D. Wayne Lukas was back in the winner's circle after a big race once again, but not for long. He had to make a phone call.
"It's more important than this," Lukas said.
The call would be to his son, Jeff, recovering at home in Glendora, Calif., from near fatal brain injuries inflicted last Dec. 15 when he was run over by the colt Tabasco Cat.
Unfortunately, he failed to get through - at least not at first.
"He wasn't home," Lukas said later in the stable area at Pimlico.lk
"I'll try again later."
Last year, Lukas fell from among the leading trainers in winnings for the first time in 11 years, finishing 10th in the country. He hadn't won a Grade I stakes since Oct. 18, 1991, when Twilight Agenda captured the Meadowlands Cup.
Lukas said the Grade I stakes drought never entered his mind.
"I don't think we have to apologize for our record," Lukas said. "We get up, we go to work. If the Grades I's come, fine, if they don't, we're not caught up in that."
Tabasco Cat finished sixth in a sloppy Kentucky Derby on May 7, coming off a second-place finish to Brocco in the Santa Anita Derby. His two starts before that were stakes victories in California.
Lukas has 16 Preakness starters in his career and three victories. He also won with Codex in his first try in 1980 and came back five years later to win with Tank's Prospect.
He'll remember this one for a long time, though. …