|Occupation||Horse owner, driver to Chester "Ace" Bernstein|
Gus worked as the driver for organized crime figure Chester "Ace" Bernstein before he was imprisoned in Victorville prison for cocaine possession. Ace's ex-partner Mike was responsible for the cocaine but Ace refused to testify against him. He blames Mike for his conviction and is plotting revenge. While Ace was away he arranged for Gus to win five million dollars on a Las Vegas slot machine through his contacts. With Ace's guidance Gus invested the money in buying Pint of Plain, a two million dollar racehorse. Gus is acting as a front for Ace in the ownership of the horse.
Demitriou picks Chester "Ace" Bernstein up when he is released from Victorville prison. As they drive away Bernstein grips the bridge of his nose and sighs in the backseat of the car. Demitriou asks how he is doing. Bernstein ignores the question and says that he wants a tape recorder. Demitriou queries his meaning and Bernstein reasserts his desire. Demitriou suggests that he has a penci, offering to write down a note. Bernstein assumes that he is joking and rebukes him. Demitriou produces the implement and says that he has a scrap of an advertisement he could write on. Bernstein’s glare melts into a look of affection and he asks Demitriou about the trees he grows in his back yard. Demitriou smiles, says that they are good and mentions that he was considering taking the wraps of his fig trees. Bernstein asks to see Demitriou’s horse owner's license and he passes the identification card back to him. Demitriou jokes that he was surprised that the cameraman didn’t see through him. Bernstein firmly reminds Demitriou that he is the true owner of the racehorse. Demitriou says that he understands. Bernstein rhetorically asks if Demitriou thinks that he is the first front in history and shakes his head.
Demitriou and Bernstein arrive at a hotel. Bernstein gazes around wistfully and is greeted by the manager, Maurice. Bernstein jokes that if Maurice has been partying in his suite he should make sure it is cleared. Maurice counters that if he missed one or two Bernstein can send them down the fire escape before becoming serious and saying that they have been preparing all week. Maurice gestures at Demitriou and references his windfall. Bernstein notes the timing and Demitriou jokes that he only drives Bernstein for fun now. The doorman excitedly greets Bernstein and tells him that he has graduated, Bernstein deadpans that he has done the same.
Bernstein dresses in the mirror. He pulls off his tie and undoes his top button, unhappy with the fit of his shirt. Demitriou calls from elsewhere in the suite, wondering if Bernstein is ready. Bernstein asks how Demitriou left things with horse trainer, Turo Escalante. Demitriou reports that he agreed to call when he was a few minutes away from the track. Bernstein advises Demitriou on his attitude with Escalante, telling him to be businesslike. Bernstein puts on his jacket and approaches a box of mail on the counter. Demitriou explains that it is correspondence from Bernstein’s friends and associates while he was in prison and that he has replied to all of it. Bernstein picks up a recorder from the counter; Demitriou has fulfilled his request. Bernstein continues with his advice regarding Escalante, instructing Demitriou to be assertive and furnishing him with the sample phrase “spare me the hat dance, just train my horse.”
Bernstein meets with an organized crime boss named DiRossi at his restaurant while Demitriou goes to Santa Anita Park to see Escalante. Demitriou calls Escalante to say that he has arrived at the track. They meet and Escalante shows Demitriou into his stables and explains that his horse has not had a bowel movement since arriving in the US from Ireland. Escalante says that the horse appears otherwise well and checks with his stable hand Miguel that the situation has not changed. Demitriou wonders when they will race and Escalante says the horse will tell them when they are ready. Escalante shows Demitriou over to Mon Gateau and tells him about the horse’s recent win. Demitriou says that he wished he had known and Escalante claims that he was just as unaware of the horse’s potential. Economou notices a goat in the stable. Escalante gives Demitriou a carrot to feed to the horse but Demitriou is worried about somehow upsetting the animal. Escalante dismisses his fears as unfounded. Demitriou enjoys the sensation and Escalante suspects that he is acting. Demitriou says that it really was his first time and Escalante says he will call him “El Naturale”. Demitriou delivers Bernstein’s prepared admonition “spare me the hat dance”. Escalante agrees not to hold Demitriou's hand. Miguel emerges from Demitriou’s horse's stable with a shovel full of excrement. Escalante claps and tells Demitriou that he can inform “whoever would care” that the horse is out of the woods.
Bernstein sits in bed remembering his past. He says that he was responsible for building an organized crime empire from the ground up, having learned from his predecessors who had plenty of blood on their hands. Demitriou calls through to ask if he wants anything and Bernstein instructs him to check the thermostat. Bernstein asks about the visit to the track and learns that their horse has opened its bowels. Demitriou avoids commenting on the horse's condition given his inexperience so Bernstein asks if Escalante was satisfied. Demitriou confirms that he was. Bernstein notes that the guards at Victorville prison could buy themselves Cadillacs with the money he paid them to allow him to view race tapes of the horse. Bernstein says that the horse is all heart. Demitriou observes that there were other animals in the stable and Bernstein says that is not unusual. Demitriou says he saw a goat with huge testicles and Bernstein says he hopes the animal was bow legged. Demitriou confirms that it was and wonders how Bernstein knew. Bernstein says that it would need to be to be able to walk around. Bernstein recalls following Escalante’s career from its humble beginnings. Demitriou says that Escalante is like Bernstein in that regard. Bernstein checks the clock and says that he is falling asleep although it is only 7:45 p.m. Demitriou excuses Bernstein, saying that he has had a busy day. Bernstein nods and changes the subject to his betrayers, saying that they are going to move on the racetrack and that Demitriou is their new favourite Greek. Demitriou says that he is nervous about Bernstein relying on him when he is out of his depth. Bernstein replies that Demitriou does not know his own depth. Bernstein says that he should get a girlfriend and see if they reach out. Demitriou wonders if they should use someone they trust or someone they don’t. Bernstein counters that he trusts no-one, not even himself, but gives Demitriou a pass. The two friends share a smile.
- Main article: Episode 1.2
Gus waits for Chester "Ace" Bernstein outside a police station. Ace is meeting with his parole officer. Gus reports that Ace has a lunch invitation and wonders if they should postpone their planned visit to Turo Escalante at Santa Anita Park to accommodate the lunch. Ace says that they will fit it in. Gus asks about the meeting and Ace says that his parole officer seems decent. Gus opens the rear door of his Mercedes for Ace before calling to confirm the lunch, avoiding using any names on the phone. Ace observes that the last minute invite was intended to put him on the back foot as Gus starts the car.
On their drive to the racetrack Gus asks Ace how the lunch meeting went. Ace reports that he believes his old partners will move on the racetrack. Econmou predicts that Mike will be easily drawn by the idea of a casino and Ace agrees that there is nothing Mike likes more than stealing another’s idea. Gus wonders how Ace got involved with Mike and learns that Ace saw him as a skilful businessman when they first met 25 years earlier. Ace intimates that cocaine was Mike’s undoing. Gus asks if cocaine was involved in the problems at the condo. Ace is bemused and then corrects Gus that it was a co-op that he and Mike owned in New York for entertaining business clients. Ace says that when they ended their partnership he took the co-op while Mike took the plane. Ace relates allowing his grandson to live in the co-op while studying at New York University. Mike also continued to use to co-op to stash narcotics. Gus notes that Mike could have kept the drugs anywhere and Ace says that there is no way to understand Mike’s perverse logic. Ace reports that his grandson drew complaints from the neighbours for holding parties and that the co-op was searched by the police who discovered the drugs. Gus says that he is only able to remember a little boy running around with his shoes untied from that time. Ace recalls that his grandson was in such poor shape at the time there is no way he could have obtained the 6 kilograms of cocaine he was found with. Gus believes the federal investigators knew that Ace’s grandson was not responsible and Ace confirms that they did, believing that they wanted him to testify against Mike. Ace opted to claim the drugs were his to protect both his grandson and Mike. Gus asks what Mike would have done if the situation was reversed and Ace says that Mike would have given him up. Ace insists this is immaterial because he has never given information on anyone to the police. Gus laments not being allowed to kill Mike. Ace tells Gus to stop it, ending the conversation.
Escalante greets Ace and Gus outside the barn. Gus makes introductions and Escalante is sycophantic. Ace urges him not to interrupt his routine and Gus tells them that while Gus’ horse is a champion he is about to race an $8,000 bum. Across the track Goose tells Renzo that the horse looks good. Leon walks up to Escalante and is introduced. Ace wishes him a safe race as he leaves with Escalante and Mon Gateau. Gus asks Ace to explain training races to him. Ace tells him that the horses in the race all have a buying price set by their owners. Gus wonders when you have to pay and Ace says that the claim is put in before the race. Gus asks if you can pull your offer after seeing the horse runs and Ace explains that at that point you own the horse unless someone else has claimed it too. Ace notes that Gus knew the answer to his last question already.
Leon asks Escalante if he should warm the horse up thoroughly. Escalante suspiciously questions why Leon is asking. Leon says he had no reason. Escalante says that Leon should be as sound as the horse while helping him up. Escalante returns to Ace and Gus. Gus says that Leon seems nice and Escalante says that he has no brains. Escalante tells Gus that the horse will win provided Leon stays on.
Leon is led out to the starting gate. The starter’s assistant asks if he is ready and Leon uncertainly affirms. The gate opens. Ace smiles as Gus nods excitedly. Mon Gateau is trapped between two other riders. Leon pulls back on the reins and Mon Gateau tosses his head in defiance. Leon eventually slows the horse enough to go outside his competition. He then allows the horse to reach its full speed and overtakes the riders who had boxed him in. Leon progresses through the field as Gus cheers along. Leon takes the lead and Gus tells Ace the horse is going to win. Leon wins lengths ahead of the field. Gus tells Ace he bet $200. Escalante, Leon and Mon Gateau pose for their photograph. A Steward’s Assistant places a claimed tag on Mon Gateau. Leon dismounts and commiserates Escalante on Mon Gateau being claimed. Escalante warns Leon to hope that he does not find out that Leon talked to anyone. Leon protests his innocence as Escalante stalks off. Gus observes that Escalante looks unhappy for someone who has just won.
Escalante approaches Ace and Gus in the stands, complaining about losing Mon Gateau. Gus offers congratulations to Escalante on the win anyway. Escalante promises to get revenge on whoever talked about his horse, ignoring Gus and addressing Ace. Ace says only good and then waits for Escalante. Escalante apologises for bothering them with his problem. Ace asks when Gus can see his horse and Escalante offers to take them right away.
In Escalante’s barn Gus says that Pint of Plain is looking much better than last week. Escalante says that often people have a feeling and speak when they really know nothing about the subject, insulting Gus and referencing his belief that someone’s big mouth is behind his loss of Mon Gateau. Gus and Ace take offence. Ace and Escalante share a hard stare and Ace asks if it is too hard to keep a civil tongue. Escalante says that he will not beg to keep the horse. Escalante agrees that the horse is better and reports that he has had new shoes fitted. Ace tells Gus that the horse has a great stride, adding that Gus showed him tapes to maintain the illusion of Gus being the decision maker. Escalante agrees that the horse has a smooth action on the track. Escalante says that he had to start paying all of Mon Gateau’s bills himself two years prior because the horse had a problem with its front legs. He is upset that he has now had to give the horse away to Mulligan. Ace tells Escalante that it appears that he lost in a game he ran. Gus is distracted by the goat and points it out to Ace. Ace says only good and does not look away from Escalante. Escalante reports that Pint of Plain likes the goat and will often nudge him with his nose. Escalante’s stable hand says that the goat waits by Pint of Plain’s stall when the horse is out of the barn in Spanish and Escalante translates for his visitors. Escalante says that the stable hands have named the goat after an exercise rider because of his bowed legs. Ace asks what Gus calls him and Escalante tells him “Goat”. Ace asks how much Escalante pays for the bags of carrots he has on the side, clarifying that he means now rather than when Escalante started out 30 years ago. Escalante checks with the stable hand and reports that it is about $15 a bag. Escalante asks why Ace cares about the cost of the carrots. Ace avoids the question and asks if Escalante knows that he was in prison. Escalante confirms that he has heard people say so. Ace suggests that people might also say that Gus’ ownership of Pint of Plain is related to organized crime. Escalante says that he wouldn’t know, being from Peru. Ace smiles and asks to pet the horse. He gently strokes the horses head as Escalante observes that the horse has a plain head.
In his hotel suite Ace talks about first meeting Escalante with Gus. He tells Gus that Escalante used to work on a fruit and vegetable stand outside the track. Ace recalls Escalante furiously haggling over small sums. Gus wonders at Escalante being stuck outside the track wanting to get in. Ace clarifies that he wasn’t sure Escalante had ambitions in that direction but knew that he hated being in a foreign country selling vegetables. Gus goes on to say that Ace was responsible for getting Escalante inside the track. Ace tells Gus that Escalante is responsible for his own success and that all he did was ask a trainer to hire him as a stable hand. Gus relates this to Ace’s plan for revenge on Mike, noting that Ace never leaves an open contract. Ace tells Gus that they need to find a go-between to continue their dealings with DiRossi, Mike and Cohen. Gus suggests himself and Ace admits having concerns about Gus’ temper. Gus then asks if they need someone they trust or someone that they don’t. Ace says they need someone for whom trust will not be an issue. Gus notes that Ace went to a lot of trouble having his associates fix the slot machine so that they would feel that they were owed a favour. Ace asks Gus to set up a meeting with his investment company the next day and adds that he will pick a go-between so they can advance their plans for revenge. Gus asks Ace to reassure him that he did not let him down. Ace does so and Gus says “let’s go get these cocksuckers.”
- Chester "Ace" Bernstein: Friend and employer
- Turo Escalante: Horse trainer
- Nick DiRossi: Ace's ex-partner
- Isadore Cohen: Ace's ex-partner
- Mike: Ace's ex-partner
- Maurice: Hotel manager
- Leon Micheaux: Jockey
|Season one appearances|
|Luck||Episode 1.2||Episode 1.3|
|Episode 1.4||Episode 1.5||Episode 1.6|
|Episode 1.7||Episode 1.8||Episode 1.9|