Lukas Returns to Santa Anita

Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas has returned to Southern California, five months after dissolving his Santa Anita string and splitting it between New York, Kentucky and Chicago.

At the time he left, Lukas cited rising costs of operating a stable in California as the primary reason he was leaving.

The veteran conditioner has a string of 18 horses back in the Golden State with regular assistant Greg Falk, who set up shop in former barn 66 at Santa Anita. More horses are expected soon.

"More (horses) will trickle in over the next few weeks," Falk said. "It is good to be back. I don't know how long we'll stay, but it will be for awhile, I do know that much. Wayne will be (in California) the first or second week of October or so."

In April, Lukas packed up his entire California operation, which had been in existence since 1978 – the first year he switched from training Quarter Horses to Thoroughbreds – saying it was not profitable for him or his owners to run in California. Rising workers' compensation costs had reached an all-time high in the state and Lukas said he was paying as much as 40 percent of his payroll for 15 employees.

Lukas, who won training titles at Santa Anita in 1980, 1987 and 1990, won just five races during Santa Anita's season, which ended on April 20.