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BREEDERS' CUP ROUNDUP : Youth Is Served as Lukas Sweeps Juvenile Races

November 06, 1994|BILL CHRISTINE | TIMES STAFF WRITER

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Trainer Wayne Lukas, who hadn't won a Breeders' Cup race since 1989, bagged two of them at Churchill Downs Saturday and came within a neck of equaling the three-victory day that he had here in 1988.

Lukas saddled 2-year-olds Timber Country and Flanders to win their races, but his Tabasco Cat failed to win the Breeders' Cup Classic when Concern outfinished the colt in the final yards.

"I wish we would have had one more jump (with Tabasco Cat)," Lukas said. "It was a great day, but you always like to win one more and it just wasn't in the cards."

Lukas emerged with the early favorite for the 1994 Kentucky Derby in Timber Country, who has won stakes at Del Mar, Belmont Park and now the Derby track while winning four of his last five starts. The only blot on his record during that stretch was a third-place finish in the Del Mar Futurity, and on Saturday he beat On Target and Supremo, the horses who finished ahead of him at Del Mar.

"We've had several hundred horses together, and Wayne's never been higher than he is on this horse," said William T. Young, the Lexington, Ky., horseman who owns Timber Country in a partnership with Graham Beck, another Kentuckian, and Bob and Beverly Lewis of Newport Beach. Timber Country, the son of Woodman and an 18-year-old mare, Fall Aspen, who has produced three other major stakes winners, was bought at a yearling auction for $500,000.

Timber Country, paying $6.80, finished two lengths ahead of Eltish, the English colt who had never run on dirt. Tejano Run rallied from last place to finish third, another three lengths back. Timber Country's time was 1:44 2/5 for 1 1/16 miles.

Timber Country moved up from seventh place after a half-mile, and his jockey, Pat Day, was able to find room along the rail through the stretch.

"I slapped him once, but he really didn't even need that," Day said. "He was probably saying, 'What's he doing that to me for?"'

In other Breeders' Cup races:

--One Dreamer, at 47-1, prevailed over a classy Distaff field by getting an early lead and holding off the 2-1 Heavenly Prize by a neck. Miss Dominique ran third, while Hollywood Wildcat, the winner of last year's race, struggled with the track and finished sixth. Sky Beauty, undefeated this year, ran last.

One Dreamer, a 6-year-old mare bred and raced by Leonard Lavin and trained by Tom Proctor, almost died when she underwent surgery for a cyst on her stomach four years ago.

Trainer Allen Jerkens had no explanation for Sky Beauty's performance or Devil His Due's 11th-place finish in the Classic. "There's just no way I should ever come to this place," Jerkens said. "I never do any good."

--Barathea gave the English a victory in the Mile, finishing a head in front of Johann Quatz. As the 9-10 favorite, Lure ran ninth in his bid for a third consecutive victory in the race. Barathea broke the track record with a time of 1:34 2/5.

Luca Cumani, Barathea's trainer, got blueprints from Churchill Downs a couple of months ago and simulated the track's first turn at the Newmarket, England, track so the 4-year-old colt could familiarize himself. Barathea bore out badly on the first turn a year ago at Santa Anita, costing himself and several other horses all chance.

"I had a lovely trip around," jockey Frankie Dettori said of Barathea's race Saturday. Dettori is England's leading jockey this year, becoming only the third rider there to win more than 200 races in a season.

Mike Smith had problems from the start with Lure, who drew the outside post position in a 14-horse field.

"He just kind of went through the motions today," Smith said. "I think somebody (stepped on his heels) on the backside, because he went down behind. He came back after that, but he just didn't have it."

--Tikkanen, though he is a Pennsylvania-bred and owned by American George Strawbridge Jr., had raced mostly in France before his 1 1/2-length victory over another French horse, Hatoof, in the Turf.

Ridden by Smith, Tikkanen had won the Turf Classic at Belmont Park in his previous race. The 3-year-old colt, who is named after Esa Tikkanen, the St. Louis Blues' hockey player, ran 1 1/2 miles in 2:26 2/5, breaking the track record.

--Cherokee Run, ridden by Smith, beat the filly Soviet Problem by a head in the Sprint, with Cardmania, last year's winner, finishing third, another 1 1/2 lengths back.

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