Rocket Fuel
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:

From their vantage above the harbor, Claire and Smythe can see the yacht’s approach.

“They’ll need the rest of the day to stock up and get ship-shape,” says Smythe. “As soon as you get the cash, we’re off to the Med, darling.”

“I’ll take care of it,” replies Claire.

“I trust your brother is well,” says Smythe.

Claire nods, biting her lip.

CUT TO:

“Do me a favor, next time you decide to disappear,” says Gus into the cell phone. “Don’t.” 

Drawn and weak from his ordeal, Ace motions to Gus, indicating he wants the phone. 

Gus gives him a thumbs up.

“I hope she was worth it, the agita you gave me,” says Gus into the phone before handing it to Ace.

CUT TO:

Joey Rathburn stands patient outside Escalante’s office as the trainer finishes his phone call.

“They arrested Ramirez for hitting his wife, that piece of crap that he is,” says Escalante, slamming down the phone on his desk.

“I’m going to put the girl on my Irish horse, in the turf stake on Saturday.”

“Sounds good to me, Turo,” says Rathburn.

“You make the entry for me … and put Mon Gateau in there, too, with her on,” says Escalante.

“You’ll run both?” asks Rathburn, to which the trainer doesn’t reply.

CUT TO:

The track president and his secretary stand nervously, next in line to board the plane, when two men in black suits approach, flashing badges.

“I’ll take those,” says one of the men, removing the boarding passes from the airline clerk’s hand.

“They can go to the Canary Islands some other time,” says the other FBI agent. 

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

Trainer Smith considers his condition book as the clerk fills out an entry blank.

“I think we’ll go in the turf race, he’s bred for it on his mother’s side.”

“Put Ronnie Jenkins on, Gettin’ Up Morning, one-twenty,” he says.

“And blinkers on.”  

CUT TO:

Goose hovers close to Marylyn as she enters Daylight Savings.

“I don’t usually run a maiden in a stakes race, but it’s a short field and he barely ran the other day,” she says.  

“Putting Crispino on again?” asks Goose.

“The human anchor?” she laughs. “Not a chance. First call on Rosie this time.”

CUT TO:

The track president stares blankly at the mirrored wall of the interrogation room. 

“Our friends at Interpol want to interview you, too,” says the FBI agent.

“Your secretary’s going to give you up, so you might as well cooperate,” says the other agent.

CUT TO:

Jo leans in the doorway to Escalante’s office.

“Mulligan’s out of the picture, what’s the excuse now, Turo?” she says.

“No more excuses, baby; I’m a changed man,” he replies, going down on one knee.

“Time to get our lifes together,” Escalante says. “Marry me.”

CUT TO:

Rathburn studies the document his lawyer gave him.

“I don’t even know who this guy was, paid my bail,” he says to another agent. “Somebody named ‘Lionel Pointer’.”

“I had a pointer when I was a kid,” says the agent, “best bird-dog I ever hunted with.”

“Bird-dog?” says Rathburn.

CUT TO:

Rosie checks to make sure nobody’s watching as she takes her boot off.  The ankle bulges through an Ace bandage. 

“Call for the fifth race,” yells the Clerk of Scales.

“Take me off,” says Rosie to her valet. “I’ve got bad cramps.” 

CUT TO:

The reporter flips through her note pad as the Old Man strains to remember something from a night long ago.

“Thought it was a dream … ” he says. “The Colonel’s son-in-law walking past my window. But now, I’m sure I saw him, carrying a twitch. What would he need a twitch for in the middle of the night?”

CUT TO:

Renzo’s mom slides one tray in the oven as she pulls another out. 

“Best brownies I ever had,” says Chaz. 

“Me, too,” says Bayou Bobby.

“I’m piling up my points at the clinic,” she says, “so I can get my free rewards. Plus, they give me a discount for bulk purchase.”

CUT TO:

Ronnie Jenkins is as contrite as an errant schoolboy, seated in a straight chair before the head steward’s desk.

“Just a warning this time, jock, but you’d better be prepared for a test every day for the next month.”

“Breathalyzer?” says Ronnie.

“That or a hair test,” says the steward. “Officer’s choice.”

CUT TO:

Marcus scrolls the odds, betting with an online betting site on one of the three color monitors on his desk. 

Jerry’s doing likewise, playing poker on a laptop in his room, still in his bathrobe. Marcus grabs the phone on the first ring.

“Yeah, I’ll see if he’s here. Who’s calling?”

“It’s for you,” he says, passing the phone to Jerry. “MasterCard.”

CUT TO:

At the coffee shop counter, Renzo labors at writing a check.

“Should I make it to ‘Institute for Insightfulness’?” he asks Moonbeam, as she blends him a protein shake.

“Just make it to ‘CASH’,”she says. “Eliminates a lot of pain-in-the-ass paperwork.”

CUT TO:

Lonnie sips his coffee at the counter of a greasy spoon.

“Pass the sugar, honey,” says the young lady two stools over.

“You from around here?” asks Lonnie.

“Nah, I’m a professional dancer, just working here for a while,” she says.

“I’m a big admirer of the arts,” replies Lonnie, sliding a stool closer.

CUT TO:

Rathburn’s waiting at the door to the Jock’s Room as Rosie exits, hiding her limp.

“No problem,” says Rathburn. “You’ve been going pretty hard. One day off won’t hurt.”

She gives him a patronizing smile.

“But the big news,” he says. “Escalante put us on Pint of Plain for the stake Saturday.”

“Unbelievable! I’ll be ready,” she says.

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