Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas, who will saddle Optimizer in
Saturday’s Grade 1, $1 million Belmont Stakes, was taken to Winthrop University
Hospital in nearby Mineola
Tuesday afternoon after one of his horses reared up and struck him on top of
“I don’t need this on Belmont
week, but I guess these things happen,” Lukas said from the hospital.
“I will be fine, it’s just a matter of getting it cleaned up. I
fully expect to be at the track tomorrow.”
According to Ron Anderson, the agent for Optimizer’s jockey,
Corey Nakatani, Lukas was in the barn at Belmont Park
around 3:30 p.m. when 6-year-old Hamazing Destiny reared up and struck him atop
“He’s conscious, he’s talking, but he will need
stitches,” said Anderson, who was at the hospital with Lukas.
The 74-year-old Lukas is one of the most successful trainers in racing
history, with four Kentucky Derby victories, five wins in the Preakness, and
four in the Belmont Stakes. He has trained 24 Eclipse Award winners, more than
any other trainer in history, and has sent out 4,467 winners of more than $259
million. The four-time Eclipse Award winner was inducted into racing’s
Hall of Fame in 1999.