The popular HBO series ‘Luck,’ which focuses on the seedier side of horse racing, was abruptly canceled Wednesday after a horse used in the show was injured and had to be euthanized — the third such occurrence since 2010.

In the wake of the tragedy, the American Humane Association issued an immediate demand “that all production involving horses shut down” pending an investigation. Two other horses had to be euthanized after taping racing scenes in 2010 and 2011, sparking an outcry from animal rights groups. Even still, Karen Rosa, the AHA unit’s senior vice president, said racing resumed after new protocols that proved effective were put into place.

After making the decision to pull the series altogether, HBO issued a statement that read in part:

“It is with heartbreak that executive producers David Milch and Michael Mann, together with HBO, have decided to cease all future production on the series ‘Luck.’ … While we maintained the highest safety standards possible, accidents unfortunately happen and it is impossible to guarantee they won’t in the future. Accordingly, we have reached this difficult decision… We are immensely proud of this series, the writing, the acting, the filmmaking, the celebration of the culture of horses, and everyone involved in its creation.”

The show, which starred Dustin Hoffman and Nick Nolte, premiered to great critical acclaim and was quickly picked up for another year. HBO will air the remaining two episodes of the first season, but it’s the second season, which began production last month, that’s been shelved.

[Chicago Sun-Times]