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Byrne leads new wave of trainers

Published Oct. 2, 2005

Outside the Hollywood Park race track, there is no hint on the marquee that a revolution is being plotted for Saturday when the 14th Breeders' Cup races are run.

There is no clue that the era of D. Wayne Lukas might be setting, with his 104 starters, 13 victories and $12.5-million won in the Breeders' Cup, and that a new generation of trainers might be rising. And if so, that nobody is likely to play the lead more than a 41-year-old, fifth-generation horseman from Britain named Patrick Byrne, who has never won nor even entered a race in the Breeders' Cup.

But inside the track, Byrne presides over the favorites in three of Saturday's seven races. All are sleek and handsome horses, and they are lined up in the first three stalls in the barn waiting for their cues: Favorite Trick, undefeated in seven starts and the favorite to win the $1-million Juvenile; Countess Diana, who has won four of five and is favored to win the $1-million Juvenile Fillies, and Richter Scale, who has won four of his six starts and probably will be the choice in the $1-million Sprint.

All this success has been bestowed on Byrne after two remarkable runs: Last spring at Churchill Downs, he saddled 14 winners and three runners-up in 17 races. And at Saratoga a couple of months later, he entered horses in five stakes for 2-year-olds and won them all.

Now, in the 19th year since he emigrated from England, in his 10th year as a licensed trainer and in his fifth year as an American citizen, he finds himself center stage in racing's greatest show.