08/03/2001 12:00AM

Padua, Lukas go their separate ways

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SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - The Padua Stables of Satish and Anne Sanan has taken most of its horses from trainer D. Wayne Lukas and dispersed them among several other nationally prominent trainers, according to the Sanans' daughter, Nadia Sanan, who acts as the racing manager for her parents.

Lukas said he still has five horses for Padua, but the rest were sent on Thursday and Friday to Steve Asmussen, Bob Baffert, Michael Dickinson, Bill Mott, and Todd Pletcher, according to Nadia Sanan, who was at Saratoga on Friday morning. She said her parents' stable numbers 30 to 40 horses at the track.

"We've been undergoing a lot of reorganization the last couple of months," Nadia Sanan said. "We have to evaluate the business."

Lukas had been a partner in Padua and the stable's general manager until two months ago. His position as Padua's exclusive trainer was thought to be tenuous for months. Asked if this decision was due in part to disappointing performance by Padua's runners, Nadia Sanan said, "Yes."

"Anytime you make the type of investment that we have with Padua, you are hoping to do a lot of things in this business, and hopefully we can accomplish a lot of them," she added.

The Sanans burst into the business at the summer yearling sales four years ago, spending lavishly on yearlings and a Florida farm. And though the stable had some high-profile runners, such as 1999 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies winner Cash Run and the top sprinters Exchange Rate and Yes Its True, Padua had numerous expensive purchases who never panned out.

Lukas, who is based at Saratoga this summer, on Friday said he respected the decision of the Sanans. He called Satish Sanan a "close friend" and said "our friendship is very much intact.

"I want him to do well," Lukas said. "He has made a commitment to the sport. We had some success, like in the Breeders' Cup, and with Yes Its True and Exchange Rate, but I felt like we were unlucky. Gene Klein," Lukas added, referring to his main client in the late-1980's, "if I bought a burro for him, it would have been the fastest burro on the world.

"I'm very fond of the whole Sanan family. [Satish] has been very good to me. You just couldn't feel any ill feelings to a guy that's been that good to you. He's been a trooper through strong adversity."

Lukas said he was "frustrated" he did not have any Triple Crown runners for Padua this year. "I wanted to get them into the classics," he said.

Lukas has other continuing connections with Padua. His son, Jeff, works at Padua's farm in Ocala, Fla. Jeff Lukas was seriously injured in December 1993 when trampled by Tabasco Cat. Randy Bradshaw, a former Lukas assistant, is now the training center manager at Padua's farm, Nadia Sanan said.