UPDATE, WEDNESDAY AM: Although production continues on Season 2 of HBO’s Luck, the network reaffirmed today that it will only shoot scenes that don’t involve horses as an investigation concludes regarding the death of a horse on the Santa Anita set. Although Luck centers on the world of horse racing, the multiple plot lines include gambling, personal stories and business intrigue.
With the media focusing more attention on the death of the horse yesterday at the track, HBO issued a second statement earlier today pledging “full cooperation” with the investigation, being conducted by the American Humane Association. With PETA predictably calling for the show to shut down and questioning the ongoing use of horses in the production, HBO reiterated in the statement sent to the media that an AHA representative had been on the set yesterday, adding that “recent assertions of lax attitudes or negligence could not be further from the truth.”
PREVIOUS, TUESDAY 7 PM: Tragedy struck again on the set of the HBO series Luck where another horse died today. The show, which features intense racing scenes, is currently shooting its second season at Santa Anita Race Track in the L.A. suburb of Arcadia. “An American Humane Association Certified Safety Representative was on the premises when the accident occurred, and as always, all safety precautions were in place,” the network said in a statement. “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.” While the investigation is going on, HBO is suspending the use of horses during filming of the show. The network also provided a statement from CHRB official veterinarian Dr. Gary Beck who said, “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.” Added CHRB Equine Medical Director Dr. Rick Arthur, “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.”
This is the third horse to die during production of the Michael Mann/David Milch drama series that stars Dustin Hoffman and Nick Nolte. The previous two were injured and had to be euthanized during production of the first season, which prompted a call from The American Humane Association to shut down production. Shooting resumed after new safety procedures were implemented.