HBO Ends David Milch's <i>Luck</i> in Wake of Horse Deaths

HBO has ended David Milch's racetrack drama Luck following the deaths of three horses, the most recent just this week.

The series, which stars Dustin Hoffman, Dennis Farina, Nick Nolte and Richard Kind, premiered to critical acclaim on Jan. 29, but soon came under fire from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and other groups when it was revealed that two horses were injured and had to be euthanized during the filming of the pilot and seventh episode. The cable network defended its treatment of the show's horses, saying it was working with the American Humane Association to implement safety measures that exceed film and television standards.

But on Tuesday a third horse was injured California's Santa Anita Park, where Luck is filming its second season, and had to be put down. HBO agreed to suspend filming with the animals while the American Humane Association investigated the incident. By this afternoon, however, HBO, Milch and executive producer Michael Mann had decided to end the series entirely.

Here's the official announcement from HBO:

It is with heartbreak that executive producers David Milch and Michael Mann together with HBO have decided to cease all future production on the series LUCK.

Safety is always of paramount concern. We maintained the highest safety standards throughout production, 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. While we maintained the highest safety standards possible, accidents unfortunately happen and it is impossible to guarantee they won't in the future. Accordingly, we have reached this difficult decision.

We are immensely proud of this series, the writing, the acting, the filmmaking, the celebration of the culture of horses, and everyone involved in its creation.

Quote from Michael Mann and David 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."

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