With roots deeply embedded in Quarter Horse racing, trainer D. Wayne Lukas crossed into Thoroughbred racing in the late 1970s. Several years ago, Lukas came back to his roots and has not regretted it.
Prior to his racing days, the Wisconsin native coached high school basketball and was a pretty good horseman at Park Jefferson, South Dakota. Lukas saddled Dash For Cash, Flight 109, Little Blue Sheep and She’s Precious.
In 1979, Lukas saddled his last Quarter Horse winner and went on to train Thoroughbreds. Success followed Lukas into the Thoroughbred circles and the trainer saddled three Kentucky Derby winners, four Preakness winners and three Belmont winners. Lukas was also the first trainer to condition the earners of $100 million. At one time, Lukas had conditioned 20 champion Thoroughbreds, including horses of the year Lady’s Secret and Criminal Type.
Lukas bought Sir Ryon, a son of Ronas Ryon, in 1997, just before the final of the Kindergarten Futurity. Lukas soon had a barn at Los Alamitos in California and was conditioning Quarter Horses once again. His horses included First Special Dash, Drop Your Sox and Private Venture.
“My absolute fondest memories, without a doubt, are of my days with Quarter Horses in the Southwest,” said Lukas. “Goliad, Sunland Park, Ruidoso – those were great times; nothing like ‘em.”
Lukas was inducted into the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame in 2007.