DEL MAR — Trainer Wayne Lukas' 50th birthday isn't until today, but he had enough reasons to get a jump on the celebrating Sunday at Del Mar.
First, Lukas saddled Louisiana Slew, a $2.9 million son of Seattle Slew, and he was an impressive winner by four lengths of the sixth race in his racing debut.
Then Lukas did what he's always done in the last four years, sending out the winner of the Del Mar Debutante. This time the 2-year-old filly was Arewehavingfunyet, who led all the way for a 2 3/4-length victory before 28,474 fans.
Arewehavingfunyet also provided the coast-to-coast Lukas stable with its 47th stakes win of the year, which breaks the record set by Jimmy Jones of Calumet Farm in 1952.
The only thing that went wrong for Lukas Sunday was Life at the Top being scratched from the Debutante because she was running a temperature. That was just as well, because the most she could have hoped for was second place, the way Arewehavingfunyet ran, covering the mile in 1:36.
Arewehavingfunyet, bred and owned by Spendthrift Farm, picked up $134,210 of the $216,710 purse and as the favorite paid $3.40, $2.40 and $2.10. Python's mutuels were $3.40 and $2.40 and she finished three-quarters of the length ahead of Wee Lavaliere, whose show price was $2.60. Arewehavingfunyet and Wee Lavaliere were supplemented to the race, costing their owners $10,000 apiece.
The Debutante was Arewehavingfunyet's fourth win, all in stakes, out of six starts. The daughter of Sham ran third in her maiden start in June at Hollywood Park and finished ninth and last against colts in the Hollywood Juvenile Championship in July, a result that can be discarded because she hit her head on the gate at the start.
Lukas, whose barn has earned more than $6 million in purses this year in a bid for a third straight national title, won his first Debutante with Terlingua in 1978. His four in a row in the stake started with Landaluce in '82, Althea in '83 and then last year he won a division of the stake with Fiesta Lady.
Bill Shoemaker rode Arewehavingfunyet in her first four races, but Pat Valenzuela took the mount for a 3 1/2-length victory in the Sorrento Stakes on Aug. 19, with Shoemaker just about recovered from a back injury.
Valenzuela was on Arewehavingfunyet's back again Sunday. His riding is better than his grammar. "This filly is some kind of good," Valenzuela said after the race. "She's going to win some more big races. She controlled the pace with her ears pricked, and at the three-eighths pole she shifted into another gear when those two horses (Wee Lavaliere and Python) came at her."
Lukas felt that his other filly, Life at the Top, would have been on the lead if she had been able to run.
"I was glad to break the record for stakes wins at home," Lukas said. "We've had monthly goals all year and have gone over them every month."
Lukas said he would consider supplementing Arewehavingfunyet, at a cost of $10,000, for another run at the colts in the Del Mar Futurity on Sept. 11.
"I think this filly has as much ability to get the route as Althea or Landaluce, but she doesn't have their charisma," Lukas said. "But with a name like hers, she's catching on."
Lukas doesn't have a starter in today's Del Mar Handicap, but at Belmont Park his son Jeff, who runs that division of the stable, will saddle Pancho Villa in the Jerome Handicap. Pancho Villa is one of those colts who's won on both coasts this year. Just like the father-son combination that trains him.
Horse Racing Notes