Lukas: 'I Think No Matter How Those Horses Run, They'll Be Bob's' - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report
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Lukas: ‘I Think No Matter How Those Horses Run, They’ll Be Bob’s’

Taiba defeats Messier to win the Santa Anita Derby

Trainer Bob Baffert has been excluded from this year's Triple Crown series by virtue of a 90-day suspension (stemming from the 2021 edition Kentucky Derby), but his longtime friend and fellow Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas believes that fact won't change horsemen's perceptions of Derby hopefuls Taiba and Messier. The two colts, whose careers began in the Baffert shed row, are now conditioned by Tim Yakteen, a former assistant of Baffert's.

“I think no matter how those horses run, they'll be Bob's,” Lukas told the Courier-Journal this week. “Now, the general public, a lot of them, won't know the difference. (But) All the horse people will know they are Bob's.”

The transfer from Baffert to Yakteen's stable occurred on March 24, days after a Kentucky court denied Baffert's bid for a stay of the 90-day suspension issued by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission.

(Read more about the transfer to Yakteen here.)

(Read more about the Baffert court case here.)

Lukas said Baffert plans follow the orders of his suspension and not be involved with the day-to-day training of the top 3-year-olds, who ran first and second in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby to earn their way into the Run for the Roses. However, Lukas does believe that Baffert gave Yakteen a blueprint on how to prepare horses for the Triple Crown series.

“I think he outlined it very carefully (to Yakteen),” Lukas told the Courier-Journal. “I think they had a crash course, for sure. So I think (Yakteen) will follow, I'll bet you, to the letter. He'd be crazy not to. You're talking about a guy who came in here every year with extreme power. I would guess that (Yakteen) is not going to make any decisions.”

Lukas also said he told Baffert it was unlikely the trainer would be able to overturn the penalties handed down by the KHRC, despite all of Baffert's legal maneuvers. When the Baffert-trained 2021 Kentucky Derby first-place finisher Medina Spirit tested positive for betamethasone, a controlled therapeutic medication, Lukas said he knew Baffert “would have a hell of a time overturning any of those judges.”

Read more at the Courier-Journal.

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