If ever there was a trainer with an eye for a 2-year-old, it's D. Wayne Lukas. On a trip to Kentucky in 2004, the Hall of Fame trainer was asked to check up on some of Bob and Beverly Lewises' yearlings at Taylor Made Farm that had been nominated for the yearling sales. One particular yearling caught his eye, and Lukas phoned the Lewises and requested they take the filly out of the mix.
The yearling was out of the Storm Cat mare Contrive. What may have sparked Lukas' imagination was the fact he had trained the mare. One thing was for sure, however -- "she had the walk."
The filly -- named Folklore -- would go on a tear once getting into training in 2005 and reward the Lewises with another Eclipse Award. While Bob and Beverly Lewis contemplate some home remodeling to lengthen their mantel as they collect their seventh overall Eclipse Award, this one is particularly sweet, as it is the first earned with a homebred. The victory was a runaway, with Folklore receiving 257 of 260 first-place votes. For Lukas, it's another in a long string of championships earned. Folklore is the seventh 2-year-old filly he's trained to an Eclipse Award since 1982, and overall, Lukas has been responsible for the winners of 28 Eclipse Awards. Three of those are for Horse of the Year: Lady's Secret (1986), Criminal Type ('90), and Charismatic ('99).
Folklore's championship run started early, May 18 at Belmont Park, where she ran second in a five-furlong maiden race. It was a quick start for a daughter from the first crop of Tiznow
the two-time Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) winner and 2000 Horse of the Year, considering he was unraced as a 2-year-old and didn't blossom until he went around two turns.
Folklore bounced back into the fray a little more than two weeks later and crushed a maiden special-weight cast by four lengths at the same five furlongs at Belmont. She would feast on stakes for the remainder of the year.
From that early day in June to the end of the racing season, Folklore would start five more times. In four of those starts she would forge a rivalry with the swift Adieu, a daughter of El Corredor
trained by Lukas' one-time assistant, Todd Pletcher. While they would split their series 2-2, when the money was on the line at season's end, it was Folklore and Lukas who would clear the table.
The first meeting between Adieu and Folklore came July 3 in the 5 ½-furlong Astoria at Belmont and the two battled head-and-head until deep stretch when Adieu eased away to a 1 ¼-length advantage at the wire.
The two hooked up again later that month on the opening day card at Saratoga, and this time it was Folklore who got the upper hand. Using different tactics and coming from off the pace, Folklore rolled in the stretch to a three-quarter length score over Fifth Avenue. Adieu, up close early and inside, faded to finish fourth. The tables turned back again toward the end of the meet in the seven-furlong Spinaway (gr. II) with Adieu grabbing the lead early and fending off the late run of Folklore to win by a length.
Both fillies would go their separate ways on the road to the Breeders' Cup, with Adieu winning the Frizette (gr. I) and Folklore dismantling her foes in the seven-furlong Matron (gr. I) by a devastating 14 lengths.
Meeting No. 4 came in the Alberto VO5 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) with both stretching out to 11/16 miles while facing eight other rivals. Folklore, the 5-2 favorite under Edgar Prado, helped prompt the early pace with Knights Templar, then spurted away to a three-length advantage in the stretch. She went on to win by 1 ¼ lengths over Del Mar Debutante (gr. I) winner Wild Fit, with Adieu fading to finish seventh.
Adding to his already legendary performances in Breeders' Cup races, Folklore's win was the 18th Breeders' Cup victory for Lukas, and his fifth in the Juvenile Fillies. Prado, who was riding Folklore for the second time, snapped an 0-for-41 Breeders' Cup slump while getting his first win.
The Breeders' Cup victory sealed the Eclipse for Folklore, and her 4-3-0 slate from seven starts is a testament to her consistency all season long.Voting for 2-Year-Old Filly:
Folklore, 257; Wild Fit, 2; French Park 1; Voter Abstentions, 2.