The Sport of Kings has rarely looked so sumptuous as in Dustin Hoffman's TV series Luck, which sees thoroughbreds barrelling around the sun-kissed racetracks of Southern California.
Off camera, things aren't so pretty. HBO, which is currently filming the highbrow drama's second series, has abruptly suspended the use of horses on its set, following the sudden death of yet another one of their equine performers.
The animal was put down on Tuesday after it reared, fell over and hit its head. The incident at Santa Anita racetrack near Los Angeles is the third fatal accident involving horses in Luck's short history.
Animal rights activists have called for local police to launch an investigation into possible breaches of welfare laws. They blamed the "outrageous" deaths on "sloppy oversight" by the makers of the show, created by the Hollywood director, Michael Mann.
HBO said it was "deeply saddened" by the horse's death and promised "full cooperation" with a probe by the American Humane Association.Reuse content