10/10/2001 11:00PM

Classic news: Another Lukas longshot


ELMONT, N.Y. - His last three Breeders' Cup winners have returned $113.80, $67, and $41.20. D. Wayne Lukas, the winningest trainer in Breeders' Cup history, will attempt to light up the tote board once again this year when he sends out Orientate in the $4 million Breeders' Cup Classic on Oct. 27.

Orientate, a 3-year-old son of Mt. Livermore, is coming off a 3 1/4-length victory in last Saturday's $314,000 Indiana Derby at Hoosier Park. It was his first victory beyond six furlongs. Under jockey Robby Albarado, Orientate led every step of the way in the 1 1/16-mile race. In the Classic, Orientate will have to stretch out to 1 1/4 miles while facing older horses.

"We think the distance will be well within his scope," said Lukas, who won the 1999 Classic with 19-1 shot Cat Thief. "He has such an efficiency of motion, I don't have a question of him getting the distance. He can be efficient if you don't have to ask him to go [fast] early. That efficiency is worth a little bit more at a mile and a quarter. He's fresh, he's good right now, and I think he deserves a chance. It won't be the first time we're 30-1."

This summer, at Saratoga, Orientate looked like a potential Breeders' Cup Sprint horse with two impressive victories at six furlongs. Then, he finished a dismal seventh, 19 lengths behind Squirtle Squirt in the Grade 1 King's Bishop.

As he likes to say, Lukas has made a living out of winning Grade 1 races at big prices. In addition to his longshot Breeders' Cup wins, Lukas has won the Kentucky Derby with Thunder Gulch ($51) and Charismatic ($64.60).

Lukas, who has 16 wins in the Breeders' Cup, figures to be represented by Jump Start in the Juvenile, Spain in the Distaff, and Yonaguska in the Sprint.