02/06/2012 6:59PM

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