Santa Anita Park Proves Unlucky for HBO Racetrack Drama

HBO puts “Luck” filming on hold after another horse death

Published : Wednesday, March 14, 2012 | 7:11 PM

Premier cable television network HBO decided to cancel the racetrack drama series ‘Luck’ following the death of another horse during its production on Tuesday at Santa Anita Park in nearby Arcadia.

HBO has been filming scenes involving horse races at Santa Anita Park for their original TV series “Luck,” which stars Dustin Hoffman and Dennis Ferina. However, the production of the film is currently under scrutiny following another accident on the set.

HBO released a statement in connection to the matter, extending their apology for the accident that cost the life of another horse in the production, and at the same time, showing their intention to help the American Humane Association in their investigation over the incident.

“HBO and everyone involved with the production are deeply saddened,” the network said in an e-mailed statement, according to San Francisco Gate.” pledging “full cooperation” with the investigation by the humane association, which monitors animal safety on film and TV sets, and the California Horse Racing Board.

Since “Luck” started filming in 2010, three horses reportedly died or sometimes got hurt and then euthanized during the filming of the series. The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals said the deaths were caused by the use of unhealthy horses and lack of effort to asses to give proper care of racehorses.

“Three horses have now died, and all the evidence we have gathered points to sloppy oversight, the use of unfit or injured horses, and disregard for the treatment of racehorses,” PETA’s vice president of laboratory investigations Kathy Guillermo told San Francisco Gate Wednesday.

The PETA executive also added they already filed complaints about “Luck’s” negligence on animal care to Arcadia police and the Pasadena Humane Society.

Although HBO insisted they observed safety precautions in the presence of representatives from the American Humane Association on the set, the organization will still conduct further investigation with the help of California Horse Racing Board equine medical doctor Dr. Rick Arthur.

The production added the on-going investigation will not derail the filming of other scenes not needing the use of horses as they prepare to launch the second season of the “Luck” series in 2013.

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