Luck – Revealing the Multi-Faceted World of Horseracing

Often referred to as the “Sport of Kings”, horseracing has had more than its share of controversy during its history. Today, with casinos collaborating with the horseracing industry, and advances in modern technology bringing simulcast racing to many venues, the sport is perceived by many to be just another form of gambling. This perception is challenged by horseracing enthusiasts who are involved with the equine athletes that stir up so much excitement on race-day. A new television series, set to premiere on 11 December, may very well change the general public’s understanding about horseracing, as it addresses all aspects of the sport, including the role of owners, jockeys, punters and various gaming entities, as well as the horses themselves.

With a cast that includes some well-known names – Dustin Hoffman, Nick Nolte, John Ortiz, Richard Kind, Dennis Farina, Ian Hart, Kevin Dunn, Ritchie Coster, Jill Hennessey, Kerry Condon, Tom Payne and Gary Stevens – the series called Luck is based on a screenplay by David Milch (co-creator of the acclaimed series NYPD Blue). The HBO website described the star of the show, Dustin Hoffman, as playing an intelligent man in his late 60s who has recently been released from prison and who has been very involved in gambling. While following the story of a number of characters whose paths cross at a racetrack, the series realistically details the behind-the-scenes activity of the horseracing industry.

Explaining why he had chosen horseracing as the subject of his latest project, in an interview with Variety, the author noted that Luck is based on a subject which has held his interest for fifty years. He described the world of horseracing as being “complicated and engaging”, from the high-profile clubhouse and grandstand, to the training and care of the horses. Certainly, many players in this multi-million dollar industry would agree.

Adding to the authenticity of Luck, the series will feature characters who are, in fact, part of the horseracing industry, one of which is former jockey Gary Stevens of Seabiscuit fame, as well as Canadian female top jockey Chantal Sutherland. Horseracing in the United States, and elsewhere, has been hit hard by the global economic downturn. Maybe a bit of Luck will help recapture the prestige of the Sport of Kings.