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HBO axes 'Luck’ After third horse dies


Nick Nolte stars in Luck, HBO's new horse-racing drama

Nick Nolte stars in Luck, HBO's new horse-racing drama

Nick Nolte stars in Luck, HBO's new horse-racing drama

HBO has cancelled race horse drama Luck starring Dustin Hoffman after a third animal was killed during the production.

HBO have canceled production of the series Luck, citing safety concerns after the death of a third horse working on the show, which was built on characters involved in thoroughbred racing.

Cancellation of the series, starring Dustin Hoffman and Nick Nolte, follows the euthanisation on Tuesday of an injured horse that had reared, fallen backward and hit its head. The show had suspended filming with the animals pending an inquiry. The decision was made yesterday to end the show permanently.

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

The inquiry into the third horse’s death, including a postmortem examination and toxicology test, will continue, the California Horse Racing Board said in a statement.

Luck, filmed at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, California, had drawn criticism following the death of two horses in 2010 and 2011, leading to one prior halt in shooting and added safety measures.

The network has aired seven of the first season’s nine episodes. HBO ordered a 10-episode second season in January after the pilot was watched by a total of 3.3 million viewers.

Hoffman, in his first starring role on as TV series, plays Chester “Ace” Bernstein, a wealthy businessman with murky ties to organised crime, who has just been released from prison. He seeks to take over the racetrack and add casino gambling, and in the process gain revenge on a partner he blames for his incarceration.

The latest horse to die wasn’t involved in filming at the time of the accident. It had received an exam prior to scheduled shooting later in the day and was being walked to the stable when it reared, HBO (a division of Time Warner Inc) said.

Canceling the show was the best decision HBO could make, American Human Association said yesterday in a statement. The organization said it will reach out to HBO about the “disposition of the horses in the ‘Luck’ barn and ensure that they are retired properly.”