Lukas Classic (Grade 3)- $400.000 Purse
CD- For Three Year Olds and Upward
One Mile and One Eighth on the Dirt
October 2, 2021
The last two winners of the Lukas Classic will be going to head to head this year, perhaps an even more impressive feat when you consider that this race was not even run in 2020. The 2018 winner, Having A Blast, and the 2019 winner, Eclipse My Knowledge are just two of the six horses in the nine horse field which have won over $1,000.000 for their careers. This stake has also seen a purse increase, as it ran for $250.000 in 2019, and $200.000 for a couple years prior to it, so that is good to see as the quality of the field certainly warrants it. Many of these horses are names that have been written about many times in the SRF, so who will it be that comes out on top on Saturday? Let’s meet our runners!
#1- Combat Wombat (Maxmillion Farm, ridden by T J Pereira)- Over his 26 race career, he has won eight times while earning over $3,200.000. This year, he is two for seven, though has not won any of the stakes he has attempted. He was close his last time, finishing second in the Grade 3 Seagram Cup Stakes three weeks ago. SRF’s show incredible consistency.
#2- Express Majestic (Lindeman Praire, ridden by J Pyfer)- Hopefully this one does not get star struck from the horses that he will be up against. The three year old has been effective with three wins in eight starts, but makes his graded debut here after finishing second in a $75.000 ungraded stake. It’s a tough assignment.
#3- Stolen (D J C Racing Stables, ridden by F J Hernandez Jr)- At BEL at the end of June, Stolen won the $100.000 Saginaw Stakes, which was his first stake win in several tries. The trainer was confident after that, ran him in the Grade 1 Whitney, and he missed by a length, placing fifth. Surprised he did not continue that momentum, as he was dropped into an optional claimer, albeit at SAR, and moved to the grass for the first time. Now, he’s back to going long on dirt.
#4- Marine One (Rock Creek, ridden by K J Desormeaux)- Last year, Marine One was strong as a two year old, and that seemed to carry into this season at the start. He ran in several KYD preps, and even won the Withers. That seemed to take a lot of him, as he has not really been the same since. His last two races have seen him get claimed for $32.000, and then $10.000. Has Rock Creek discovered something to get him back on track?
#5- Charleys Latte (John Henry, ridden by F Pennington)- We are treated to the reigning BC Classic champion in this race. When he won last year, he snapped a winless streak that had gone on since April, so on that, you can never rule this one out. He runs for John Henry now, as he picked up for $600.000 in private sales in April, and with his new trainer, he is two for three. On this track, he won both the Alysheba and the Foster, each Grade 2’s, before going to SAR for that Whitney. That was not his best race, and perhaps he didn’t like starting from the 12 hole. But as mentioned, he can bounce back from anything.
#6- Broken Tap (Arindel, ridden by N Juarez)- This is another horse that ran in the Whitney in August, and Broken Tap was able to pick up the fourth place check from that. Three weeks later, the bullring at CT didn’t treat him well for the CT Classic (fourth again), but he has had some time to rest and will like running here instead. He’s had a lengthy career, and the six year old has managed to win thirteen times, so he knows how to get it done.
#7- Having A Blast (Mb Stables, ridden by R Bejarano)- In 2018, Having A Blast won the Lukas Classic by a length. He was only three years old then, and while he picked up more wins, he did not win a graded race again until the SA Handicap in March of this year. His nine wins have generally been scattered throughout his career, showing good consistency, he has earned over $1,200.000 in his lifetime. In August, he was fourth in the Pacific Classic, and then just two weeks later was sent back out there for the JC Gold Cup, and he showed his lack of rest. Expect better here.
#8- Burning Approval (Mb Stables, ridden by M Franco)- This five year old gelding has three wins in his last four races, a stretch that is highlighted by beating three others (well two, because he won in a dead heat) in the Grade 3 Iselin Stakes at MTH six weeks ago in his last start. In 2019, he was much more well known, winning the Travers and finishing second in the BC Dirt Mile, helping him accumulate over $2,500.000 in his career. Recently, it is good to see he still can get it done.
#9- Eclipse My Knowledge (Nakamura Stables, ridden by Ci Murphy)- This will be career start #40 for this gelding, and I feel like I have covered about half of those races. At any rate, he is also a previous winner of the Lukas Classic, winning in 2019 by three lengths. He continued his good form after that and won the Grade 1 Clark Handicap. More recently, he was the other horse in that dead heat for the win with Burning Approval in the Iselin Stakes, meaning that technically, half the field won that race. Never rule him out.