Updated on 01/07/2014 4:51PM

Lukas to receive Eclipse Award of Merit

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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.