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Horse Racing

Lukas Tries to Keep Stronghold on Races

Hollywood Park: Trainer, who has won the Swaps and Juvenile two of the last three years, sends out contenders in Grand Slam and Yes It's True.

July 19, 1998|BOB MIESZERSKI | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Victories in the Swaps Stakes and the Hollywood Juvenile Championship, two of the five stakes being run today on Hollywood Park's penultimate program, would be nothing new for trainer Wayne Lukas.

Twice in the last three years Lukas has won the $500,000 Swaps--with Victory Speech in 1996 and Kentucky Derby and Belmont winner Thunder Gulch in 1995.

Lukas has also won the $100,000 Juvenile twice in the same period, winning with K.O. Punch in 1997 and Hennessy in 1995. Those wins gave the trainer six in the Juvenile, with the others being Terlingua (1978), Althea (1983), Saratoga Six (1984) and Deposit Ticket (1990).

On paper, it looks like adding to his victory total in the Juvenile will be easier than getting his fourth win in the Swaps.

Yes It's True, who has won three of his four starts in Kentucky, is the 9-5 favorite in the six-furlong Juvenile and Jerry Bailey will ride the son of Is It True, who upset Easy Goer in the 1988 Breeders' Cup Juvenile.

Yes It's True, who was an $800,000 purchase by Lukas for owner Satish Sanan's Padua Stables earlier this year, will race on Lasix for the first time today and he worked a solid five furlongs in 59 flat five days ago at Santa Anita.

"He acts like a horse much beyond his years," Lukas was recently quoted as saying. "He's a pro. When you've got a 2-year-old who doesn't make mistakes at this time of the year, it's a pretty good commodity."

Strangely, Bob Baffert, who has had a lot of success with 2-year-olds in recent years, has never won the Juvenile, but he will start Worldly Manner, the 3-1 second choice on Russ Hudak's morning line.

A son of Riverman, owner John and Betty Mabee's colt won by two lengths at first asking on June 14 and will be trying to give his trainer a sweep of Hollywood Park's main 2-year-old races. Baffert won the Landaluce with Hookedonthefeelin.

The Juvenile field also includes Buck Trout, Sea Twister, who is unbeaten in two starts for trainer Brian Mayberry, Waki American, Yosemite, Primary Action and O'Rey Fantasma.

In the Swaps, Lukas has the 5-2 second choice in Grand Slam, who will be making his first start in California since finishing last in the San Pedro Stakes at Santa Anita in March. Most recently, he was seventh after prompting the pace in the Belmont and has won only once in four starts since being injured in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile last fall.

Old Trieste, trying to follow up on his easy win in the Affirmed Handicap last month, is the 2-1 favorite in the Swaps.

Tenth after setting a fast pace in the Kentucky Derby, Old Trieste had no early pressure in the four-horse Affirmed and won for the third time in eight starts for owner Gary Biszantz's Cobra Farm Inc. and trainer Mike Puype.

The Baffert-trained Shot Of Gold will be going for his sixth win in his last seven starts in his graded stakes debut. Gary Stevens will ride for Baffert, who had briefly considered running Real Quiet in the Swaps before deciding to wait for the richer Haskell Invitational on Aug. 9 at Monmouth Park.

Also in the field are Old Topper, Lord Smith and Availability.

The other graded stakes on the card is the $350,000 Sunset Handicap at 1 1/2 miles on turf.

River Bay, who won the Hollywood Cup in his second start in the United States last Dec. 14, is the 7-5 favorite. He will be trying to give trainer Bobby Frankel his second win in the Sunset. He won with Roi Normand in 1988.

Frankel will also be represented by Star Performance. Completing the field are Devonwood, Big Sky Jim, Amerique and Lazy Lode.

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