For the first time since 1980, trainer D. Wayne Lukas won’t have an entry in the Kentucky Derby. Lukas, who has won the last two Derbys and seven of the last eight Triple Crown races, said Monday he will be just a spectator for the 123rd Kentucky Derby on May 3.
“It serves no purpose for me to try and be in the race. I think there are times in a trainer’s life - mine included - when I wanted to be in the race. That’s long past for me. I’ve been in 16 or 17 of them,” he said during morning workouts at Churchill Downs.
Lukas nominated 23 3-year-olds for the Derby. His top contender, juvenile champion Boston Harbor, broke his left foreleg in February, dropping him out of the Derby picture.
His highly regarded filly, Sharp Cat, finished sixth out of 10 contenders in the Santa Anita Derby, her first race against the boys. Lukas said Monday she will start in the Kentucky Oaks, the Derby for fillies, on May 2 at Churchill Downs.
His final hope, Deeds Not Words, finished a disappointing third in the Lexington Stakes on Sunday at Keeneland.
Lukas denied rumors he might purchase interest in a Derby-bound horse.
Jerry Bailey, who has ridden two of the last four Kentucky Derby winners, will return to the race aboard Phantom On Tour.
Bailey replaces Larry Melancon, who rode Phantom On Tour when he finished second in the April 12 Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park.
Bailey won the 1996 Kentucky Derby on Grindstone and the 1993 race on Sea Hero. He was third in 1994 on Blumin Affair and second in 1995 on Tejano Run.
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