D. Wayne Lukas: A Legend in the Belmont Stakes Spotlight

At 88 years old, the Hall of Fame trainer, D. Wayne Lukas,  sits by Barn 83, preparing his charge, Seize the Grey, for what could be another historic victory.

Lukas, a towering figure in horse racing, recently secured his 15th Triple Crown championship with Seize the Grey’s victory at Pimlico. This win, his seventh Preakness title, was a testament to his enduring passion and unmatched expertise in the sport.

 

A Journey from Humble Beginnings

Lukas began his illustrious career with quarter horses before transitioning to thoroughbreds in the late 1970s. He had his first huge victory in the 1980 Preakness Stakes. Over the years, Lukas has trained multiple champions, including Lady’s Secret, Criminal Type, and Charismatic, and amassed an impressive 4,930 wins and nearly $297 million in earnings.

Despite his age, Lukas remains as passionate as ever about horse racing. “I enjoy it immensely,” he shares. “I like the big arena. I like the competition. I like competing against my good friends like Bill Mott.” His dedication is evident as he continues to rise at 3 a.m. daily, driven by the thrill of Graded Stakes races and the pursuit of victory.

 

Seize the Grey: A Promising Contender

Belmont Stakes Contenders: Seize the Grey

This year’s Belmont Stakes odds see Lukas entering Seize the Grey, a colt with 10 starts under his belt, the most experienced in the field. Owned by 2,570 shareholders through MyRacehorse, Seize the Grey’s journey to Belmont has been remarkable. Purchased for $300,000 at the 2022 Fasig-Tipton yearling sale, he has shown significant improvement, culminating in his recent Preakness win.

 

The Belmont Stakes Challenge

The Belmont Stakes, traditionally the most demanding of the Triple Crown races, will test Seize the Grey’s endurance and versatility. As an important fact for those looking to bet on horses, the colt’s pedigree, by Arrogate, suggests a preference for longer distances, a crucial factor for the 1 1/2-mile Belmont. 

Lukas is optimistic but acknowledges the challenge ahead. “The rail post suggests he will have to go for it early,” Lukas explains, anticipating stiff competition from other front-runners.

 

Reflections and Legacy

As Lukas prepares for the Belmont Stakes, he reflects on his storied career and the passion that has driven him for over six decades. “You eliminate all of the excuses if you have a passion. And I don’t think I’ll lose that,” he explains. Despite a career filled with accolades, Lukas remains humble and focused on the future, always looking for the next big win.

Lukas’ influence extends beyond his achievements. He has mentored many in the industry, including top trainers Todd Pletcher and Mike Maker. “It’s always been very special,” Lukas says of competing against his former proteges. His longevity and success serve as an inspiration to both peers and newcomers in the racing world.

Away from the track, Lukas reveals a more contemplative side, often writing poetry about life and love. In one of his poems, “Out of Time,” he reflects on the passage of time and the importance of cherishing each moment.

 

2024 Belmont Stakes Odds and Contenders
PPHorseJockeyTrainerOwnerOdds
1Seize The GreyJaime TorresD. Wayne LukasMyRacehorse8-1
2ResilienceJunior AlvaradoBill MottEmily Bushnell & Ric Waldman10-1
3Mystik DanBrian Hernandez, Jr.Kenneth McPeekLance Gasaway, 4 G Racing LLC & Daniel Hamby III5-1
4The Wine StewardManny FrancoMike MakerParadise Farms Corp. and Staudacher, David15-1
5AntiquarianJohn VelazquezTodd PletcherCentennial Farms12-1
6DornochLuis SaezDanny GarganWest Paces Racing LLC, R. A. Hill Stable, Belmar Racing and Breeding LLC,   Two Eight Racing LLC & Pine Racing Stable15-1
7ProtectiveTyler GaffalioneTodd PletcherRepole Stable20-1
8Honor MarieFlorent GerouxWhit BeckmanRibble Farms LLC12-1
9Sierra LeoneFlavien PratChad BrownMagnier, Mrs. John, Tabor, Michael B., Smith, Derrick, Westerberg, Rocket   Ship Racing, LLC and Brant, Peter M.9-5
10MindframeIrad Ortiz, Jr.Todd PletcherRepole Stable and St. Elias Stables LLC7-2