Tag Archives: PETA

Update: Farewell to HBO’s “Luck”

They won the race, but they lost the baby. And the show.

The first two are fake. But the show is real, as are the three  horse deaths sustained during the production of HBO’s “Luck.”

And that’s why last night’s “Luck” was far more than a “season” finale. It was the final final. it’s theme song was a dirge signalling the end of “Luck.”

Too bad. The show is really about the human interaction. The racing scenes were incidental. They could have easily been done in a way to prevent harm to the animals. The scenes that are more poignant are back at the stable anyway.  Yet pProducers were so quick to cancel  after PETA exposed the horse deaths. To satisfy PETA, the producers didn’t have to cancel. They merely had to assure that the animals would be safe.

Why couldn’t David Milch and Michael Mann do that? Instead, they went straight to the cancellation option.

If you saw the credits last night,  you may have noticed the disclaimer at the end was different.  It didn’t say “no animals were harmed.”

It simply said the American Humane Association “monitored” the production.

Exactly what this means isn’t clear, but whatever monitoring was done clearly wasn’t enough to assure safety for the horses on the show.

What’s amazing is that the horse racing industry continues to think “Luck” was good for business and continues to criticize PETA.

The organization that deserves the scrutiny is AHA.

But let’s not get hung up about the fake races in fictional drama.

As the New York Times reported yesterday, there are many more deaths and drama with real horses in real races.

The industry has found a way to bring cash to the races by bringing in casino-style gambling and slot machines to the tracks. But being flush with cash has not brought out the humane side of the horsemen. Instead, the race purses are so rich, even for the lowest quality horses, that greedy horsemen keep sending out their unfit stock to race for the money.

Unfit horses? Well, if not for the drugs.

HBO cancels “Luck” as horse deaths on set forces network to do the right thing

Responding to pressure from PETA over the deaths of three thoroughbreds, HBO has cancelled the series on horse racing, “Luck.”

It’s too bad for the cast and crew, as shooting had begun on a second season meaning at least another eight months of work. Production staffers reportedly just learned about the cancellation around 4:30 PDT from journalists.

But any blame should be put squarely on the producers for the cancellation.  If they were serious about animal welfare, they shouldn’t have used old, out-of-shape horses in the race sequences. And they should have had more attentive  oversight from the group hired by SAG and producers to make sure that indeed “no animals were harmed” during the production.

Inspite of the participation of some heralded names in show biz (Dustin Hoffman, David Milch, Michael Mann), mixed in with racing notables like Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens, “Luck” never seemed to live up to its hype.

It was a mixed first season with a  brooding story of racing degenerates and shadowy corporate characters blended with the real life drama of Indian gaming and slot machine placements in racetracks. 

“Luck” had none of the uplift of “Secretariat,” nor the heart of “Sea Biscuit.” Instead, it was a nasty, gritty depiction of the race world.  It wanted to be “The Sopranos” with horses.

Maybe it was too real.

Ironically, a recent episode featured a horse breaking down. In fact, the real life story of  unsound horses racing when they shouldn’t, was  a subtheme in the series.

In the end, that’s what ends up sinking the whole enterprise.

Art and real life were too close.

When real horses end up dying in the filming of fake races, that’s just too ironic for words.