Race of the Week 2017

Lukas Has High Hopes for Optimizer

High hopes abound in the barn of Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas for Optimizer, a debut winner on Saturday who took a 1 1/16-mile grass race by a neck in 1:42.67 under jockey Robby Albarado.

 

The bay colt is by freshman sire English Channel, the Champion Turf Male of 2007, who won his debut on the exact same course, distance and day – August 6, 2004 – in 1:42.42. It was the first debut winner on the grass for Lukas in more than five years.

 

Optimizer will now be pointed toward the Grade 2, $150,000 With Anticipation for 2-year-olds going 1 1/16 miles on the grass on September 1, according to Lukas assistant Will VanMeter. If all goes well, the colt will then head to the Grade 3 Bourbon at Keeneland and then the G2 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf.

 

“Like Wayne says, treat them all like champions, and let them disappoint you,” VanMeter said.

 

 

 

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