Dustin Hoffman, star of "Luck," at Santa Anita Park.

Dustin Hoffman, star of "Luck," at Santa Anita Park.


HBO OKs First Season for Racing Drama 'Luck'

Cutting edge series will use Santa Anita as backdrop to depict life on racetrack.

Cable network Home Box Office has approved writer/producer David Milch's new series, “Luck,” described as a cutting-edge depiction of life on the racetrack, for an inaugural season with shooting to commence at Santa Anita either this fall or early in 2011.

Daily Variety, in announcing the decision July 14, said that highly placed executives at HBO have indicated that “Luck’s” first season will consist of a pilot and seven to nine additional weekly episodes. 

Milch, who created "Luck,"  is also a prominent Thoroughbred horse owner who has won two Breeders’ Cup races.

The pilot for “Luck,” which is due to air on HBO late next year, was shot primarily at Santa Anita this past March and April. Milch enlisted the services of major director Michael Mann, whose credits include “Miami Vice,” “Ali,” and “Public Enemies.” Mann is to remain in an advisory capacity for the upcoming series.

Milch also procured the services of actors Dustin Hoffman, Nick Nolte, Dennis Farina, and John Ortiz for the pilot. Although they will not all remain series regulars, it is believed those actors who contributed to the pilot will maintain a presence as “Luck” develops in seasonal episodic form.

“It’s hard to quantify how much we feel this could mean to Santa Anita and horse racing in general,” said Pete Siberell, Santa Anita's community and events coordinator.  “Anyone who’s watched ‘Hill Street Blues,’ ‘NYPD Blue,’ or ‘Deadwood’ knows what David Milch is capable of. He has a heart-felt passion for racing and although he’ll be delving into to some dark areas on occasion, we feel strongly that “Luck” has the potential to have a similar impact to that of "The Sopranos,’" which also aired on HBO.

“This is great news and it couldn’t have come at a better time," Siberell added. "Horse racing is experiencing many challenges right now, and now, more than ever, we need to be reaching out to new people in a creative and innovative way. "Luck" is going to generate a lot of buzz and it is going to get people talking about racing and about Santa Anita, which is fantastic.

“From what we understand, the people at HBO are absolutely thrilled with what Michael Mann has been able to put together thus far and we feel that people are going to view horse racing as they’ve never seen or imagined it before, with a compelling plot line, dynamic acting, and film production that Mann is famous for.”