03/01/2007 12:00AM

Hall of Fame call puts Lukas in unique class


D. Wayne Lukas, 71, will become the first person to enter both the Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse halls of fame when he is inducted into the American Quarter Horse Association Hall of Fame on Sunday night during ceremonies at the AQHA Convention in Houston.

Lukas was inducted into the National Thoroughbred Hall of Fame in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., in 1999.

"It's been a lot of years since I've trained Quarter Horses," said Lukas, who completed his move to Thoroughbred racing from Quarter Horse racing in 1979.

Asked his reaction to being named to another hall of fame, Lukas said: "These things are such an honor. I was somewhat surprised and I'm as proud of this as anything that has come my way."

Lukas, who began full-time Quarter Horse training in 1967, became a national force during the 1970's, first at Ruidoso Downs and then at Los Alamitos Race Course after he moved his stable to Southern California in 1971. At Ruidoso, he won his first major stakes when he sent out Reller to win the Kansas Derby, now a Grade 1, in 1970. At Los Alamitos, Lukas handled top stakes horses while leading the nation in earnings in 1974 through 1977. He also was the national leader in races won in 1974-75.

Helping Lukas's rise was Native Empress, who started 95 times and won 28 races (11 stakes).

"She got us started at Los Alamitos when we moved from Ruidoso," Lukas said. "She changed my lifestyle. She was my Lady's Secret of Quarter Horses.

"[Assistant trainer] Tom MacKenzie and I were standing outside her stall at Los Alamitos soon after we moved there. I said to Tom, 'We need a superstar.' Little did I know then that the mare in the stall was going to be our superstar."

Two-time world champion Dash for Cash won the Los Alamitos Derby, now the Grade 1, $750,000 Los Alamitos Super Derby, with Lukas as his trainer. Dash for Cash became the breed's all-time leading sire of money earners until surpassed by his world champion son First Down Dash. Dash for Cash still holds the 440-yard Los Alamitos track record of 21.17 seconds set in 1977.

"He is the only horse that I ever threw a saddle on that I thought would never get beat," said Lukas of Dash for Cash, who was undefeated at Los Alamitos. "No horse would have beat him at five-eighths of a mile."

Lukas also trained Quarter Horse champions She's Precious, Little Blue Sheep, and Flight 109.

Lukas still owns and breeds a few Quarter Horses. He has a foal-sharing agreement with the Vessels Stallion Farm, co-owner and breeder of 2006 All American Futurity winner No Secrets Here, to breed one of the farm's top Quarter Horse mares to Hennessy, whom he trained.

Lukas, tied for leading trainer at the Oaklawn Park meet, trains Kentucky Derby hopeful Flying First Class, who is being pointed to the Grade 3, $300,000 Rebel Stakes on March 17. Lukas has 4 Kentucky Derby wins, 5 Preakness Stakes wins, 4 Belmont Stakes wins, and 18 Breeders' Cup stakes victories.

A Mere Splash tops maiden stakes

Fastest qualifier A Mere Splash comes off a promising trial win to head the $145,000 Maiden Stakes at Los Alamitos on Saturday night.

The Maiden Stakes over 350 yards is for 3-year-olds who were still maidens as of Dec. 1, 2006.

A Mere Splash stood out in the six trials when he was timed in 17.42 seconds for the final 220 yards of his 350-yard trial - the fastest final 220 yards of any race during the meet. That winning time was .13 of a second faster than second-fastest qualifier This Snow Is Amazing.

Wood strong at Sunland

Trainer Blane Wood saddles Mightys First Call and Mister WW, two of the favorites, in the $125,000 NMHBA Quarter Horse Stakes at 350 yards for New Mexico-bred 3-year-olds on Sunday at Sunland Park.

Mightys First Call has yet to win a stakes, but she was fourth in the Grade 1, $1.9 million All American Futurity and second to Gun Battle in the $300,000 Zia Futurity. Gun Battle went on to finish second in the All American Futurity as the favorite.

Mister WW surprised in the Dec. 30 Shue Fly Stakes at Sunland Park when he won at 46-1. He was clocked in a fast 19.19 seconds for the 400 yards.