Chester "Ace" Bernstein (Dustin Hoffman) is released from three years in federal prison, and met by his driver and bodyguard, Gus Demitriou (Dennis Farina), who fronts as the owner of the $2 million Irish horse that Ace just bought. A brilliant but disreputable trainer, the Peruvian Turo Escalante (John Ortiz), introduces us to their prized Irish thoroughbred, being examined by his girlfriend, track veterinarian Jo (Jill Hennessy). Meanwhile, veteran trainer-turned-owner Walter Smith (Nick Nolte) contains his optimism pinned on his promising "Big Horse" because he's wary. Of what, we're unsure, but we learn there's a dark history and a shadow of scandal behind the horse. Four degenerate gamblers, Marcus (Kevin Dunn), Renzo (Ritchie Coster), Jerry (Jason Gedrick), and Lonnie (Ian Hart), meanwhile, are pooling their meager resources to bet Jerry's hunch on the day's longshot, a high stakes Pick Six winners contest.