D. Wayne Lukas gets a hard time sometimes from those in the Thoroughbred racing game. Even in this blog, I have said in a post previously that he shouldn't automatically enter horses in a Triple Crown race just to have one in. What gets lost in the criticism is that D. Wayne Lukas is one hell of a trainer. One of his more remarkable wins came in the 2000 Belmont Stakes with Commendable.
Commendable had been a disappointing 17th in the 2000 Kentucky Derby, finishing well behind Fusaichi Pegasus that day. Commendable then skipped the Preakness and came back five weeks after the Derby to win the 132nd Belmont Stakes as the eighth betting choice in the field of eleven at nearly 20-1. It is remarkable that a Lukas horse at that time went off at such a price, considering that it had just happened the year before when Charismatic won the 1999 Derby at 31-1. It is even more remarkable when you consider that Commendable was ridden by Pat Day, who had won the Belmont twice before.
Lukas was widely ridiculed for putting his horse Flying Private into the Derby this year and while the horse did run last, he came back to finish fourth behind Rachel Alexandra in the Preakness. Lukas' two top three-year-olds this year, Flying Private and Luv Guv, worked at Churchill Downs on Wednesday morning to get ready for the Belmont Stakes. Flying Private worked six furlongs in 1:15.2 and Luv Guv worked the same distance in 1:12.2.
While neither Lukas horse will (or should) be among the favorites in the Belmont Stakes on June 6, I am certainly not going to be the one to dismiss them out of hand. History should tell us that would unwise to do.
Tune in tomorrow for more from They Are Off. For right now, I am Gone... GOODBYE!