Lukas 'Couldn't be Happier' with Azeri's Progress

(from Santa Anita notes)
D. Wayne Lukas said Sunday that he has been delighted with Azeri since the Hall of Fame trainer received the champion Dec. 28. Sunday, the 2002 Horse of the Year worked four furlongs in :48 3/5 at Santa Anita.

Azeri had her first official workout for Lukas a week ago, breezing three furlongs in :35 1/5 at Santa Anita. Sunday, she worked four furlongs in :48 3/5.

"She's doing very good," Lukas said of the 5-year-old daughter of Jade Hunter. "I'm very pleased with her. She's absolutely training with a lot of enthusiasm. Right now she's extremely focused and has a great attitude.

"I know there was talk last fall that she didn't want to start off, but I haven't seen any of that with her. She's just doing super. She's been willing, she gets into her gallop, has a lot of enthusiasm, and she's traveling well. I couldn't be happier."

"She went fine, just breezing out there and was well within herself," Lukas said. "Obviously she's not going to make any races in February or March, but we're looking at a target date for her return of around April 1."

Azeri was the 2002 Horse of the Year and the 2003 Older Filly or Mare Eclipse Award winner.

A winner of 14 of 16 races for former trainer Laura de Seroux, Azeri has not raced since being moved from third to second via disqualification in the Lady's Secret Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II) at Oak Tree on Sept. 28.

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