05/19/2011 11:23AM

Preakness: Lukas remains on the lookout for young fans

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Whenever trainer D. Wayne Lukas wins a race, he picks a young fan out of the crowd near the winner’s circle and invites the child to join Lukas for the picture-taking ceremony. He made a lot of youngsters – not to mention their parents, and Coady Photography – quite happy this past winter at Oaklawn, where Lukas was the leading trainer, and he said he would continue the tradition at Pimlico should he win a race on Saturday.

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“I’ve been doing it for about five years now,” Lukas said Thursday morning. “Every race. I tell the parents, ‘Don’t worry, I’ll bring him back.’ I buy the photo for the kid. But the track photographers tell me it’s great for their business, because the parents want one, and they want a couple more for the grandparents. It’s fun to see the look in their eyes. They get up close to the horses and go, ‘Wow, they’re big.’ ”

Leatherbury all tied up

King Leatherbury has won more than 6,300 races, third-best all-time among trainers, and his collection of racing ties might be approaching that number, too.

Leatherbury unwrapped a boxful on Thursday at the Alibi Breakfast, when called to the podium to accept a package sent from Chris Lincoln, the long-time Alibi host who gave up the gig because he now works at a local television station in Tulsa, Okla.

Lincoln, Leatherbury, and racing executive Lenny Hale made a pact years ago that whoever outlived the others would inherit their ties. All are still living, but Lincoln decided to play a practical joke on Leatherbury. The card in the box said, “I’m not dead yet.”

“The first time I saw Chris Lincoln, he weighed about 600 pounds, and I thought I was 4-5 to outlive him,” Leatherbury said. “Then he had stomach surgery, and now he’ll outlive us all.”

Leatherbury joked that he visited his cemetery plot the other day and saw a sign that said, “Coming soon.”

“I feel young and I act young,” said Leatherbury, 78. “If it wasn’t for mirrors…”