D Wayne Lukas is an American horse trainer and a U.S. Racing Hall of Fame inductee…..who holds the record for the most Triple Crown race wins with fourteen….while having won twenty Breeders’ Cup races….and received five Eclipse Awards for his accomplishments….while his horses have won 25 year-end Eclipse Awards.
Lukas grew up with an interest in horses after being born and raised on a small farm…when he graduated from the University of Wisconsin–Madison with a master’s degree in education….who then taught high school where for nine years….where he was a head basketball coach. He began training quarter horses in California in 1968….and after 10 years of achievement that saw him train 24 world champions…. he switched to training thoroughbreds….and became the first trainer to earn more than $100 million in purse money….after having been the year’s top money winner 14 times throughout his legendary career. Lukas got his big break in 1980 when he won the Preakness Stakes with Codex….as his horses have won the Kentucky Derby four times….the Preakness Stakes on six occasions….and has claimed victory four times in the Belmont Stakes….all the while winning all three of the Classics in 1995 with Thunder Gulch (Kentucky Derby + Belmont Stakes) and Timber Country (Preakness)….making him the first trainer to sweep the Triple Crown Classic races with two different horses in a season. In 2013, he surpassed Sunny Jim Fitzsimmons for the most Triple Crown race victories, with 14.
He has won Breeder’s Cup races a record 20 times….while ffillies Lukas has trained have won the Kentucky Oaks four times. Three of his horses….Lady’s Secret in 1986….Criminal Type in 1990….and Charismatic in 1999….won the Eclipse Award for Horse of the Year. He has a total of 25 horses that have won various Eclipse Awards….and won the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Trainer four times. In 1999, the same year his horse Charismatic came within 2 lengths of the Triple Crown….he was inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame. He was inducted into the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame in 2007….while becoming the first person to enter both the Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse halls of fame. In 2013 he was awarded the Eclipse Award of Merit for his accomplishments.
In 2014, at age 78, in his acceptance speech for the 2013 Eclipse Award of Merit, he stated, “when they start giving you awards…they are trying to get you to retire. Well, you young trainers get ready because I’m not retiring. We’re coming after you, so you’d better get up a little more early in the morning from now on. We’re coming after you with a vengeance.”
This wonderful ABC Sports production piece on D Wayne Lucas and his son, Jeff….which is hosted by the incomparable Jim McKay….makes this video well worth the watch.