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HBO Pulls the Plug on ‘Luck’ Following Third Horse Death

By on March 14, 2012
Image © ChevronOne.

Image © ChevronOne.

*All filming with horses has been temporarily suspended on the set of HBO’s Luck, pending a comprehensive investigation by the American Humane Association. The move follows the accidental death of a horse on Tuesday, the third on the show to date.

The animal did not die during filming but while it was being led to a Santa Anita Park stable by a groom during which time it reared up, suffering a head injury which necessitated it to be euthanized.

“HBO and everyone involved with the production are deeply saddened, and are working in full cooperation with the AHA and the California Horse Racing Board to complete their inquiry,” HBO said in a statement on the incident.

CHRB official veterinarian Dr. Gary Beck added “I had just examined the horse as part of our routine health and safety procedures prior to work that would be done later on the track. The horse was on her way back to the stall when she reared, flipped over backwards, and struck her head on the ground. Fortunately, attending veterinarian Dr. Heidi Agnic was there to administer immediate aid to the injured horse and determined that humane euthanasia was appropriate.”

CHRB Equine Medical Director Dr. Rick Arthur also said, “As with all fatalities within CHRB racing enclosures a necropsy will be conducted. Unfortunately, we see several of these injuries in the stable area every year. They are more common than people realize.”

The gritty Michael Mann/David Milch horse racing drama series starring Dustin Hoffman and Nick Nolte is currently in production filming season 2.


*In breaking news, it has been confirmed that HBO, along with producers David Milch and Michael Mann, have taken the decision not to move ahead with further episodes. See the Press Release below.

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.”