03/12/2012 9:35AM

Luck Episode 7 Recap: Slowly I turned ...


When you leave things to chance, you never know what you're going to get. It's the name of the show, after all: Luck.

Lonnie the track rat thinks he has spotted the next Mon Gateau -- a claiming horse that has far more ability than the trainer is letting on. He announces to the other three track rats that he's going to put in a claim for a filly named Niagara's Fall prior to her race that afternoon. With bug boy Leon Micheaux on the mount, the filly looks terrific out of the gate. But just when it looks like she's about to put the race away, she pulls up lame in the stretch. The diagnosis: ruptured flexor tendon.

Lonnie's claim goes through, but Niagara's Fall will never race again.

Instead of a speedy filly, he's stuck with a broodmare. Marcus blames Lonnie for not giving his trainer Turo Escalante enough time to get the inside scoop on the horse's fitness. Lonnie acknowledges his impetuous behavior but also chalks up this stroke of bad luck to a Three Stooges bit about "Niagara Falls." He believes he should have known better than to buy a horse connected with Larry, Moe, and Curly.

Looking to capitalize further on his hot streak, Jerry enters a World Series of Poker satellite tournament. Naomi the card dealer is there, too, trying to earn her way in, but she doesn't last long at the table. Jerry is cleaning up, though, and during the dinner break meets up with Naomi outside. He offers to sharpen her gambling skills. "Having learned so little, I can offer to teach you everything I know," he says. They end up hitting the jackpot together in the driver's seat of his car.

Afterward he shows up at the motel to show off his two prizes for the day -- a WSOP ticket and Naomi.

Meanwhile, aboard Mike Smythe's yacht, Ace Bernstein's double agent Nathan Israel is realizing he's getting much more than he bargained for when Smythe starts grilling him about Ace's plan. Israel tries to talk his way out of it but Mike isn't budging. "With all due respect," Israel says, "You fail to appreciate Mr. Bernstein's full sincerity." Smythe sees through Israel's gambit and keeps pressing. Finally, Israel makes a fatal mistake by using one of Ace's pet phrases: "Answers a question with a question." Smythe bludgeons Israel with a crystal ashtray and, as the kid's blood pools on what must be very expensive carpet, announces, "100 percent solidarity with Ace! Syntax is how I know, syntax!"

Ace spends the day at Claire LeChea's farm for recovering Thoroughbreds and inmates. He then heads to the Indian casino to make a public handshake with the head of the casino; they know Smythe's spy is within range taking pictures. Ace wants to fuel the idea that he's got the gaming lobby bought and paid for.

Rosie the jockey has a gambit of her own in mind, though for much smaller stakes. She needs to know if trainer Walter Smith will be keeping her as Gettin' Up Morning's jockey. She enlists Joey Rathburn as her agent to speak to Smith on her behalf. Smith realizes he can't keep her hanging when she could be gaining mounts at Golden Gate Fields or Portland Meadows. At the same time, Ronnie Jenkins shows up to tell Smith he's in rehab and wants his old mount aboard Morning back. Smith has to choose between inexperienced Rosie and the washed-up Jenkins.

Predictably, Smith puts his trust in Jenkins, hoping the old pro can stay on the wagon. But while he's working out to try to make weight, Jenkins eyes a bottle of dope and can't resist. Smith will be putting his prized colt into the hands of a junkie.

Back at the Escalante stable, Jo the veterinarian decides to tell Escalante that she's in foal but gets sidetracked by a wayward boy. Feeling motherly, she pays the boy's uncle $10 so that the boy, Eduardo, can spend the day at the track with her. But when she has to leave the track with Niagara's Fall, Escalante is left to watch the kid. He ends up giving him a ride home and, perhaps seeing a bit of himself in Eduardo, lets him know how to get in touch with him in the future. When Escalante gets home, he learns from Jo about her pregnancy and, to her surprise, is much more accepting of the idea than she had hoped.

-- Jacob Luft

More Luck Episode 7 coverage:
I Screen You Screen: Still in custody
WSJ: 'Luck,' Season 1, Episode 7: TV Recap
OregonLive.com: 'Luck' recap: Michael Gambon yells 'syntax!' in a scary English way