UPDATE: Third horse dies on set of Luck; HBO ceases production of future episodes
Yesterday morning, one of the horses featured on HBO’s horse-racing show Luck suffered a head injury in transport and had to be put down at the track, Deadline reports. HBO has suspended filming that involves horses—which, considering how integral they are to the set, is likely a good percentage—while the American Humane Association investigates. The show was in the midst of shooting the beginning of season two when the death occurred.
This makes an unlucky three for the equine actors on the show, including one filly who was euthanized after falling caused a nerve fracture. After the first two deaths, HBO responded to the uproar from PETA and other animal-related organizations by implementing new safety regulations for the horses. No surprise that PETA’s ire has been stoked again by this latest incident: The organization claims that neither of the retired racehorses Luck was using “should have been anywhere near a racetrack.” No word on what horse whisperer Nick Nolte has to say, but odds are that it would be unintelligible to the human ear, anyway.
UPDATE: According to HBO’s most recent statement on the matter, the network—along with executive producers Michael Mann and David Milch—have opted to halt production of Luck’s entire second season. While the statement alludes to safety precautions taken on set—“higher in fact than any protocols existing in horseracing anywhere with many fewer incidents than occur in racing or than befall horses normally in barns at night or pastures”—it also acknowledges that even those strict protocols could not prevent the tragic accidents that have happened to Luck’s animal actors. The release concludes with the following joint quote from Mann and Milch: “The two of us loved this series, loved the cast, crew and writers. This has been a tremendous collaboration and one that we plan to continue in the future.” As it stands, viewers still have two more chances to catch new episodes of this particular iteration of that collaboration, with what will be the final two episodes of Luck set to air on March 18 and 25, respectively.