04/28/2014 1:31PM

Lukas keeps watch on Medal Count

Barbara D. Livingston
Medal Count will be making his third start in 30 days when he runs in the Kentucky Derby. The last horse to win the Derby racing three times within 30 days was the Wayne Lukas-trained Charismatic in 1999.

Four-time Kentucky Derby-winning trainer D. Wayne Lukas won’t have a starter this year, but there are a few story lines he will be watching with interest. Among them is Medal Count, set to make his third start in 30 days after winning the Transylvania Stakes on April 4 and finishing second in the Blue Grass Stakes on April 12.

[ROAD TO THE KENTUCKY DERBY: Prep races, point standings, replays]

The last Derby winner to keep such an ambitious schedule – a rarity in top-level racing in the modern era – was the Lukas trainee Charismatic in 1999, with three starts in 29 days. The colt finished fourth in the Santa Anita Derby on April 3, won the Lexington Stakes on April 18, and won the Derby on May 1. He took the Preakness two weeks later, then was third while suffering a career-ending injury in the Belmont Stakes.

“Charismatic was a big, heavy horse who never ran a good race till I really pushed him and pushed him and pushed him to get him fit,” Lukas said. “And he handled it really well, and then he came back two weeks later and won again. As a trainer, you just have to read them day to day to see if they can handle it. Most of them can’t. But I’m not saying that it won’t work [for Medal Count]. It worked for me, but I don’t know their horse.”

For his part, Medal Count is continuing to thrive. The colt was full of energy while jogging two miles Monday in his first trip to the track after breezing Saturday.

“The big thing coming out of the Transylvania was he had to get right back into his feed tub, he had to have not lost any weight, and he had to be happy in training and aggressive in what he’s doing,” trainer Dale Romans said. “He came out of [the Blue Grass] just as fresh and happy. He’s one of these horses that the more you do with him, the better he gets. He’s kind of a throwback horse. I think he’s a horse that the more we do, the better he’ll get.”

Lukas added that while a trainer can identify a robust horse who might improve under a heavy schedule, the true test comes in the heat of the moment.

“You can look at them and say he’s doing well, he’s not tucked up, he’s in the feed tub and everything,” Lukas said. “But you really don’t know in your heart until they turn at the quarter pole.”

John Murray More than 1 year ago
I pushed him and pushed him to get him fit" " to see if they can handle it. Most of them can't" Then he Charismatic broke down with Antley holding his leg in the Belmont, "It worked for me" not so much for Charismatic. That kind of thinking typifies the problem.
Chris Lowe More than 1 year ago
I bet him in the Blue Grass and will be using him in the exotics.
Ian GW More than 1 year ago
I'm using him. The work out looked just as good as any of them.
Michael Ferry More than 1 year ago
Excellent work getting D. Wayne The Butcher's take on how to run a horse into the ground. His bumper sticker " My Other Car is a Horse Ambulance " What he's done to horses to get his face on TV is brutal.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
nobody believes when I said I had Court Vision that day.........he was a horse who thrived in cold weather,,44 degrees that afternoon and $20 to WP on him...........Love the Dynaformer angle...boxing him with Intense Holiday, Danza and Hoppertunity
Donnie Jones More than 1 year ago
I had Court Vision also and wish I had put more on him!!! 40 to win, 20 P/S
AzHorsePlayer More than 1 year ago
The Kentucky Derby is becoming a joke with all these turf horses running on dirt...Medal Count and We Miss Artie are turf horses but the connections will run in the Derby just to say they were in the Derby...in two months you will see them start racing exclusively on turf ...anyone that bets these horses in the derby to win or even hit the board are crazy...go watch the fountain of youth stakes when they ran on true dirt and then tell me how good they are...enjoy being an also ran and an I told you so come Saturday afternoon.
Bryan Tripoli More than 1 year ago
Does Animal Kingdom ring a bell? How about Barbaro? Even horses who didn't win but ran very well like Paddy O'Prado, Went The Day Well, Dullahan, etc. All turf horses who ran very well in recent runnings of the derby.
AzHorsePlayer More than 1 year ago
Barbaro won the Florida Derby on dirt before he ran in the derby you moron
Chris Lowe More than 1 year ago
Street Sense used the BG as a prep, too.
AzHorsePlayer More than 1 year ago
And was proven on dirt...you are all missing the point...let me spell it out to you...Medal Count and We Miss Artie can't win the Kentucky Derby, period!
Dan More than 1 year ago
Let me guess CC cool aid drinker right?? I think the AZ sun has gotten to you a bit cause anyone that comes on here knocking someone for using one of the top 3 best bred colts in a 1 1/4 race has either one of two things... 1) no class which I am willing to bet fits you or 2) just wants to rag on horses that they don't have the intellect to figure out has a chance of running a big race, which prob is you as well! Take your 5/2 in a 20 horse field and when that CA Bred is looking for an oxygen mask at the 1/8 pole or a place to go lie down then YOU throw all your worthless tickets on the floor!
AzHorsePlayer More than 1 year ago
I have picked 14 winners of this race since 1985...14 wins in 29 runnings, I can live with my stats just fine...and for the record I had $100 on Animal Kingdom, thank you!
Ian GW More than 1 year ago
If you know anything about racing and CD track, it plays great for turf horses. Only tack in America that a Turf horse can win on dirt there. Medal Could going to run a good race. Maybe I get what I got with AK again?
AzHorsePlayer More than 1 year ago
Let's see where you guys are after the race with your comments...if you honestly think Medal Count & We Miss Artie can win the derby your clueless...yes in a 20 horse field you need luck no doubt but even if both these horses get the perfect ride they can't win the derby...again I challenge you to watch the fountain of youth again and then tell me how strong these turf horses are on true dirt...Ramsey just wants his face on TV that's why he is entering his turf horse..enjoy splitting the field at best.
Greg Stevens More than 1 year ago
Discount ALL PREPS AT Gulfstream Park...it was a conveyor belt for speed horses, hardly a "fair" track for a closer... I don't knock anyone for who they pick....Medal Count has a decent shot at a fair price Saturday...but I personally like Wicked Strong
Carlos Santos More than 1 year ago
Kinda has barbaro's blood. Barbaro was by Dynaformer out of a Carson city Dam, medal count is by dynaformer out of unbridled song. Stamina on top, speed on the bottom. Remember Robby won with Romans on a big day to beat goldicova. Same owners too.
Kathy More than 1 year ago
This is an intriguing stat. Thanks for pointing this out! Shows his moxy!
Honnimae More than 1 year ago
what he's saying is True He Ran WTC into form because his Training is Lacking . everyone remembers that Jeff was the Master Trainer.
P Cerv More than 1 year ago
Keep looking "Coach" time has come for you to "Hang them up"! The days of Media following you around like a puppy dog is over, see they were right....when you go up the ladder, you need to face the same people coming down, that's why its important to be nice, especially to people, even the ones you don't know or have million dollar bank accounts!