William D. Lucas, whose nearly 1,500 winners as a jockey include six on a single card, died April 30 at a Lexington hospital. He was 82.
Lucas estimated he rode about 1,500 winners, many for Central Kentucky trainer Herb K. Stevens, for whom he started riding in the early 1950s.
“He was a good rider,” Stevens said from his Versailles, Ky., home. “We were together about 15 years.”
When Lucas won six races from seven rides Aug. 10, 1962, at River Downs, three of the winners were trained by Stevens.
Born in Union County, Ky., Lucas grew up around horses. His father, who died when his son was 8, rode horses at the local fairs.
Lucas, who didn’t become interested in becoming a jockey until his early 20s, won several riding titles at River Downs in the late 1950s and early ’60s. He also rode in Kentucky and in Florida during the winter. His biggest win came in the 1963 Alcibiades Stakes at Keeneland on Secret Veil.
Like most jockeys, Lucas experienced his shares of memorable rides.
“I was making a move going down the backside when a rabbit suddenly popped up and was running with the horses for about 100 yards,” he said about a race at River Downs. “All of a sudden, he cut in front of my horse and frightened him. I’ll never forget the look on the trainer’s face when he asked me what happened, and I told him I was shut off by a rabbit.”
After retiring in 1966, Lucas started training. He conditioned two stakes winners.
Lucas’ survivors include a nephew.