There’s no saying in the horse racing world that you have to get up early to beat D. Wayne Lukas, but there could be. At least when it comes to the 143rd Preakness Stakes on Saturday.
The 82-year-old Hall of Famer was not only the first trainer to arrive in Baltimore on Monday afternoon, but the six-time Preakness winner was the first to hit the track with the two horses he has entered early Tuesday morning.
The legendary Lukas was out first around 6 a.m. with Sporting Chance and later with Bravazo. Though he knows both are considered long shots to beat Kentucky Derby winner Justify, Lukas was happy with his horses’ first workout at Pimlico Race Course.
Lukas said he was surprised with how spry both horses were after the 13-hour ride from Louisville, Ky.
“Good energy,” he said. “They’re in box stalls [in the van] and you think they’re going to be a little bit flat or something. Then they get off the van and they look like they haven’t even left the stall [back in Louisville].”
Lukas initially planned to have the horses walked around the track Tuesday.
“Once I saw them off the van and I saw they never turned a hair and everything was that good, I said, ‘Let’s jog them today, let them look around a little bit,’ ” Lukas said.
Lukas said he will only have the horses go through “light” workouts the rest of the week.
Bravazo, who won his first two starts this year and has won three times in nine starts overall, finished sixth in the Kentucky Derby. Sporting Chance, who won two early races at Saratoga as a 2-year-old last year, has never run a race as long as Preakness (1 3/16 miles).
“They’re dead fit,” Lukas said. “That two-week break from the Derby, it’s not any different than the NBA or the NFL or anything. The recovery is the thing. You’ve got to get their energy level back up. I want them really to have a high energy level on Saturday.”
Good Magic, who finished second to Justify in the Kentucky Derby, was the only other horse scheduled to work out Tuesday. His trainer, Chad Brown, won’t be in Baltimore until later in the week.