A little About Alot Saratoga

Did The New York Times Wake Racing Fans or did HBO's LUCK, Saratoga?

By now, you've either read the article in Sunday's NYT or you've heard about it. And, you're talking about the story. 

A good conversation for all our friends in Saratoga.

Did The New York Times start paying attention to the problem of jockey deaths or injuries in the thoroughbred or quarter horse world when the three "actor" horse deaths started to occurr during the production of HBO's LUCK, which began shooting in 2010.

I watched every single episode of LUCK. Sadly, that title wasn't very lucky for Michael Mann, Dustin Hoffman, real life jockey/actor, Gary Stevens and the rest of cast, as well as the now out of work production team. 

The HBO show shutdown last week caused a ripple effect of interest. I followed this very closely. The show was not highly rated. It was a slow burn. Others called it a ratings bust. But if you have an interest in horse racing, it was good appointment TV. 

Did the three horse deaths on the problem plagued production call attention to a larger horse industry issue? The New York Times knows a compelling tale. Expect more stories on this topic in the coming weeks leading up to The Kentucky Derby as THE TRIPLE CROWN series of races starts.

Concerns over the current state of the thoroughbred horse racing as well as the quarter horse/ harness racing industry is now percolating. A closer inspection of tracks, race courses across this country, is a crucial step for the overall horse industry to thrive. 

Just as in the steroid scandals of Major League Baseball and bicycle racing's blood doping troubles, self examination leads to reform which leads to a stronger industry. Use of performance enhancing drugs weakens a sport, masking the injuries and allowing the athelete to compete when normally they'd be scratched, sidelined or benched.

As the New York Times continues to investigate and report, where are our New York State leaders? 

The politicians know. The owners, breeders, trainers, jockeys know. Now, the fans know part of the story. Did the NYT's do anything but a job, maybe not a perfect job of gathering the facts, but they did what is now considered their job: to spark reader interest. 

So, really, who is to blame? The insatiable quest for money or being strapped for money can be a serious root to all these evils. So is a lack of conscience.

Everyone involved may want to take a moment and personally reflect. Decide what is best for their horse, their jockey, their business, for their reputations or foe their media outlet. 

For some, this is easy because their conscience is clear. For others, it is a real predicament, a question of character. For those who cut corners, their conscience has never been in question, in their own minds.

Each one knows, down deep, where they fit into that lineup.

The public has so many options to entertain themselves. Drawing a crowd is the business of professionals. Those professionals set their own ethical standards and practices. The industry is often a disjointed profession separate from one another. Is this where the government steps in to regulate? Or is it better to self regulate?

Running horses that break down on the track may entice some in the crowds but will terrify others. Thoroughbreds know to run fast and turn left. It is left to humans to determine if a horse will run hurt.

LUCK's production shut down with no hope of a second season, as originally planned.

As for the current and real life horse racing industry crisis stirred up by the first of many to come New York Times articles, the racing world is facing a critical moment. We all want it to turn out better than LUCK, Saratoga.

Leave a comment

Leave a Comment

Elaine Hume Peake

Elaine Hume Peake has vast experience covering news, lifestyle and entertainment since 1976. As an award-winning media executive, senior producer and show runner for a variety of multimedia, Elaine has a deep sense of curiosity and enjoys digging deep to find not only the serious side of life but also the immense joys. Elaine's proven expertise on the national and the local level while working in Washington, DC for Post Newsweek stations, WPLG in Miami, WABC in New York City, WCBS in New York City and WTEN in the Capitol region, she has found a wonderful home in Saratoga. Elaine has extensive experience on the editorial and the creative production side. She has developed several news and talk shows, documentaries, non-fiction television series, major live events and specials has taken her on a fantastic journey she will share with her audience of A LITTLE ABOUT A LOT. Elaine's perspective after covering riots, Princess Di's death, Pope John Paul II funeral and others such as the search and recovery of the body of John F. Kennedy, Jr, numerous political campaigns, major crime stories to the amazingly life changing days of 9/11 created her level of news gravitas. Elaine has been the driver of numerous newsrooms in the nonstop 24/7 news cycle of New York City, Miami, Washington, DC and now this region. She is well as traveled and enjoyed her globe trotting in search of great tales to share. Elaine loves to communicate the story in an interesting, compelling and enjoyable way. She is a passionate idea generator and program innovator with a news metabolism for innovation, change and a focus on the future while a perspective from over the past 35 years of news. Elaine maintains a keen awareness on delivering enjoyment to her readers whether it be a major news happening or a compelling, memorable moment in time. Elaine is on board with Saratoga.com for a fun ride deeper into the world of this region and wants her readers of A LITTLE ABOUT A LOT to be a part of the journey but also a major participate in the ongoing conversation. Readers can e-mail me with comments, suggestions, ideas, stories at