01/26/2011 2:44PM

Lukas pointing Dublin to Met Mile

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Barbara D. Livingston
Dublin is working toward a March return, with an eye on the Met Mile at Belmont Park on May 30.

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – Dublin, who has not raced since finishing fifth in last year’s Preakness Stakes, is on pace to make his return to the races in March, trainer D. Wayne Lukas said. He is part of a strong contingent of older horses that Lukas has on hand at Oaklawn Park, where he is tied atop the trainer standings two weeks into the meet.

“Dublin’s doing well,” Lukas said. “We’re going to let him dictate his schedule, but he’s on a regular work pattern. He’ll be going out this next weekend to five-eighths. I’d say he’d be ready early March.”

Dublin, who won the Grade 1 Hopeful in 2009, was sidelined with a bone chip in his ankle that has since been removed. He was third by a half-length in last year’s Arkansas Derby and went on to run seventh in the Kentucky Derby.

“The long-term goal is the Met Mile,” Lukas said of the Grade 1 race at Belmont Park in May. “I’d like to get him really right for the Met Mile. Whatever I do, I want to point towards that. That’s a very prestigious, stallion-making race.”

The other top older male in the Lukas barn is Hamazing Destiny, who was second in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint in his most recent start Nov. 6. Lukas said the horse is being freshened and that it would be close as far as making the Grade 3, $150,000 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap at Oaklawn on April 14.

“I’m just starting him back,” he said. “We’re just getting ready for a spring campaign.”

Another older sprinter in the barn, Silver Edition, will run Saturday at Oaklawn in the $50,000 Hot Springs, Lukas said.

As for the barn’s older females, Be Fair is on deck for the $100,000 Bayakoa on Feb. 19. She was third in the Grade 1 Apple Blossom a year ago, after setting the pace and being overtaken by eventual Horse of the Year Zenyatta. Other stakes runners in the barn include 4-year-old fillies Tidal Pool, who was third in last year’s Kentucky Oaks, and Decelerator.

As for 3-year-olds, Lukas said he is a little behind schedule with his young prospects. None in the barn have stakes credentials yet, but he has high hopes for the current crop.

“So far, we’ve got some 3-year-olds that are looking like they might have some potential,” he said. “But we’re playing catch-up a little. But that’s all right. We’ve been there before. Charismatic was a claimer at this time.”

Charismatic developed into a Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner for Lukas in 1999.

Former jockey Patterson dies at 66

Former jockey Garth Patterson, who won the 1975 Kentucky Oaks aboard Sun and Snow and the 1984 Haskell aboard Big Pistol, died Tuesday night in Hot Springs, Ark. He was 66.

Patterson was a native of Iowa. He rode throughout the Midwest and on the East Coast. Patterson also competed on a regular basis at Oaklawn.

“At one time, he won every feature race here for eight days in a row,” Oaklawn-based trainer Jimmy Garroutte said.

Patterson also rode in three Kentucky Derbies, between 1971 and 1984. His career ended in the 1980s after a spill in Nebraska. Patterson is to be buried in Iowa, with the arrangements to be made through Powers Funeral Home in Pomeroy.

◗ It Happened Again invades from Fair Grounds for a $40,000 optional claiming route that goes as the featured eighth race Friday at Oaklawn. He was third at a similar level in his most recent start Dec. 27. Michael Baze has the mount for trainer Steve Asmussen.