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HBO won't press its 'Luck,' cancels racing drama after third horse death

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HBO has canceled its Dustin Hoffman / Nick Nolte dramatic series "Luck" after the deaths of three horses during production at Santa Anita Racetrack in Arcadia. The most recent accident occurred on Tuesday.

The network, which ordered a second season of shows immediately following the season one premiere, intends to air the remainder of the first season, but production has been shut down for good.

Executive produced by David Milch and Michael Mann, "Luck" was slow to catch ratings, and was criticized for its storytelling pace, says the L.A. Times. Fans, they say, praised the show for its "artistry." 

The official HBO statement via Deadline:

It is with heartbreak that executive producers David Milch and Michael Mann together with HBO have decided to cease all future production on the series Luck.

Safety is always of paramount concern.  We maintained the highest safety standards throughout production, higher in fact than any protocols existing in horseracing anywhere with many fewer incidents than occur in racing or than befall horses normally in barns at night or pastures.  While we maintained the highest safety standards possible, accidents unfortunately happen and it is impossible to guarantee they won’t in the future.  Accordingly, we have reached this difficult decision.

We are immensely proud of this series, the writing, the acting, the filmmaking, the celebration of the culture of horses, and everyone involved in its creation.

Quote from Michael Mann and David Milch:  “The two of us loved this series, loved the cast, crew and writers.  This has been a tremendous collaboration and one that we plan to continue in the future.”


Third horse dies at Santa Anita while filming HBO show 'Luck'

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Photo by Suzanne / neusuz5 via Flickr Creative Commons

Santa Anita Racetrack

HBO suspended its filming of horses following the third death at Santa Anita Racetrack in connection with the dramatic series "Luck."

A horse was euthanized at the track on Tuesday after the animal reared and fell back, suffering a head injury, NBC LA reports. The horse was being led to a racetrack stable  when it accident occurred, according to HBO.

"Luck," a Dustin Hoffman-starring production in its second season, was already the focus of a PETA complaint. The organization says it sent a notification to local law enforcement to investigate the deaths of two other horses that were hurt in racing scenes and euthanized during the first season of filming in 2010-2011.

Though this week's accident did not occur during filming or racing, The American Humane Association insisted in a statement that a stoppage in the filming of horses, "remain in full effect pending a complete, thorough, and comprehensive investigation."