This episode of "Luck" was written by Bill Barich, author of "Laughing in the Hills," one of the most eccentric horse racing books ever. (To cope with his mother’s death from cancer, Barich goes to Golden Gate Fields, outside San Francisco, to lose himself in handicapping and Renaissance literature.) Barich’s episode begins with trainer Walter Smith (Nick Nolte) walking into the track office with his condition book. A condition book lists the races scheduled for the upcoming month, along with the purses at stake.
Walter enters his young prospect, Gettn'up Morning, in a 3-year-old maiden special weight race — a race for horses that have never won but which have enough potential to be protected from a claim. As jockey, he lists Ronnie Jenkins.
At the post position draw, a track employee announces each horse’s name, then shakes a bottle and draws out a numbered bead corresponding to a stall in the starting gate.
“Any preferences to post?” a sportswriter asks Walter.
"Sure as hell don’t want the rail,” he grumbles.
No trainer wants the rail for a first-time starter. A rookie horse is liable to get spooked by all the horses to his outside, crowding him toward the rail. To Walter’s dismay, Gettn'up Morning draws the 1 post.