LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Back in the Seventies, when Bob Baffert was riding quarter horses — he admits he wasn’t much of a jockey — trainer D. Wayne Lukas was his idol. There’s no way he could have imagined that someday he and Lukas would be tied for second all-time with four Kentucky Derby victories.
They’ll be competing again Saturday, when Baffert will saddle Derby favorite Justify and 30-1 shot Solomini, and Lukas will run 50-1 Bravazo. Lukas is 82, and though there’s zero buzz for his horse, he could become the oldest trainer to win America’s Race.
“Wayne and I came from the same background of training quarter horses,” Baffert said. “He was the king there, and then he went into thoroughbreds and he was the king there. Everywhere he’s gone, he’s changed the game, because he’s one of the hardest workers I’ve ever seen and he thinks outside the box.”
“To me, Wayne Lukas was always the bar, and he’s still the bar to me. I wanted to get there because he’s one of the greatest trainers of all time.
”Even at this age, he doesn’t slack off at all. He’s still a great horseman.”
Around the track
The forecast is for a 70-percent chance of thunderstorms on Friday, Kentucky Oaks Day. Derby Day looks much better: 20-percent possibility of morning rain, followed by sunshine . . . For the past five years, the Thursday of Derby week has been called “Thurby.” . . . Kentuckians say, “Are you going Derby?” instead of “Are you going to the Derby?” No one knows why.