Lukas to Baffert: Thanks for the Jockey

D. Wayne Lukas said fellow trainer Bob Baffert lent him a hand for this year’s Preakness Stakes (gr. I) by supplying one of his entrants, Dublin  , with a top jockey in Garrett Gomez.

“He realizes I’m getting down in years, and he felt sorry for me,” Lukas said. “He said, ‘Do you want my rider? Just take him. If Gomez is going to help you out, just take him.’ ”

Gomez had been riding the Baffert-trained Lookin At Lucky  , but was replaced by Martin Garcia.

Lukas was in typical form during the May 13 Alibi Breakfast at Pimlico Race Course. The event is held each year two days before the Preakness Stakes (gr. I).

As for Dublin drawing post 12, Lukas said: “I didn’t like it. Bob kind of willed it to me.”

Lookin At Lucky started from the unpopular post position one in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) and immediately met with trouble. He checked in sixth behind the victorious Super Saver  .

“I’m glad I didn’t have to follow Wayne Lukas,” Baffert said later during the breakfast. “That’s tough.”

The two Hall of Fame trainers again complimented the Maryland Jockey Club for the manner in which it hosts the Preakness, in particular in regard to horsemen’s hospitality.

“Nobody treats us better than they do in Baltimore,” Lukas said.

“It’s good to be back here,” Baffert said. “Win, lose, or draw, we always have a good experience here. “At Churchill Downs (for the Derby), you have to fight for every little thing you want.”

This year’s honorary postmaster for the Preakness is former local jockey Bobby Lillis, who now heads the Maryland Horsemen’s Assistance Fund. Lillis, also not without a sense of humor—he led off by saying, “I’ll be short”—talked about Maryland racing and casino gambling.

“I’ve been campaigning for slots at the racetrack for years,” Lillis said. “If there are any politicians here, slots do need to go to Laurel Park. If there is a slots parlor at Laurel and a slots parlor downtown, racing is done.”

A mall-area site near Laurel was selected by the state for a slots license, but the issue is tied up in court. A November county referendum is pending a court challenge. Plans for a downtown casino in Baltimore haven’t progressed.

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