In July, 1977, Wayne Lukas walked into his first Keeneland yearling sale, and walked out with a single horse, a chestnut Secretariat filly out of a mare named Crimson Saint. A virtually unknown 42-year-old quarter horse trainer at the time, Lukas had just taken his first step toward a Hall of Fame thoroughbred career, and the filly soon to be named Terlingua would kickstart his success.
When Lukas returned to scout yearlings at Keeneland four years later, he was already among the top echelon of the sale’s most elite and successful buyers. With owner Bob French at his side, Lukas was immediately struck by a dark bay filly with the barest hint of white on her forehead and a whisk broom tail. “She really caught me,” he admitted later. “It’s a gut reaction that’s hard to explain.” He told French, “we’re going to buy this one.”
Later named Landaluce, the dark bay filly from Seattle Slew’s first crop would turn out to be the very first thoroughbred champion Lukas ever trained. There would be twenty-three more, including three runners who would become Horse of the Year. With four Eclipse Awards for Outstanding Trainer, Wayne would become one of the most decorated thoroughbred trainers of all time. In 1990, he became the first thoroughbred trainer to win over $100 million in purses. Nine years later, he broke the $200 million mark and was inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Today, at age 86, he is still training.