On This Day...
Photo: The Blood-Horse Library
Thunder Gulch on the outside edging Suave Prospect in the Fountain of Youth.
Feb. 18, 1995
Thunder Gulch at Gulfstream Park

Trainer D. Wayne Lukas is well known for sending his runners across the country to run in certain stakes. This time, he decided to go along for the ride.

Lukas accompanied Michael Tabor's talented charge Thunder Gulch on the trip from California to Florida and made himself useful by keeping tabs on the talented Gulch colt from a hay bale.

"I was more uncomfortable than he was for five hours," Lukas said. "He was a picture."

Thunder Gulch created a strong image in the Feb. 18 Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. II) at Gulfstream Park. Making his first start since finishing second in the Hollywood Futurity (gr. I) in December, Thunder Gulch raced wide around the far turn, but got up to win the 1 1/16-mile stakes by a neck over 11 rivals.

Lukas, who also trains Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winter book favorite Timber Country, ran Thunder Gulch back in the Florida Derby (gr. I) in March and experienced another close win. In his final prep for the Run for the Roses, Thunder Gulch came up short in the Blue Grass Stakes (gr. II), finishing fourth, but went on to win big the first Saturday in May.

Thunder Gulch ran third in the Preakness (gr. I), won by Timber Country, then captured the Belmont Stakes (gr. I).

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