Updated on 01/07/2014 4:51PM

Lukas to receive Eclipse Award of Merit

Barbara D. Livingston
D. Wayne Lukas has won 14 Triple Crown races, more than any other trainer.

D. Wayne Lukas, the Hall of Famer who has trained 24 Eclipse Award winners – not including the trainers he has tutored during his career – has been selected for the 2013 Eclipse Award of Merit for “a lifetime of outstanding achievement,” the organizers of the Eclipse Awards announced Tuesday.

Lukas, 78, was selected for the award after a year in which his career was re-energized by several high-profile wins. Oxbow won the Preakness Stakes, the record 14th Triple Crown race won by a horse he trained, while Will Take Charge took the Travers Stakes and Clark Handicap and narrowly missed a win in the Breeders’ Cup Classic.

Lukas holds the all-time record for purse earnings and was the first trainer to surpass the $100 million and $200 million mark in that category. He has won the Eclipse Award for outstanding trainer on four occasions and was inducted into the sport’s Hall of Fame in 1999. In 2007, he was inducted into the Quarter Horse racing Hall of Fame, the first trainer to be inducted into both halls.

Away from the numbers, Lukas transformed the training profession by maintaining huge stables at tracks across the United States, providing ample opportunities for his assistants to hone their skills, largely based on his management methods. His purse-earnings record is being threatened by a former assistant, Todd Pletcher, a five-time Eclipse Award winner himself and almost certainly a future Hall of Famer.

“No one is more deserving of this award,” Pletcher said in a press release. “Wayne set the bar for so many of us, and I am grateful to have been a part of his team.”

Lukas will be presented with the award Jan. 18 at the Eclipse Awards dinner and ceremony at Gulfstream Park in south Florida.

A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Lukas had won his 13th Triple Crown race with Oxbow in the 2013 Preakness. It was his 14th Triple Crown race victory.

Eric Singer More than 1 year ago
One story about Mr. Lukas I appreciate is the way he continued to train and care for Tabasco Cat after the horse was involved in an accident that caused his son to sustain permanent brain injuries. Wayne didn't blame the horse and went on to win the Belmont with him.
Hail No More than 1 year ago
A lot of people were always DWL bashers, I always brought up that same story, Eric, and how he wept when Landaluce died with her head in his arms, IMO, I think the man is a great trainer and horseman..
Eric Singer More than 1 year ago
Thanks for your reply. Landaluce must have been a helluva a horse. I have only seen her on video clips. Sometimes I felt Wayne was hard on his horses and that many of his 3 year olds were not able to return at four. Perhaps that reflects more on the state of the breed than his training methods. I also have felt at times he placed his horses too ambitiously. On the other side it is amazing to think of how many top class horses he trained. He seems to have an ability to get a horse good and keep them there for a while in strong form. He has a knack for knowing how to have a horse ready to give his all at the right time. This past year is very impressive - Will Take Charge's campaign is a nose short of miraculous and that's not even mentioning the Preakness winner. Ultimately I am a fan, he's a brilliant horseman, businessman, manager and consistent winner and he certainly has aged well.
Ray Sousa More than 1 year ago
I have always respected the man. since the beginning he had the ability to develop a promising horse...in the 90s he kind of lost his touch a little and sometimes over raced his horses or placed them in impossible spots..but i think he is old school in the way he prepares a racehorse for a particular race.i would rather the sport be full of lukases than jacobsons or rudys.
mikey More than 1 year ago
The name Lukas does not belong in the same sentence as those 2 crooks.
Bruce Epstein More than 1 year ago
D Wayne proved himself again this year, after a slow couple of years. Great to see the ole coach back on top. He is well deserving of this award.
Danielle Gershberg More than 1 year ago
The reason I love horse racing today was because when I was 12 years old I started watching this guy and his sunglasses and his white bridles and it was always so exciting and to this day, i root for him no matter what, i don't care who else is in the race! So happy, he truly deserves it. what a classy guy.
TheRaiderFan More than 1 year ago
Should have been David "The Record Breaker" Jacobson
Ray Sousa More than 1 year ago
they should have a most creative dope test dodger award for j.
Justin Time More than 1 year ago
How many races has Jacjobson won outside NY. Get a life !
John Flynn More than 1 year ago
Wayne is The BEST. Pletcher took most of his clients!!!
Greg More than 1 year ago
I thinks u could say hes the Vince Lombardi of horse training !! Hands down the best !!
Greg More than 1 year ago
Well deserviing of a man that has so many asisstants out there winning races They must have a common denominator?? Lukas. Just like everbody hates Baffert now, but Baffert doesnt have the asisstants like D Wayne. Have u seeen how big Bafferts casa is ? sitting in the side of the San Gabriel mountains??? Huge. Any one no how big is D Waynes casa??
Ray Sousa More than 1 year ago
whats your point if you have a big house youre better than everybody else?.i know a few nitwits who got lucky made millions bought huge houses and are now broke.even though its fashionable these days to think that only the very wealthy are smart or good at what they do history says its not always the case.some of the greatest humans were not particularly rich take Einstein the man not the horse for example he was quite poor for much of his life as were ghandi,mandela and most of the scientists that truly made a difference in peoples lives.
nick More than 1 year ago
Dear Mr. Sousa, I could be wrong, but I think that Greg was trying to point out the opposite, that Mr. Lukas chooses to live a little more modestly than Mr. Baffert, but it doesn't necessarily make Mr. Baffert any better.
Tom More than 1 year ago
It's funny how when you get old you are loved. In all these blogs back 12 to 15 years ago he was hated by everyone. All you ever read was how he broke down horses. Now he has a nickname and is loved.
Panama Stallion More than 1 year ago
The amount of horses he has left in his wake is absolutely appalling. "The Coach?" more like The Colt Crippler.
MICHEL More than 1 year ago
The best trainer ever!!!!