D. Wayne Lukas, the most successful and at times the most second-guessed trainer in horse racing, was inducted into the sport's Hall of Fame on Monday.
Lukas, who was elected by a landslide in his first year on the ballot, was inducted with a speech that ranged from gratitude to humility to unyielding affirmation for his strict style with horses that later broke down.
"I have been criticized by certain people in the industry who don't always agree with what we do," he said in the sales pavilion two blocks from Saratoga Race Course. "But it's my nature to push the envelope every time. If you want a coach who wants to walk the ball up the court, you better get another guy because we're going to run and press all the time."
He recalled that when his filly Winning Colors won the Kentucky Derby in 1988, he said: "My turn."
"Well, Aug. 9, 1999, it's my turn," he said. "What does it all mean? It means that whenever champions gather, when all champions from different sports gather, I'm just going to stand up and say, "I belong.' "
He was inducted along with jockey Russell Baze, who has won more than 6,000 races; and horses Gun Bow, who raced in the 1960s and twice outran the great Kelso; Exceller, who beat Seattle Slew and Affirmed in the Jockey Club Gold Cup in 1978; and Miesque, the European filly who won the Breeders' Cup Mile in 1987 and '88.
Lukas, 63, was joined on the stage by six trainers who started as his assistant. Todd Pletcher, Mark Hennig, Kiaran McLaughlin, Dallas Stewart, Randy Bradshaw and Jeff Lukas, his son, served as presenters.
"These young men were going to be outstanding horsemen even if they hadn't worked for Wayne Lukas," he said. "There was a trade-off here, and I got the best of it. Those records and numbers on this plaque would never have happened if it weren't for these guys."
The numbers include $200-million in purses, four Eclipse Awards, 12 victories in Triple Crown races and a career record of 3,750 winners, including this year's Derby and Preakness winner, Charismatic.
At the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame Handicap, Jerry Bailey rode Marquette, the 6-5 favorite, to a 1\-length victory over Phi Beta Doc. He ran 1[ miles on the turf in 1 minute, 49.2 seconds. DEL MAR: Jockey Eddie Delahoussaye will be sidelined the rest of the meet, which ends Sept. 8, after X-rays revealed a broken left shoulder.