Horses racing at Santa Anita during filming of HBO's series Luck. HBO image.

HBO suspends filming with horses for its series “Luck” after third death

UPDATE: HBO Cancels “Luck”. The Blood-Horse reports that HBO have now cancelled the series “Luck” due to racehorse deaths while filming.

We understand that the AHA, there to monitor the handling of the horses, were at the mercy of the veterinarians hired to ensure the horses’ safety. From what we make of it, these were racetrack veterinarians whom you think the racehorses should have been safe with. However, with the high casualty rate that normally takes place in horse racing, how unlikely that was to be. The series may have had a better chance if they had not filmed at Santa Anita where the death rate can get quite high, especially with the way they switch surfaces.

Horses racing at Santa Anita during filming of HBO's series Luck. HBO image.
Horses racing at Santa Anita during filming of HBO's series Luck. HBO image.

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A horse was injured and euthanized Tuesday during production of the racetrack drama “Luck,” the third death in connection with the series, and HBO agreed to suspend filming with horses while the accident is investigated.

The humane group that oversees Hollywood productions had issued an immediate demand “that all production involving horses shut down.”

“We are also insisting that this stoppage remain in full effect pending a complete, thorough, and comprehensive investigation,” the American Humane Association said in a statement. It noted that the accident didn’t occur during filming or racing.

The animal was being led to a Santa Anita Park racetrack stable by a groom when it reared and fell back Tuesday morning, suffering a head injury, according to HBO. The horse was euthanized at the track in suburban Arcadia, where “Luck” is filming its second season. Continue reading >>


While the American Humane Association say they are taking strong measures to ensure it does not happen again, I would not bet on the AHA getting it right concerning the odds.

This is the third reported horse death. There were two deaths reported in the media and another reported to us that occurred in the stalls when a horse rared up and broke his shoulder and euthanized. We have not been able to verify whether this was a third death, or one of the two reported deaths where both were said due to leg injuries.

Horses were killed during the AHA-monitored filming of the movie “Flicka”. We only learned of that because someone working on that set unaffiliated with the group wrote to us, appalled at the way the horses were handled by “wranglers” and the seeming lack of concern from those watching over the proceedings.

During “Flicka” we were told that the only action the AHA were going to take was withhold the “No animals were harmed . . .” accreditation. This is the same thing the AHA did with the Luck episodes where two horses were euthanized after sustaining life-threatening injuries.

If the AHA do not have proper knowledge on what are dangerous activities to horses during film production, or how horses should be handled in order to avoid cruelties, injuries and death, then it needs to find people who have it, and pronto. It would also be highly beneficial if they had someone who could read a script and determine potentially harmful situations before horses are ever allowed on set or location.

In the instance of HBO, we suggest they use clips of previously run races, or digitized footage.

Listen to Vivian on Go Vegan Radio discuss the horses who died for “Luck”, and more:


8 thoughts on “HBO suspends filming with horses for its series “Luck” after third death”

  1. Her Majesty is not a spokesperson; she is a monarch. It can be a difficult concept for non Brits to grasp. However, The Royal Family, including the young Princes, very much enjoy blood sport and what that entails. So the slaughter of horses most likely means absolutely nothing to them.


    1. Thank you for explaining it to me. I know very little about ‘Royal Protocol’ and now have less respect for Her Royal Majesty. I wonder if Prince Charles is the same way. He seems to respect the Environment and I know he plays Polo but I wonder if he has any respect for the horses that serve him.

      Elle who is a damn Yankee! :)


  2. Sorry to write a whole post, but here goes!

    Insofar as I have seen over the years, I have never heard Her Majesty take a stand one way or the other on these types of topics. In this instance, it would probably be considered in some circles as political, which she is not allowed to comment on. So she will mostly likely stay mum. Then there is this.

    The Queen’s daughter, Princess Anne, in an interview with Horse & Hound said that England needed more horse slaughter not less.

    Seems the Princess Royal is now President of World Horse Welfare. A coup for them, but not for the horses, if this article is anything to go by.

    World Horse Welfare (formerly ILPH – International League for the Protection of Horses) are trying to improve transport conditions for slaughter bound horses but not ban the slaughter itself. This is a typical welfarist (also called reformist) strategy, working to make events leading up to an animals’ cruel and terrifying death in a slaughterhouse supposedly more humane. This supports the meat industry who loves it, as it helps placate those who want to eat the dead flesh of an animal without the guilt. And boy does it. Just ask the Temple Grandin fans.

    What skewed, grotesque thinking is that?


    1. Princess Anne has always been a tad toxic to me. I recall her riding for the British Olympics and I always wondered what she did to the horse that did not ‘win’ for her. I understand about the Queen, but how could she in all good conscience allow her daughter to promote slaughter? I guess I would have to be from Britain to understand all of this fully. I feel the Queen is an animal lover and don’t understand how she can ‘square’ that with her daughter.




  3. I wasn’t happy HBO was creating this show to begin with. Glorifying yet another blood sport using animals. Most race horses end up put to death at the end of their “career”. TODAY I CANCELLED MY HBO CHANNELS & THE COMCAST REP WAS INTERESTED. I put my money where my mouth and heart is. I am horrified at HBO.


    1. You are so right Natalie. While we criticize American horse racing for all the evils in it compared to racing in other countries, one thing horse racing has in common globally is they all send a percentage of their horses to slaughter.


      1. Vivian, I am just curious as to why the Queen does not stop horse slaughter in the UK. I think I read or heard that if she stated that she did not want this to go on, it would stop out of respect for Her Majesty. Did I misunderstand this?



  4. American Humane is completely ineffective and should get out of the Animals in Entertainment business. I am not even sure how effective they are with their other areas of their Mission Statement: Children. I have never donated a nickel to them due to their horrid record and their stronghold on the Animals in Entertainment.



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