Legendary Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas is not done writing his storybook career just yet. At 86 years young, Lukas still has plenty of high-caliber horses to showcase his talents at the upcoming Saratoga Race Course summer meet that kicks off July 14.
For the first time since 2019, Lukas, a six-time leading trainer at the Spa, will have an expanded presence at Saratoga. He will have 16 stalls on the Oklahoma backstretch, where he is sure to be seen out on his pony every morning during training hours. Among the squad Lukas is bringing to Saratoga is Briland Farms’ Longines Kentucky Oaks (G1) winner, Secret Oath .
“We’re excited about being back,” Lukas said. “We’ve got Secret Oath coming in that group and we have a couple of 2-year-old colts that we think can run. We could have a decent meet. We’re thrilled about being back up there. More importantly, we ‘ve tried to develop quality horses that we can bring to Saratoga.”
Secret Oath, a 3-year-old daughter of the late Arrogate, provided Lukas with his fifth Kentucky Oaks victory and his first since Overbrook Farm’s Seaside Attraction captured the lilies in 1990. A solid fourth against males in the Preakness Stakes (G1) last time out, Secret Oath has been training forwardly at Churchill Downs and is on target for the July 23, $500,000 Coaching Club American Oaks (G1). Lukas has won the prestigious nine-furlong test twice, the most recent being in 1989 with champion Open Mind.
“Secret Oath is doing absolutely super. She is really, really doing well. We couldn’t be happy with her,” Lukas said. “What happened with her is she was kind of a gangly filly that didn’t fill out her frame. She’s filled in and looks really good now. She’s putting it all together and she’s really getting stronger. I love the way she’s coming around and have been really pleased with her lately.”
Sign up for BloodHorse Daily
Secret Oath wins the Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs
The filly blazed five furlongs in a bullet:58 2/5 at Churchill Downs June 27, followed by a six-furlong drill in 1:12 4/5 July 5.
Lukas could get things started right Thursday on Saratoga’s opening day when he saddles BC Stables’ summer promise in the $175,000 Schuylerville Stakes (G3) for 2-year-old fillies going six furlongs on the main track. The trainer signed the ticket on the well-bred daughter of Uncle Mo for $500,000 at the 2020 Keeneland September Sale when she was offered by the Taylor Made consignment. The filly is a half sister to grade 1-winner and sire Creative Cause grade 1 winner Vexatious, and graded-stakes winner and Belmont Stakes presented by NYRA Bets (G1) runner-up Fate .
Owned by BC Stables, Summer Promise scored impressively at first asking June 25 at Churchill Downs, zipping the five furlongs on the main track in :57 4/5.
Lukas said that Aaron Sones and Julie Gilbert’s Ethereal Road , winner of the May 21 Sir Barton Stakes sponsored by Brandon and Diannah Perry to Benefit The Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance on the Preakness undercard, will target the July 31 Jim Dandy Stakes (G2) for 3-year-olds going 1 1/8 miles on the main track. He was most recently sixth in the June 25 Ohio Derby (G3).