In detailing a career overflowing with record-setting, one quickly runs out of adjectives to describe D. Wayne Lukas’ achievements. Simply put, he is one of the most successful trainers in the history of thoroughbred racing. Lukas has conditioned more champions (24) than any other trainer in the modern era. Through August 2013 he is first in career earnings with $264,880,386 and has 4,680 victories (eighth all time). He is the Breeders’ Cup all-time leading trainer in purse money won ($20.3 million), starters (156) and victories (19) and has won a record 14 Triple Crown races.
In 1985, Lukas became the first trainer to win two Breeders’ Cup races in one day and in 1988 he broke his own record by winning three in one day (Gulch, Open Mind and Is It True). He surpassed Hall of Fame trainer "Sunny Jim" Fitzsimmons with his 14th classic victory when Oxbox won the 2013 Preakness. Lukas added Grade 1 victories in the Travers and Hopeful at Saratoga in 2013.
Beginning with Tabasco Cat’s victory in the 1994 Preakness, Lukas won a record six consecutive Triple Crown races. He has been the leading trainer in annual earnings 14 times (1983-92 and 1994-97) and the annual leader in victories four times (1987-90). He has won 16 training titles in New York and he has received the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Trainer four times (1985-87 and 1994).
His first career was as a teacher and high school basketball coach. Lukas chose those professions because his mother wanted him to make a contribution to society. During the summer breaks from teaching, Lukas began training horses in South Dakota. In 1972, he settled in California as a full-time trainer of quarter horses. In that career he trained 23 champions and he was elected to the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame in 2007.
The 24 Thoroughbred champions trained by Lukas include Althea, Azeri, Boston Harbor, Capote, Charismatic, Criminal Type, Family Style, Flanders, Folklore, Golden Attraction, Gulch, Lady’s Secret, Landaluce, Life’s Magic, North Sider, Open Mind, Orientate, Sacahuista, Serena's Song, Steinlen, Surfside, Thunder Gulch, Timber Country and Winning Colors.
Known as "The Coach," Lukas has groomed many top trainers, including Todd Pletcher, Kiaran McLaughlin, Randy Bradshaw, Mark Hennig George Weaver and Dallas Stewart.
D. Wayne Lukas was elected to the National Museum of Racing’s Hall of Fame in 1999.