Thursday, May 31, 2018

THE D. Wayne Lukas

(From a display in the Kentucky Derby Museum)

There are fewer horse men in the sport as decorated as Darrell Wayne Lukas. Born in Antigo, Wisconsin on a small farm, he developed a reputation as a talented trainer while working with world champion quarter horses. He made the switch to thoroughbred racing in 1978 and became the first trainer in history to win $100 million in purse money. Lukas also has a record setting 14 wins in the Triple Crown races, as well as another 20 in the Breeders’ Cup events.

To date, Lukas has submitted the most horses in to the Kentucky Derby with 48 starts, giving him a record of 4-1-5. His victorious horses at the derby have included Winning Colors (1988), Thunder Gulch (1995), Grindstone (1996), and Charismatic (1999).

His accomplishments have earned him five Eclipse Awards for Outstanding Trainer, as well as an Eclipse Award of Merit. Lukas is inducted in the United States Racing Hall of Fame (1999) and was also inducted in to the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame (2007). Other notable trainees have included Azeri, Cara Rafaela, Corporate Report, Criminal Type, Dance Floor, Golden Attraction, Grand Slam, Honour and Glory, North Sider, River Memories, Serena’s Song, Sharp Cat, Star of Cozzene, Tamarisk, Terlingua and Will Take Charge.

This year Lukas is ran Bravazo in the Derby where he took 6th place on the sloppy track.  Two weeks later Bravazo ran again in the Preakness, on another sloppy track, where he came in 2nd to Derby winner Justify.  

Next time out... the Belmont!

OK, when we came around the corner and I saw that sign, I was excited!!

See the buckskin?  That is him!

I don't know what horse he's bringing out... it is not Bravazo or Sporting Chance.

Guess he was a bit tired too...

This is the other horse he was working at the time we were there.  Not Bravazo or Sporting Chance either.

Watching the workout.  He didn't seem real happy with it.  Hmmmm

Clipping on the lead line to head back to the barn.  This man is 82 years old and sits a horse like a decades younger man.

As we left, Lukas was fooling around with one of his 'pony' horses.  What a gorgeous overo Paint!

Not sure what he was doing but everyone was quite amused.

Having a talk with him.  He doesn't look convinced...

It was exciting to see one of the legends of racing at work!

Monday, May 28, 2018

Morning Training at Churchill Downs

Here's the most exciting part of our visit to Churchill Downs... watching the early morning workouts!

Someone else thought it a bit too early too!

Not a bunch of words for this... just enjoy the beauty of the horses.

What a great morning!

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Churchill Downs "Barns and Backside Tour"

In my first post about our visit to Churchill Downs you might have noticed a pink hue to the sky.

That's because we were there at 6:45AM.  That is because 7AM is the first scheduled "Barns and Backside Tour" and that is when you see the most action.  Horse people are up EARLY!

Our guide for the morning was Martin, who at 79 years young said he came in 2 or 3 times a week because he had to have SOMETHING to do.  I'm glad for that attitude because he was one of the best guides we have ever had.

Off we go in our nice air conditioned van.

Heading through the tunnel to get onto the other side of the track.  Can you see the horse galloping across at the top of the photo?

(Sorry about the less-than-sharp photos... the van windows were filthy.  My only complaint about the tour.  I told Himself that from now on when we have a tour, I'm going to have a small spray bottle of water and a rag to spruce up my windows!)

The track's chapel.

The dining area for the folks who work on the backside.

The one thing you never want to see...

This barn is for the track's "ponies"... those horses who walk out with the Thoroughbreds to the starting gate.

Waiting on breakfast!

He thinks that is his very own toy.  Wouldn't he be shocked if he knocked it down?!

And then we were over at The Barns where the Thoroughbreds are...

Everyone going about their morning routines.

There were a lot of baths happening.

And there were a lot of steamy things...

Getting ready to exercise someone.

Don't text and ride!

More scrubbing.

Getting some special treat.  Notice the barn cat in the background?

Next stop was the highlight of my visit...