Episodes: 10 (hour)
TV show dates: December 11, 2011 — March 25, 2012
Series status: Cancelled
Performers include: Dustin Hoffman, Dennis Farina, Nick Nolte, Kerry Condon, John Ortiz, Jill Hennessy, Richard Kind, Gary Stevens, Tom Payne, Kevin Dunn, Ian Hart, Ritchie Coster, and Jason Gedrick.
TV show description:
This TV show takes a look at the multi-layered world of horse racing — the owners, gamblers, jockeys and gamers.
Chester “Ace” Bernstein (Dustin Hoffman) is the ultimate deal maker and has been involved with various gambling enterprises for most of his life. After serving three years in prison, Ace sets his sights on Santa Anita race track as a means to settling a score.
Gus Demitriou (Dennis Farina) is Ace’s longtime driver, muscle and confidante. He’s taking on an expanded role for his boss, acting as the front for Ace’s ownership of a new Irish race horse, Pint of Plain.
A weathered trainer-turned-owner from Kentucky, Walter Smith (Nick Nolte) is cautiously hopeful about his promising colt, Gettn’up Morning. His optimism is tempered by unrevealed secrets from a past scandal. Rosie Shanahan (Kerry Condon) works as an exercise girl for him and is eager to earn a shot as a jockey.
A Peruvian immigrant, Turo Escalante (John Ortiz) has worked his way up to become a gifted horse trainer. His reputation for success is matched only by his often disreputable tactics. Jo Carter (Jill Hennessy) is a race track veterinarian who cares for the horses in Escalante’s barn. Savvy and no-nonsense, she can give back whatever Escalante tries to dish out.
Joey Rathburn (Richard Kind) is a jockey’s agent whose stammer and anxious toadying make him a frequent target for Escalante. One of his clients is Ronnie Jenkins (Gary Stevens), a veteran jockey who’s seen it all before and is too familiar with bottles of Jack Daniels. Leon “Bug Boy” Micheaux (Tom Payne) is an apprentice jockey client. Despite his enthusiasm, his challenges in making weight threaten to derail his promising talent.
A misanthropic ball buster in a motorized wheelchair, Marcus Becker (Kevin Dunn) pursues a high stakes payoff with a guarded resolve. He’s the ringleader of a group of degenerate gamblers — Lonnie McHinery (Ian Hart), a would-be player who is more likely to get “played” himself; dim bulb Renzo Calagari (Ritchie Coster) who bets his disability checks as fast as he gets them; and Jerry Boyle (Jason Gedrick), a railbird with a genuine gift for handicapping horses and a profound weakness for high stakes poker.
Gus spots a story in the morning paper about a body found off the marina. As he and Ace head out to see if it is Nathan Israel, they run into Ace’s grandson in the lobby. The young man thanks Gus for sending him a plane ticket, and Ace and Gus realize that Mike flew him in as a veiled threat. Ace tells the kid to stay in his suite no matter what, but doesn’t want him to know he’s in danger.
The Foray Stables owners nervously prepare for the Derby Day. Marcus worries about inviting his doctor to the race, suspicious of his motives, but Jerry sets him at ease. Renzo picks up his mother at the bus station and brings her to the track. Jerry shares his picks with the group and they lay down their bets-they’re playing the Pick Four and betting big on their own horse and Pint of Plain both winning. Just before the race, Escalante introduces them all to Rosie and gives her some last minute advice
One of Mike’s men photographs Ace leaving the building. The man meets with a hit man and shares the details of Ace’s routine. At the morgue, Gus and Ace see Israel’s body. Ace is devastated, knowing he put the young man in harm’s way. As they drive away, Ace has Gus stop the car and calls Claire at the horse farm; the sound of her voice has a calming effect. Ace pays a visit to his parole officer and tells him about his “friend’s” horse. As he leaves the building, Gus spots the hit man on a roof across the street and has Ace go back inside and leave from a different exit.
Later, Gus and Ace dine in a coffee shop and Gus spots Mike’s man watching them. Ace stages a loud argument with Gus who makes a show of leaving the table to call the grandson while Ace heads to the restroom. In reality, Gus hides in the bathroom while Ace draws the hit man inside. Gus catches the hired gun off guard and, after a struggle, kills him. Mike’s spotter sees Ace coming in from outside and, realizing something is very off, phones the dead hit man frantically. When he returns to his car, Mike’s man is whisked away by one of Gus’s men, who’d been lying in wait.
In the earlier race, Rosie rides Mon Gateau to victory as the horse’s owners and their guests look on. Leon cheers her on from the sidelines and Jerry gives him a winning ticket for his part in getting the horse to this point. The Bug Boy is moving to Portland and already has three mounts lined up.
Gus and Ace arrive at the track and check on their horse. Physically he’s fine, Escalante tells them, but the stable goat that usually accompanies him has gone missing. “Like everyone else, he has a routine,” the trainer says, and Ace relates. At the Walking Ring, Mike approaches Ace and compliments him on his adaptability. Mike tries to intimidate Ace by letting him know he’s been given a very long leash.
First aired: March 25, 2012
Note: The first episode of the second season was supposedly completed but, due to the controversy regarding production, it wasn’t released.
What do you think? Do you like the Luck TV series? Are you sorry that it was cancelled before season two could be completed?
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