Rocket Fuel
ABR Sweepstakes
Please provide a valid email address.
Close

Blog - POP CULTURE

Art courtesy of Jen Ferguson

This feature contains adult content intended for mature audiences

Note from author John Perrotta: This blog is the writer’s depiction of an imagined racetrack-based story, an ongoing saga, which includes some of the characters depicted in the ill-fated “Luck” series.

Cast of characters

The “Degenerates”

Marcus - wheelchair-bound since falling from a tree as a child, he’s irascible but sensitive, and his world revolves around trying to pick winners at the track. 

Jerry – Marcus’ best friend, a player in many senses of the word, he’s a clever horse handicapper with a weakness for Texas Hold ’Em poker and good-looking women. 

Renzo - a sweet guy who’s not that great at handicapping but loves the familial relationship of a group of gamblers. 

Lonnie – another good soul who has a load of self-esteem issues and deals with them by trying to be the “cool” one.

red white blue Bar

Ronnie Jenkins – a veteran jockey nearing the end of a career. He’s a former top rider and Derby winner but suffers from PTSD after a series of spills and wants one more chance with a “big” horse.

Joey Rathburn – longtime jockey agent, he has toiled in ambiguity for years and now has a shot at the gold ring.

Rosie Shanahan – the Irish import, she’s moved up from exercise girl to jockey and is proving she can hold her own with the boys.

Walter Smith – an old-school horseman, he’s come to California with his only horse to get away from bad memories in Kentucky.  When the horse turns out to be a real runner, he gets more attention than he wanted.

Turo Escalante – a Peruvian misanthrope, he’s a skilled horseman with a big ego that gets tested when a talented horse with shady connections lands in his barn.

Ace Bernstein – mob-connected “businessman” who has done time for a frame-up, and now he is looking for revenge.  Bernstein loves the track and has a dream of resurrecting the sport.

Gus Demitriou – Ace’s longtime driver, bodyguard and confidante.  Winning a big slot jackpot fixed by Ace, he’s been the beard for the purchase of a talented Irish colt.

Mike Smythe – an evil mob guy who framed Ace and is obsessed with making his life difficult.  Sometimes seems like the devil himself.

Goose – the “fifth wheel” of the Degenerates, he’s a lifetime racetracker who gambles every day and occasionally trains horses. He and Renzo bonded when they tried to claim Mon Gateau.

Bayou Bobby – the short-order cook in the Jockeys’ Room — a perennial wise guy.

Birddog – a shady jockey agent.

Chaz – Renzo’s little brother, done with a stint in rehab.

Moonbeam – Renzo’s waitress girlfriend from the diner.

Naomi – Jerry’s card-dealer girlfriend.

Kitti – one of Ronnie Jenkin’s ex-wives, she’s a former Las Vegas showgirl with a wild streak.

FADE IN:

“GREAT TO HAVE YOU BACK MISTER B,” reads the banner over the entrance to the executive offices.

“They want to put up a statue of you,” says Brent, “for saving the track and their jobs.”

The entire track staff lines the hall outside his suite, where Bernstein makes his way through the lobby, shaking hands and returning salutations.

Back inside his office, Bernstein deposits himself heavily in his desk chair.

“I’m going to need a nap after that,” he says to Gus.

“Looks like you did all the heavy lifting,” Bernstein says to his grandson. “You turned the joint downside-up in a month. I’m proud of you, kid.”

“You were the one, gramps, told me it’s entertainment … I just made it fun again.”

CUT TO:

Out of Luck Blog Archive

Episode 1, Buy Low, Sell High

Episode 2, Part I, Say Hello to My Baby

Episode 2, Part II, Try Not to Screw It Up

Episode 3, Part I, Hope You Had Fun

Episode 3, Part II, Make It Official

Episode 4, Have a Nice Evening

Episode 5, Just a Friend

Episode 6, Part I, All My Fault

Episode 6, Part II, You're a Genius

Episode 7, Part I, What a Surprise

Episode 7, Part II, Hard to Miss

Episode 8, Part I, I'll Be Ready

Episode 8, Part II, Yes, My Dear

Episode 9, Part I, Just Lovely

Episode 9, Part II, Come On, Big Boy

Escalante’s walking Pint of Plain out to a patch of grass for some grazing when Jo arrives.

“Got me a wife and lost my best vet?” he kids. “That how it’s going to work?”

“I’ll be back on the job tomorrow,” she replies. “Just had a doctor’s appointment this morning.”

Escalante’s wiping the dust off the chestnut colt with a rub rag, his back to her.

“Matter of fact, I don’t think I’ll stop working even after the baby’s born,” she says.

“Baby?” says the wide-eyed Escalante.

CUT TO:

Rathburn’s busy booking mounts for Rosie at Clocker’s Corner.  He glances toward the steps and sees her coming with a full head of steam.

“I’ve got to get on one for Baffert,” she says. “But I need to have a talk with you after.”

“A talk,” says Rathburn, “about what?”

“New York,” she snaps, off at a clip toward the barns.

“Curly?” says Rathburn to himself.

CUT TO:

The plainclothes cops are back at trainer Smith’s office door.

“So apparently you didn’t tell us the whole story, did you?” says one cop.

“Otherwise, you might have told us that Henry Clay Patterson was the son-in-law of your former employer at that farm in Kentucky, wouldn’t you?” says the other.

“I told you the name rang a bell,” says the Old Man. “Tried my best to forget about that low-life when I came out here.”

“Seems he was mixed up with some very bad people,” says the cop.

“Did you find out who dispatched him — did you?  Cause if he got what he had coming, it’s very warm where he is now. There’s a special place down there for a person who would mistreat an animal.”

CUT TO:

“Escalante says Pint of Plain can win the Arch de Triomphe race in Paris,” says Gus.

“I think it’s ‘Arc,’ ” says Bernstein. “And I think you should go and live it up.”

“That’s what I was thinking, too,” replies Gus. “Now that the heat is off.  And I might take along a new friend.”

CUT TO:

Ronnie Jenkins has a noticeable limp, coming up the steps toward Rathburn.

“Don’t tell me, you’re going to New York, too,” says the agent.

“Nah, I’m going to Vegas,” Jenkins snaps. “My knee hurts, I’m tired of flipping and they offered me a job as casino host in the horse book at the place where Kitti works.”

“Perfect,” says Rathburn, “I can have a going out of business sale. Know anybody needs a pencil?”

CUT TO:

Marcus and Jerry are each busy scrawling on yellow legal pads. 

“More coffee?” asks the waitress.

“Where’s Moonbeam today?” Jerry asks.

“She split with Guru Ralph for Fiji,” replies the waitress. “He sold his organic juice stand for a bundle and they went to find the meaning of life or something.”

“I hope Renzo knows,” says Marcus. “He was ironing his best Mets jersey for the wedding.”

CUT TO:

“Talk about a reverse of fortunes,” says Goose, counting cash.

“It’s only until I get straightened out,” says Renzo. “After I paid back rent, Mom’s Nordstom card and the horse training bills, my last check to the ‘Institute for Insightfulness’ cleaned me out.”

He shakes his cell phone.

“Moonbeam said she’d text me about the wedding; I hope she isn’t having second thoughts.”

Goose hands a thick roll of hundreds to Lonnie.

“At least she didn’t do you like Wanda did me,” says Lonnie. “Off to parts unknown without a parting valediction.”

CUT TO:

Brent answers his private line.

“He’s right here, want to talk to him? Okay, right,” he says. “Turf Club, one-thirty, sounds perfect.”

To Bernstein and Gus:

“I bet you’ll be glad to see Claire, gramps. She’s running to catch a plane, but she’ll meet us for lunch.”

Bernstein looks a little warm, adjusts his collar.

“Yeah, great,” he says.

CUT TO:

Escalante’s at his desk, still digesting the pregnancy news as Jo spreads adoption documents for his signature.

“Here, here and here,” she says, pointing at the Xs. “And Eduardo told me he’d like to call you ‘Papa-cito.’ ”

“Boy, this is a lot for me to think about,” says Escalante. “A wife, a baby and a kid, all in one swoop.”

“You’re just the man for the job, Turo,” she laughs. “And by the way, Eduardo wants to be a jockey.”

“No way, he’s too big,” says Escalante.

“Nah,” says Jo, “he lied about his age before, he’s really sixteen.”

CUT TO:

Marcus writes some figures on the pad.

“Back rent, back training bills for the horse, back credit card payments,” he says. “Looks like we’re right ‘back’ where we started.”

“Yeah, broke,” says Jerry. “Good thing we have Goose to borrow from, ’til we get back on our feet.”

“Borrow from Goose … what a revolting development,” snaps Marcus.

CUT TO:

Bernstein’s studying the menu.

“Hello Chester,” says Claire Lechea. “Did you miss me?”

CUT TO:

Renzo’s Mom is in the dressing room at Nordstroms, a dozen outfits hanging on the wall waiting for her to try them on.

“Honey,” she calls to the sales girl. “And bring me some more hats. I’m gonna go first class or stay home.”

FADE OUT:

TO BE CONTINUED ...

Image Description

John Perrotta

John Perrotta is a lifelong horseman who has experience in nearly every aspect of the Thoroughbred racing and breeding business. 

A University of Miami graduate, Perrotta in 1978 became one of the first professional racing managers in the U.S., coordinating business affairs for the John Forbes Stable, one of the leading barns in the country, before accepting the position of General Manager with Robert Brennan’s Due Process Stables in 1981. 

During a 15-year career as its vice president and general manager, Due Process Stables consistently was one of the premier national leaders and raced such champions as Deputy Minister and Dehere plus 45 other individual stakes winners. Due Process Stables also bred two-time Eclipse Award winner Open Mind.

Since the Due Process dispersal in 1995, Perrotta has raced multiple stakes winners in his Star Stable and was the co-breeder of 1996 Belmont Stakes (G1) winner Touch Gold.

In 2004, Perrotta created the Thoroughbred Racing Radio Network, acting as president and executive producer. TRRN is exclusively dedicated to the promotion and dissemination of information regarding Thoroughbred racing and is a leading radio/internet outlet for the sport.

Beginning in March 2009, Perrotta was employed as a producer and screen writer/executive story editor/co-producer as well as technical consultant for Red Board Productions, working on the pilot and subsequent HBO series called “Luck,” which premiered on that network in January 2012.  

ABOUT THE ARTIST

Fergie2

Jen Ferguson is an artist whose interest in depicting racehorses and track life goes back to early childhood, when she was obsessed with drawing horses and jockeys out of Blood-Horse magazines she got from her uncle, who owned and raced Thoroughbreds. In fact, her first childhood drawings were of racehorses.

In 2009, she published a book of drawings and stories based on expeditions to Aqueduct titled “Railbirds: My Life at the Track.” Jen spent last August working on drawings at Saratoga Race Course and plans to return for the 2013 meet. She currently works in Brooklyn, N.Y., where she draws regularly at Aqueduct and Belmont Park. If you see her sketching at the track, say hello!

More of Jen’s work plus her racetrack sketchbook in progress can be seen at jenferguson.com

Image Description

John Perrotta

John Perrotta is a lifelong horseman who has experience in nearly every aspect of the Thoroughbred racing and breeding business. 

A University of Miami graduate, Perrotta in 1978 became one of the first professional racing managers in the U.S., coordinating business affairs for the John Forbes Stable, one of the leading barns in the country, before accepting the position of General Manager with Robert Brennan’s Due Process Stables in 1981. 

During a 15-year career as its vice president and general manager, Due Process Stables consistently was one of the premier national leaders and raced such champions as Deputy Minister and Dehere plus 45 other individual stakes winners. Due Process Stables also bred two-time Eclipse Award winner Open Mind.

Since the Due Process dispersal in 1995, Perrotta has raced multiple stakes winners in his Star Stable and was the co-breeder of 1996 Belmont Stakes (G1) winner Touch Gold.

In 2004, Perrotta created the Thoroughbred Racing Radio Network, acting as president and executive producer. TRRN is exclusively dedicated to the promotion and dissemination of information regarding Thoroughbred racing and is a leading radio/internet outlet for the sport.

Beginning in March 2009, Perrotta was employed as a producer and screen writer/executive story editor/co-producer as well as technical consultant for Red Board Productions, working on the pilot and subsequent HBO series called “Luck,” which premiered on that network in January 2012.  

ABOUT THE ARTIST

Fergie2

Jen Ferguson is an artist whose interest in depicting racehorses and track life goes back to early childhood, when she was obsessed with drawing horses and jockeys out of Blood-Horse magazines she got from her uncle, who owned and raced Thoroughbreds. In fact, her first childhood drawings were of racehorses.

In 2009, she published a book of drawings and stories based on expeditions to Aqueduct titled “Railbirds: My Life at the Track.” Jen spent last August working on drawings at Saratoga Race Course and plans to return for the 2013 meet. She currently works in Brooklyn, N.Y., where she draws regularly at Aqueduct and Belmont Park. If you see her sketching at the track, say hello!

More of Jen’s work plus her racetrack sketchbook in progress can be seen at jenferguson.com

blog comments powered by Disqus

Sponsors & Partners

  • FoxSports1
  • NBC Sports
  • Logo 6
  • Saratoga
  • Santa Anita
  • CBS Sports
  • Monmouth
  • Keeneland
  • Gulfstream Park
  • Del Mar
  • Belmont Park
  • Arlington Park
  • OwnerView