bluegrass horse farms, and its Kentucky Derby record is unparalleled. Since 1935, when founder Warren Wright was at the helm, the farm has bred nine winners, eight of whom it also owned. Two of those winners, Whirlaway in 1941 and Citation in 1948, went on to win the Triple Crown. The farm's last Derby success came with Calumet-bred Strike the Gold, who won the race in 1991, just months before Calumet collapsed into bankruptcy and a web of lawsuits after the resignation of its chief at the time, J. T. Lundy. A sordid series of accusations followed, including one alleging that Lundy had ordered the farm's star-crossed stallion, Alydar, killed for insurance money.

"Lundy is serving four and a half years in federal prison for his role in the Calumet bankruptcy on counts of fraud, conspiracy, and bribery. Alydar was found in his stall at Calumet Farm with a broken leg in November 1990 and was euthanized on Nov. 15, with Calumet collecting on a $35 million insurance policy. Prosecutors have failed to connect the stallion's death with Lundy, who has denied any wrongdoing."

- Glenye Cain Oakford, Daily Racing Form

Sound familiar? As Bill Christine noted in his DRF Weekend piece on "Luck" creator David Milch, the controversy surrounding Calumet Farm and Alydar's death provided the inspiration for the story of Delphi, the late sire of trainer Walter Smith's (Nick Nolte) star colt. Smith still seems haunted by the whole affair, which he recounted to jockey Ronnie Jenkins (Gary Stevens) in episode 2 of HBO's horse racing drama "Luck," which aired Sunday.

Meanwhile, the members of the pick six syndicate struggle to deal with their newfound wealth, exercise rider Rosie still hopes for her shot at a breakthrough mount, and we learn why Ace Bernstein (Dustin Hoffman) went to prison in the first place.

If you're still sorting out who's who on "Luck," read DRF's character guide.

And if you're on Twitter tonight at 9 p.m. Eastern, join a chat organized by the NTRA at hashtag #LuckChat, with Stevens, Chantal Sutherland (Lizzie), and John Ortiz (trainer Turo Escalante) lined up to answer viewer questions.

John Ortiz tweet

Magic Mark More than 1 year ago
Any thoughts if Gary Stevens/Ronnie is playing his real life good buddy Chris Antley with all the drugs and drinking ?
Bob Chorak More than 1 year ago
Was excited when I found out about the series, but so far,it's been disappointing. Who is going to pay 30,000 for a horse just claimed for 8,000. Hope there's something good going to happen.
Marcelo More than 1 year ago
The poster that criticized that gang of 4 not being authentic made me laugh because those characters are loosely based on a betting syndicate at the track that I am a part of. We were at the track last year around this time and David Milch walked up to us, introduced himself, and sat with us shooting the breeze for about half an hour about track life, etc... The show is great and the dialogue is Milchian at its finest.
ed More than 1 year ago
people should stop the pointing out the minor flaws in the script and remember we are watching an entertaining television show with several very fine actors not a true life event past or present sit back and enjoy something racing fans have been waiting for a long time it will get better if given a chance be POSITIVE
John Boyes More than 1 year ago
I think its hard for a non-lifetime player such as a scrip or screen writer to really understand and "get" all the racing "jargon" , as Trevor would say, "spot on "..........but its still a good glance at the ways of racing . There is a group of movies among most sports fans that stand up and above when discussing the best of a certain sport, Basketball gets "Hoosiers"...Baseball "Field of Dreams", Golf, "Tin Cup" and I think the fun side of racing has no equal to Richard Dryfus in "Let it Ride" Maybe LUCK will be mentioned in the future as a great racing movie, but I also think it would be well served to re-run on NBC during Breeders Cup week when new fans are bombarded with Breeders Cup commercials.....................................pik their interests, with maybe now I understand a bit, lets go to Santa Anita !
Mike G More than 1 year ago
I DVR'ed the 2nd episode and turned it off 3/4 thru. The staged races are brutal. I lost count of the plot lines. The characters are annoying. Especially the sterotypical horse players that are for some reason terrified to let anybody know they won the pick 6. Not to mention the jockey agent, that may or may not be mentally challenged. The Horse Racing 101 lessons injected in the dialog are also painfull. I can't see how anybody thinks this show will be good for racing. They make every action that a character does seem like they are doing something underhanded. They would be doing racing a favor is the show was cancelled.
Clemintine More than 1 year ago
Maybe if we all took a cue from Sherman T. Potter of MASH, who said, ""It's got the three things that make a movie great: Horses, cowboys and more horses!" Then again, he also said, "If a horse thinks he is Man O' War, I might not want to change his opinion!"
Joe More than 1 year ago
Life imitates art!!! Toro Escalante...uhhh...I mean...Julio Canani just took today's first at Santa Anita with a horse paying $26.20. I wonder if Julio has $3000 in win tickets to cash like Toro?
Philip Messing More than 1 year ago
A successful show relies upon plot and the characters, so it's perhaps unfair to lambast the show "Luck," based upon a few minor script mistakes, particularly when the show promises to be an amusing look at the underbelly of a sport we all enjoy. That said, it's still rather disappointing that simple plotting errors are so easily discerned, for if the show can't appeal o its core audience -- those of us who read the Racing Form and take this somewhat seriously -- how convincing is it apt tla Not only was there that rather distracting error in episode one that was previously noted about the potential payout for the #2 horse in the Pick-6 suddenly changing -- it went from $300,000, or so to an only-winning-ticket payout of $2.7 million in one screen shot!-- there was a far more annoying error, too, as it involved the central premise of the episode. Specifically, one the four down-on-their luck partners in the Pick-6 construct a ticket that costs about $700, but their play is vastly more expensive. If memory serves me right, their play was 3 x 3 x 4 x 1 x 5 x 9 (the number of entrants in the last leg) x $2 (the cost of a $2 bet). Not to quibble, but that comes to $3,240 -- a far cry from the $700 or so they jointly put up. Again, perhaps such nuances are meaningless to the larger and entertaining plot line that will unfold as the show progresses, but all the same when you see such sloppy lapses in the script, well, it seems to me that it makes it more difficult to suspend one's disbelief and enjoy the show as much as you might like. Best, PhilipM
frank bamford More than 1 year ago
how about julio and the carrots?he sold carrots to get thru the stable gate. regards,wambam