When Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas tightens the girth on Oxbow in tomorrow’s Grade 2 Risen Star Stakes, he will not only be saddling one of the race favorites, but he also hopes to be moving one step closer to a rather incredible record. Currently tied with Sunny Jim Fitzsimmons for the most Triple Crown race victories with 13, Lukas may have his strongest group in years in his quest for the magic #14. Besides Oxbow, the romping winner of the Lecomte, Lukas also has the Smarty Jones winner, Will Take Charge, as well as, maybe the most promising of the bunch, Titletown Five, who should make it back to the races in the coming weeks. At 77 years-old, you have to wonder how many more chances at the record the Hall of Fame trainer will have. Let’s take a look at the horses that gave him his first 13… Codex (1980 Preakness) – Codex certainly developed into a legitimate winner of an American Classic, but will forever be best remembered as the horse that bumped Genuine Risk off stride, and out of an opportunity to win the Triple Crown thanks to an overly aggressive ride by Angel Cordero.
Tank’s Prospect (1985 Preakness) – One of the best horses of an excellent crop, he ran one of the fastest editions of the Preakness in history, before suffering a career ending injury in the Belmont.
Winning Colors (1988 Kentucky Derby) – A big giant filly with blazing speed, she easily beat the colts in California before leading them all on a merry chase on the first Saturday in May.
Tabasco Cat (1994 Preakness & Belmont) – The horse that nearly killed his son, Jeff, Tabasco Cat may never have been the best horse of the crop, but he was a tough grinder who twice had his day in the last two legs of the Triple Crown.
Thunder Gulch (1995 Kentucky Derby & Belmont) – Considered to be the second stringer in the stable, Thunder Gulch proved to be much more, highlighted by impressive wins in the Derby, Belmont, and Travers.
Timber Country (1995 Preakness) – A champion at two, it was Timber Country who was supposed to be the star of 1995, but despite a Preakness victory, it was the colt above who became the bigger star.
Grindstone (1996 Kentucky Derby) – We never got to find out how good the lightly raced winner of the Kentucky Derby could be. Getting up on the wire to nip Cavonnier in thrilling fashion proved to be his last lifetime race due to injury.
Editor’s Note (1996 Belmont) – A consistent rallier who seldom won, Editor’s Note put it all together one afternoon at Belmont Park. Taking advantage of the sweeping turns and 12 furlong distance, he ran right past Skip Away to win the Belmont Stakes.
Charismatic (1999 Kentucky Derby & Preakness) – Seemingly coming from nowhere, Charismatic peaked at just the right time to impressively win the Lexington, Derby, and Preakness. Ultimate tragedy in the Belmont was prevented thanks to the quick and caring actions of his jockey, Chris Antley.
Commendable (2000 Belmont) – The least accomplished of anyone on this list; Commendable took full advantage of a dawdling pace in the Belmont to earn his fifteen minutes of fame.