The man who practically owns the Breeders' Cup is noticeably absent this week from Hollywood Park.
D. Wayne Lukas has more Breeders' Cup victories (13) and money won (nearly $12.4-million) than any other trainer since the event began in 1984.
But he's keeping mostly to himself, 35 miles across town at Santa Anita, preparing eight entries for Saturday's card.
"It gives us some peace and quiet," he said.
Lukas' absence has turned Patrick Byrne into the hottest commodity at Hollywood Park since, well, Lukas.
The Englishman, in his first Breeders' Cup, has the morning-line favorites in three races _ Countess Diana in the Juvenile Fillies, Richter Scale in the Sprint and undefeated Favorite Trick in the Juvenile. Byrne is trying to match Lukas' feat of three Breeders' Cup victories on the same day.
"Here comes a guy who's won two Grade I races this year. Two. It's like my God, what is happening here?" Lukas said. "I laugh at those things."
Lukas' best chance to win is 2-year-old Grand Slam in the Juvenile, a race Lukas has won five times. His other entries in the mile-and-a-sixteenth race are Double Honor and Time Limit.
"I think I know what it takes to get there. I think I know how much horse you've got to have, so when you find that horse you really don't give a damn what the other recruits are," he said.
Of the Juvenile's three marquee horses, Grand Slam owns the strongest credentials. He has two Grade I stakes victories; Favorite Trick has just one Grade I win, the 7-furlong Hopeful Stakes; and Bob Baffert-trained Souvenir Copy has never run in a Grade I stake.
Grand Slam, second choice in the morning line at 5-2, drew the No. 8 post Wednesday. Favorite Trick, at 7-5, will break from No. 3, with Souvenir Copy in No. 2.
"The fact that they're billing the race with all the pizzazz is great because this thing will be decided on the racetrack," Lukas said.