10/21/2008 12:00AM

After first-ever absence, Lukas has two shots


ARCADIA, Calif. - Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas is back in the Breeders' Cup. Significantly, he's back in the Juvenile Fillies, a race he has won a record five times, with Be Smart. He also has Ninth Client in Saturday's Juvenile Turf.

Lukas, 73, is the winningest trainer in Breeders' Cup history with 18 victories. He was the nation's leading trainer in money won from 1983-1992, and 1994-97. He did not have a starter in last year's Breeders' Cup for the first time in the series' history.

Although Be Smart will likely be a longshot, she has already produced in that circumstance, winning her career debut at Saratoga and paying $100.

Out of that race, Be Smart came back to run second in the Grade 1 Alcibiades over the synthetic track at Keeneland, giving Lukas reason to believe he has a shot for a sixth Juvenile Fillies crown.

"Nobody else stayed around that day for a part of it," said Lukas. "I think it's pretty positive if this track doesn't do her in the last eighth of a mile. She's going to be forwardly placed, which I like in this race. Of my 18 wins, I don't think any have come from left field.

"I couldn't have her any better," Lukas added. "If she gets off that plane today and trains like she has this week, I'm perfectly comfortable leading her over there."

Lukas won the Juvenile Fillies with Twilight Ridge (1985), Open Mind (1988), Flanders (1994), Cash Run (1999), and Folkore (2005). Four of those horses were favorites, while Cash Run upset the field at 32-1.

"She's got the Flanders, Serena's Song [second in 1994], Cash Run-type style; she gets into her races, she'll take it to them," Lukas said. "She's a gorgeous filly; she wins the paddock show. I haven't even seen the others, but the horse show's hers."

Garrett Gomez, who won the Juvenile Fillies last year with Indian Blessing, will ride Be Smart from post 5.

In 1999, Cash Run upset the undefeated Chilukki, who had won her first six races and was sent off the 3-2 favorite in the Juvenile Fillies. Friday, Lukas will try to upset Stardom Bound, who after losing her first two starts, scored eye-catching victories in the Del Mar Debutante and Oak Leaf. She is the 2-1 morning-line favorite in the Juvenile Fillies.

"She's earned that right," Lukas said. "We'll see how she handles it."

Though Stardom Bound drew post 10, trainer Christopher Paasch didn't seem worried since his filly will be coming from off the pace.

"It doesn't matter to me, the way she comes out of the gate," he said. "I think we drew well."

Juvenile Turf: Ninth Client to break from rail

Ninth Client drew the rail in the Juvenile Turf, which will have 12 starters. Of the leading contenders, Bittel Road starts in post 11, while the European stakes winners Westphalia and Donativum start in posts 3 and 4.

Lukas trains Ninth Client for breeder Marylou Whitney. The colt has 1 victory in 4 starts, a maiden race on turf at Saratoga on Aug. 4. He has since lost two stakes at 1 1/16 miles on turf to Bittel Road - a fifth in the With Anticipation Stakes at Saratoga on Aug. 29, and a third in the Grade 3 Bourbon Stakes at Keeneland on Oct. 5.

In the Bourbon, Ninth Client was in contention with a sixteenth of a mile remaining, giving Lukas hope that the one-mile distance of the BC Juvenile Turf will be a better fit.

Lukas was based in California until the winter of 2006-07, and now spends most of his time in Kentucky. On Tuesday, he could not go far at Clocker's Corner, the popular trackside hangout, without being stopped by friends and colleagues.

"I started about an hour ago and this is how far I am," he said, speaking about 50 yards from Clocker's Corner. "The big thing is the camaraderie."

- additional reporting by Steve Andersen