Lukas Nabs Record Fifth Debutante With 1-2 Finish

Lukas Nabs Record Fifth Debutante With 1-2 Finish
Photo: Four-Footed Fotos
Be Gentle provided D. Wayne Lukas with a record fifth Debutante victory.
Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas won the $110,900 Debutante Stakes (gr. III) at Churchill Downs for the record fifth time when his trainees Be Gentle and Renaissance Lady ran 1-2 in the 103rd renewal of the race July 4.

Ridden by Cornelio Velasquez, leading rider during the meet that concludes Sunday, Be Gentle led from start to finish, setting fractions of :22, :45 1/5, and :57 2/5 before stopping the clock in final time of 1:03 4/5 for the 5 1/2 furlongs. The filly defeated her stablemate by 1 1/4 lengths.

Be Gentle paid $5.60, $2.60, and $2.40, while Renaissance Lady returned $2.60 and $2.20. Sweet Jo Jo tired after pressing the early pace and finished third and paid $2.60.

"Once she got to the top of the stretch as easy as she did I was real comfortable that she would finish," said Lukas. "I started watching Renaissance Lady (2nd-place finisher, trained by Lukas). I didn't think that anyone would catch her (Be Gentle). She worked in :33, and :46 and galloped out in :58. I don't know if Scrimshaw and Proud Citizen can do that."

The victory was the second in as many starts for Be Gentle, a 2-year-old daughter of Tale of the Cat owned by Thomas F. Van Meter II. In her career debut, Be Gentle rolled to an 8 1/2-length victory in a hand ride by Velasquez at Churchill Downs on May 11.

(Chart, Equibase)

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