If racing fans think Wayne Lukas had Saturday's $264,850 Oak Leaf Stakes at Santa Anita surrounded with a three-horse entry, wait until they see the 2-year-old fillies spilling out of the trainer's barn for the Breeders' Cup next month at Hollywood Park.
Lukas may have five starters in the $1-million Juvenile Fillies Stakes Nov. 21, although one of them, Over All, inexplicably ran last Saturday as the heavy favorite in the Alcibiades at Keeneland.
But as is frequently the case with the coast-to-coast Lukas operation, disappointment goes away with the time zones.
So on the year's last day of Pacific Daylight Time, Over All's abysmal performance in Kentucky was mitigated when Lukas horses ran 1-2-4 in the Oak Leaf, with Dream Team beating her stablemate, Lost Kitty, by 1 3/4 lengths before a crowd of 27,647.
For most of the stretch run, it looked as though the Lukas entry would finish 1-2-3, but somehow Tomorrow's Child broke up the monopoly by taking third, 4 3/4 lengths behind Dream Team and three-fourths of a length ahead of Blue Jean Baby.
With Sheesham scratched from the Oak Leaf because of a fever and a high white-blood-cell count, show betting was withdrawn due to only four betting interests.
The payoffs on the 1-5 Lukas entry were $2.40 and $2.10, and Tomorrow's Child, even though she returned nothing for running third, was part of a $12.50 payoff as part of the $5 exacta with the entry.
Dream Team was timed in 1:44 2/5 for the 1 1/16 miles on a drying-out track that was labeled good.
After the race, Lukas said all three of his Oak Leaf fillies, plus Over All and the undefeated Classic Crown, were possibilities for the Breeders' Cup.
All but Classic Crown are owned by Gene Klein, who paid just over $2 million for the Oak Leaf trio as yearlings and then saw them win all but $37,000 of Saturday's purse.
Dream Team, a $500,000 yearling, is a Cox's Ridge-Likely Double filly who has won three straight races after running fifth in her career debut at Del Mar in early August. She won the Anoakia at Santa Anita, beating second-place Tomorrow's Child by 1 lengths, in her most recent race.
Starting with Landaluce in 1982--the undefeated filly died of a viral infection about a month later--Lukas has dominated the Oak Leaf, winning the stake five of six years. Dream Team joins a list that also includes Life's Magic, Arewehavingfunyet and Sacahuista.
Chris McCarron, who also rode Life's Magic and Sacahuista in their wins, was aboard Dream Team, with Laffit Pincay on Lost Kitty and Gary Stevens astride Blue Jean Baby. Lukas said he gave few pre-race instructions.
"I just told them to be aware of the pace and reminded them that this was a tiring race track," Lukas said. "I also told Laffit not to let his filly drop too far back early."
Braujoia, who was claimed from a Del Mar maiden race for $32,000 in August and was a $10,000 supplementary starter Saturday, held the lead for a half-mile.
Tomorrow's Child was running second, followed by the three Lukas fillies, with Dream Team in fifth, about four lengths behind the leader.
Blue Jean Baby took the lead with a quarter-mile to run, but Lost Kitty moved ahead of her in midstretch. On the inside, however, with the biggest finishing kick, was Dream Team.
"It actually went better than I thought," McCarron said. "She was laying up close and doing it easily. I elected to stay inside and just hoped that Gary (Stevens) could keep his filly going. Otherwise, I would have been in a bad spot."
Stevens thought he was on a winner in Blue Jean Baby. "Then those guys swallowed me up," the jockey said.
Lukas said Dream Team got a late start this year because she was a rangy filly who needed extra time.
By running second, Lost Kitty regained some respect that may have been lost when she ran second in the Canterbury Downs Debutante, only 10 days after she had beaten colts in the Del Mar Futurity.
Lukas believes that Blue Jean Baby, after two brilliant wins at Monmouth Park, a recovery from a cracked bone in her leg and now a ninth and a fourth in her last two races, will still be a factor in the Breeders' Cup.
"This filly's gotten some unjust criticism," Lukas said. "Don't forget that the Breeders' Cup is a one-turn mile, and that's another dimension."
Lukas had no report from his assistant trainer, Randy Bradshaw, about Over All's race at Keeneland.
"She's a solid commodity," Lukas said, "and assuming everything's all right, we're figuring on the Breeders' Cup."
Lukas won the Juvenile Fillies with Twilight Ridge at Aqueduct in 1985. He ran a mere three-horse entry that year, taking second with Family Style. This year, there'll hardly be room for anyone else.