Monday, May 25, 2009

Does the "D" stand for "Duh?"

Steve Haskin of The Blood-Horse has taken to task trainer D. Wayne Lukas for the conditioner's daft suggestion that the Triple Crown race distances be changed, most notably the Belmont Stakes at a mile and a half.

"Nobody cares about mile and a half horses anymore," said Lukas in The New York Post. "The living proof is that every Belmont winner winds up in Italy, Puerto Rico, you name it. They don't stand in Lexington. I've had four Belmont winners and I don't know where the hell they are."

For starters, has Lukas (duh) slept through the 2009 Triple Crown series? It was a Belmont winner -- Kentucky-based stallion Birdstone -- that has sired a Kentucky Derby winner and Preakness-placer, Mine That Bird, from his first crop.

Haskin lists for Lukas several Belmont winners who (duh) stand in Kentucky, usually for serious coin, including Lemon Drop Kid and Empire Maker. (Edit: And top equine author Avalyn Hunter notes Lukas has apparently also forgotten about two-time leading sire, A.P. Indy, one I certainly also should have mentioned.)

And, to help refresh the trainer's memory of his own horses, Lukas-trained Belmont winner Thunder Gulch stands at Ashford Stud in Versailles, Ky. (13.62 miles from Lexington per Mapquest, should Mr. Lukas care to visit) and among many great ones has sired Preakness/Belmont winner and Horse of the Year Point Given. Lukas also won the Belmont with Tabasco Cat, who sired G1 miler Island Sand and multiple G1 juvenile Habibti among other fine Kentucky-bred runners before being sent to Japan (where horse racing I'd daresay is more respected than in the States). Lukas' other Belmont winners, Editor's Note and Commendable, both began stud careers in Kentucky before being sent to Argentina and South Korea, respectively.

You know, D. Wayne Lukas started out racing Quarter Horses and has risen to tie the legendary Sunny Jim Fitzsimmons in Triple Crown wins with 13. But considering what he thinks of distance horses, sometimes I wonder how a Lukas horse ever won a race longer than 350 yards.

Blogger's note: This series of posts is the output you get when I've been gone 24 hours.


  1. I am one of D.Wayne Lukas' biggest fans, but I don't agree with him on this one at all. The Triple Crown races should NOT be changed. If they are, any TC winner after the changes should have an asterisk next to their name. Sorry, Wayne, can't see your reasoning on this one!

  2. I'll admit I've never been anti-Lukas, either. I do know people who are. This one just had me mind-boggled, not just over the idea of shortening the races (he isn't the only one to have suggested it) but that D. Wayne apparently has forgotten all about his Belmont winner Thunder Gulch standing proudly and successfully in Kentucky, not to mention the other notable Belmont-winning current sires.

    Thanks for reading, and for sharing your own thoughts.

  3. Its the Kentucky Derby winners, Mr. Lukas, that have gotten shipped overseas, not the Belmont winners. See War Emblem, Silver Charm, Sea Hero, Alysheba, and worst of all, Sunday Silence. Its a wonder that Go For Gin, Monarchos, and Grindstone haven't been sold for overseas duty.

  4. I've just discovered your blog, and so I'm reading this article a few weeks late. This isn't the first time "Duh" Wayne has suggested something like this, I believe.
    FYI, on my own website I maintain two on-going features: Stayers' Watch (tracking horses who specialize in races 1 1/2 miles and longer), and the Unofficial Champion Stayer Award (equivalent to the official Eclipse Award for Champion Sprinter). Have a look if you're interested.

  5. The longer this post sits, the more I realize I was unkind to Wayne Lukas.

    I still think it was a dumb thing to say -- that he doesn't know where his Belmont winners are. And that he wants the race shortened.

    But I was slightly more mean-spirited than my usual.


I welcome comments, including criticism and debate. But jerks and the vulgar will not be tolerated.