09/20/2015 10:33AM

Hall of Fame trainer Lukas in hospital

Barbara D. Livingston
Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas was taken to a hospital outside Philadelphia on Saturday.

Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas was taken to the Torresdale campus of Aria Health in suburban Philadelphia on Saturday night after members of his traveling staff called 911.

Lukas, 80, was in Philadelphia to run last year’s 2-year-old champion filly Take Charge Brandi in the Grade 1 Cotillion Stakes and Mr. Z in the Grade 2 Pennsylvania Derby at Parx Racing. Lukas was feeling weak Saturday, according to John Sica, who has worked for Lukas for 18 years, and he decided to stay at the hotel rather than go to the track.

When Lukas was not feeling any better by yesterday evening, Sica reached out to Sam Elliott, director of racing at Parx, who in turn contacted track physician Dr. Brian Rizen, who said 911 should be called immediately. That was at approximately 9 p.m.

Lukas had a low heart rate when the paramedics arrived, and they took him to the hospital. Lukas is scheduled to have a pacemaker/defibrillator implanted in his chest. Tests showed he did not have a heart attack, and chest X-rays came back clean, according to Sica, who said that besides the low heart rate, Lukas appears to be in fine health.

Elliott visited Lukas in the hospital Sunday and said he was sharp and alert. Plans call for the pacemaker procedure to be performed Sunday and for the hospital do do a catherization Monday, which will ensure that all of his arteries are clear.

Lukas’s wife, Laurie, is in transit from her Colorado farm and is scheduled to arrive in Philadelphia this afternoon.

Ron Anderson, who has known Lukas for decades, and who is the agent for jockey Joel Rosario, spoke with Laurie Lukas before she boarded a plane. Laurie Lukas told Anderson that her husband was stillll in intensive care but that he was resting comfortably and in good spirits.

Lukas was honored with the Eclipse Award of Merit in 2013 for his many accomplishments, including 14 wins in Triple Crown races, including four Kentucky Derby wins; 20 Breeders’ Cup victories; and career stable earnings of more than $273 million, second only to his former assistant, Todd Pletcher.

- additional reporting by David Grening