02/20/2012 12:24PM

Luck Episode 4 recap: Give us this day our daily bread


Jerry the track rat is in trouble. He's washing his face in the bathroom trying to rub away the narcotized haze he seeks -- and too often finds -- at the poker table. Once again he's getting cleaned out by his nemesis Leo Chan, who has succeeded in rattling Jerry to the state of poker impotence.

"Jerry sticks when he should muck. Muck when he should play," Chan crows.

Chan is in Jerry's head, and if we learned anything from watching "Rounders" three dozen times, once you get into a guy's head, victory is imminent. Matt Damon calls out KGB's Oreo cookies tell, and the rest is a formality.

Chan moves in for the kill and offers Jerry a heads-up match at Chan's restaurant. Jerry foolishly accepts. Yeah, that's not going to end well.

Back at Santa Anita Park, Rosie returns from her Portland Meadows exile and nobody is happier to see her than her mount, Gettin'up Morning. No longer just an exercise rider, Rosie finally gains access to the female jockeys' dressing room, which she has all to herself. As she dresses for her first ride aboard Morning, she recites the Lord's Prayer: "Our Father who art in heaven …"

The other three track rats are hounding trainer Turo Escalante about when their claiming horse, Mon Gateau, is going to run. Then Joey Rathburn, the stuttering jockey agent, tries to angle Escalante for a mount for his bug boy, Leon. Escalante looks at the jockey and says, "Is he gaining weight?" A flustered Joey pulls away, says, "I've got to watch my horses."

Injured jockey Ronnie Jenkins is too high on painkillers and who knows what else to listen to his agent's complaints. Suffice it to say Jenkins doesn't need poker to get high. In a nice piece of irony, Renzo lectures his mother on why she shouldn't gamble on nursing home bingo.

Rosie has trouble with Gettin'up Morning in the gate but finally gets going and wins a six-furlong maiden race in a blazing time of 1:07.40, which would have tied the old track record; the Bob Baffert-trained The Factor owns the mark now with a 1:06.98 as a 2-year-old in 2011. Rosie celebrates by mounting the bug boy and watching the race replay over and over. Give us this day our daily bread ...

After the race, trainer Walter Smith angles with the vet for a Lasix prescription, producing a bloody towel as evidence. Only horses that bleed get Lasix, but somehow all horses bleed. Isn't that odd? And speaking of shady trainers, Escalante tries to pump the vet later for information on Smith's horse.

Ace Bernstein continues what appears to be a courtship of the lady running the retired Thoroughbreds charity, setting up an elaborate breakfast in his hotel suite for her and promising the funds needed for their cause -- a paltry $220K for him. She leaves him a note that says some of her motivations are "private," stirring passions in Ace that he didn't know he still had.

Ace changes ties before going to confront Mike, the man responsible for his three-year stint in prison. Ace refuses Mike's generous offer of the beautiful women on his yacht -- Lead us not into temptation -- and sells Mike on Ace's racetrack scheme. Does Mike want in? "I do want a piece," Mike responds. The hook is set.

At Chan's restaurant, Jerry's bankroll is taking another beating. It's hard not to think of Al Pacino's line from the "Two For The Money": "I never feel better than when they're raking the chips away; not bringing them in." Luckily for Jerry, his friends show up to rescue him. When Jerry sees Renzo and Lonnie, he snaps out of his haze, looks around, and sees the dozens of onlookers. It's a scene right out of "The Deer Hunter," and Jerry's going to end up like Christopher Walken if he doesn't leave the table. … But deliver us from evil.

-- Jacob Luft

More Luck Episode 4 Coverage:
WSJ: 'Luck,' Season 1, Episode 4: TV Recap
EW: 'Luck' recap: Gettin'up Morning Time