Race of the Week 2017

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D. Wayne Lukas Back on the Kentucky Derby Trail

When the favorite Super Ninety Nine finished fifth in Saturday’s Rebel Stakes and Will Take Charge and Oxbow finished first and second, the attention shifted to Super Seventy Seven. That, of course, is Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas, who is seventy-seven years old.
When Will Take Charge won the Rebel he picked up 50 Derby points to add to the 10 that he had already earned with his Smarty Jones stakes victory. Those 60 points put the Unbridled’s Song colt on top of the Road to the Derby standings and guarantee him a spot in the Derby field. If he stays healthy he would become Lukas’ 43rd starter in the Run for the Roses. 
If that isn’t enough, Oxbow's second place finish gave that Lukas runner another 20 points for a total of 36, which is currently sixth place in the standings. Oxbow has already shown an affinity to the Churchill Downs as that is where he convincingly broke his maiden as a two-year-old. He is a possible starter in the Arkansas Derby.
After the Rebel both Will Take Charge and Oxbow moved to spots nine and ten in the latest NTRA Three-Year-Old Poll. Yet Lukas has two more shots at the Derby field with Channel Isle and Titletown Five.
Channel Isle will run in the Spiral on March 25. Look for him to make one big closing run to try and earn his Derby points. Jon Court, who won the Rebel for Lukas, will try and repeat that performance at Turfway.
Titletown Five was expected to start in the Sunland Derby the following day, but his plans just changed.  He is now being pointed to the March 30 Louisiana Derby, where the winner gets 100 Derby points. Titletown Five is owned by Paul Hornung, number five from the legendary Green Bay Packers of the 1960’s.
Just in case some of us may have forgotten all that D. Wayne Lukas has accomplished in his career, here are some of the highlights.
•Lukas has trained 24 Eclipse Award winners from Althea and Azeri to Winning Colors (Believe it or not, before that he trained 23 world champion quarter horses.)
•Lukas has trained the Horse of the Year three times: Lady’s Secret 1986, Criminal Type 1990, and Charismatic 1999. 
•Lukas has won 13 Triple Crown races: Kentucky Derby (4), Preakness (5), and Belmont Stakes (4).
•Lukas won six straight Triple Crown races from the 1994 Preakness to the 1996 Kentucky Derby with Tabasco Cat, Tabasco Cat, Thunder Gulch, Timber Country, Thunder Gulch, and Grindstone.
•Lukas won the Triple Crown in 1995, but it was with two different horses.
•Lukas is in the Hall of Fame for both thoroughbreds in 1999 and quarterhorses 2007.
•Lukas has won over $262 Million in purses and 4,670 races.
•Lukas has won 19 Breeders’ Cup races.
The 2013 Kentucky Derby could be a throwback edition, like in the heyday of D. Wayne Lukas in the 1980’s and 1990’s, when multiple entries by the “Coach” were common in all of the big races.


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Older Comments about D. Wayne Lukas Back on the Kentucky Derby Trail...

I'm not a lukas fan but it's a long time coming for him. Congrats and much success!
Brian, when you say Thunder Gulch was his best Derby horse, it sure would've been nice to have a piece of that 25-1 best horse. Timber Country, I think, was his, and was the favorite of the Derby? Also, I don't believe any other trainer has had the distinction of running 1st AND 3rd, three times in Derby(Thunder Gulch & Timber Country; Grindstone & Prince Of Thieves; Charismatic & Cat Thief).
Lucas has 4 derbys... Hes the man\
Lucas has 4 derbys... Hes the man\
LOL, tcglory!
dosent matter what you say Travel_vic will still hate him even tho his record tops any other trainer in history in the world
Lukas is one of the greatest trainers of all time!
Thunder Gulch was probably his best Derby horse so far, but who knows? It wouldn't surprise me to see him win the roses again.

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Matt Shifman has been on the Horse Racing Nation staff since 2011 and currently serves as Assistant Editor. Matt covers Aqueduct, Belmont Park, Monmouth Park, and Saratoga in his two HRN blogs Racing at the Jersey Shore and New York State of Racing.


Matt’s articles and tweets frequently appear in the America’s Best Racing weekly Notebook. In 2012 he became a voter in the NTRA weekly polls for the Top Thoroughbred and Top Three-Year-Old.


The best way to get to know Matt is to check out some of his favorite articles from the past couple years.

• Preakness Interview with Trainer Todd Pletcher

• Kentucky Derby 2016 Handicapping Tips from A to Z


• Edison: the Travels of a Million Dollar Colt 

• A Kentucky Derby Field with Just 14 Horses

• What is the Best Kentucky Derby Running Style?



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