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

richard barton More than 1 year ago
Santa Anita, Great. Dustin Hoffman, great. Nick Nolte, great. Dennis Farina, great. Getting up in the morning was great. Whats not to like? seriously.
Robin Dawson More than 1 year ago
Round 4, and one has to give this fighter some credit, after three rounds on the ropes. Perhaps its the emergence, amongst the main credits, of Jay Hovdey as the 'leading' writer (and possibly new director of credibility) that has improved the story?...Perhaps we're only now getting used to the cast? Whatever, now that the final episode of the latest series of Downton Abbey (that I've been watching immediately prior to LUCK) has been broadcast, maybe my mindset will be different, when it comes to appreciating what up to now has been tough viewing after something so sublime? I still have serious reservations about the horses and staged races; find the poker scenes too repetitive and predictable; haven't a clue what Dustin Hoffman and his mates are up to, and cannot understand what most of the other characters are saying, but this is horse racing, and maybe this will turn out to be an Arcangues?
VanessaG More than 1 year ago
Robin- Did you see my post in response to your last post from Episode 3? Interested in hearing your opinions!!
Robin Dawson More than 1 year ago
Yes, Vanessa... if you go to the Blogs, screen down and click on Episode 3 for Luck, you will see my reply.
VanessaG More than 1 year ago
No, that wasn't the one. I guess it didn't get posted because I don't see it there. I'll have to remember how I worded the response!! It was about why I believe that our industry's leaders aren't very interested in hearing ideas about ways to improve racing. I was interested in hearing your opinion about my opinion!! If you didn't receive that post, I'll repost later when I have more free time!!!
Robin Dawson More than 1 year ago
Vanessa..reviewing your three paragraph post (on Luck 3) I appreciate what you, as a member of the medical profession, may think about House. In my case, knowing that David Milch has created great TV and film and also is an owner of thoroughbreds + the fact that Jay Hovdey is apparently writing the script, I find Luck very disappointing, because its so bogus. It just should be so much better. Why do I watch it? Probably because, as a fan of horse racing, I hope its going to get better. Para 2...I've largely answered in my reply. Para 3, re the poisonous nature of comments related to horse racing..I don't think that I'm the only disenchanted person who is thoroughly pissed off with the way that our sport has been run into the ground by the powers that be. Forgive me if I'm offending you, but thats just the way it is. Nobody is more of an enthusuast than I...I've created and produced award-winning radio on horse racing, written for a national newspaper on the subject and designed countless web presentations that have all been ridiculed and dismissed by the likes of the NTRA, WEG, MEC, NYRA, Breeders' Cup...the really poisonous people.