Luck is an American, live action drama that focuses on the underhanded dealings of the horse racing industry. The show stars Dustin Hoffman as Chester (Ace) Bernstein, a professional mobster who is just released from prison. After a successful career in organized crime, particularly in illegal gambling, Ace expresses interest in taking over the Santa Anita racetrack when he learns his friend and driver Gus (Dennis Farina) has purchased a horse named Pint of Plain that is training there.
Ace's main goal is to take possession of the race track in order to incorporate casino gambling. However, the underlying reason to control Santa Anita is to take revenge against the people who put him in federal prison for three years. This includes his former business partners Nick DiRossi (Alan Rosenberg) and Isadore Cohen (Ted Levine). Also on Ace's Radar is Michael Smythe (Michael Gambon), an associate who stashed a large amount of cocaine in one of Ace's apartments - the reason he ended up in prison.
Created by television veteran David Milch, Luck was produced by him, Dustin Hoffman, and Michael Mann, who directed the pilot episode. It premiered on the pay cable network HBO in December of 2011. Besides those already mentioned, Luck starred Richard Kind, Kevin Dunn, Jason Gedrick, Gary Stevens, Jill Hennessy, and Nick Nolte.
Though the network renewed Luck for a second, 10-episode season soon after it premiered, it was canceled in March of 2012 due to safety concerns after a third horse trained at Santa Anita and used in the series died. The remainder of the first season episodes, nine in total, continued to air until March. Luck was released on Blu-ray and DVD in November of 2012.
Watch Full Episodes of Luck
Luck Full Episode Guide
In the series finale, Gus draws on past experience to deal with a present threat, and Ace is shocked by a surprise visitor. Meanwhile, Walter's Gettin' Up Morning and Gus' Pint of Plain wow the crowd in the Western Derby; Mon Gateau's owners prepare for their biggest race so far; and Escalante continues to check on Jo's condition.
Ace enjoys his visit to the prison-outreach retirement farm for horses, while Nathan Israel struggles to persuade Ace's new partners of his boss' sincerity. Meanwhile, Walter discusses Gettin' Up Morning's ownership with a lawyer and chooses his next rider; Jerry teams up with a card dealer to play their way into a poker tournament; and Rosie asks Joey for representation.
Ace meets with a track owner and his parole officer, but sends Nathan Israel to talk shop with his fellow scheming investors. Meanwhile, an earthquake has an unexpected effect on Joey's state of mind; and Leon and Rosie find their racing skills questioned by higher authorities.
Ace takes control when Escalante surprises Gus with his decision to race Pint of Plain with an inexperienced jockey in the horse's debut. Meanwhile, Marcus investigates the definition of his friendship with Jerry; and Claire accompanies Ace to the track after accepting his very generous donation.
Ace and Claire meet to discuss a charitable endeavor for prisoners. Ace later discusses his new venture with an old partner. Meanwhile, Jerry's gambling nemesis lures him into a dangerous game; and Walter turns to Rosie to be his new jockey.
Jerry goes after a deal to purchase the horse that Renzo lost to Mulligan while also talking to Escalante about training it. Meanwhile, Walter considers a change in jockeys after Gettin' Up Morning's first race ends badly; and Ace gives a young brainiac the opportunity of a lifetime.
Ace shows off his famous temper during a contentious meeting with one-time colleague Nick DiRossi and a possible investor, Isadore Cohen. Although Marcus is weary about flaunting his newfound wealth, his three partners have no such qualms. Uncertain that Rosie Shanahan is seasoned enough to ride his once-in-a-lifetime horse, Mr. Walter enlists Ronnie Jenkins as his mount.
Luck follows a number of characters who frequent the same horse-racing track.
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Allegations of animal abuse and shady dealings regarding the treatment of horses on set have led to the cancellation of the HBO show.
We hardly knew ye "Luck"! The HBO drama about horse racing featuring the star power of Dustin Hoffman and Nick Nolte has officially closed up shop today, according to an HBO press release.
Three horses have died and People for the Ethical Treament of Animals now want's HBO's racing drama "Luck" taken behind the barn with a shotgun. Following a third animal fatality during shooting in two seasons, HBO has suspending race-sequence shooting until a full investigation into a horse's injury and eventual euthanasia Tuesday has been completed.
"Luck" seems like such an apropos name. Most shows that premiere to barely over 1 million viewers would be considered a disappointment. Nevertheless, HBO's new horses-and-gamblers drama led by Dustin Hoffman and produced by Michael Mann has been given the green light for a full 10-episode second season, coming January 2013.