Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas is very excited to be sending out horses for owner Brad Kelley under his newly transferred banner of Calumet Farm.
Starting today, with Wine Glow in the seventh race at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Arkansas, Kelley’s horses will now be listed as racing for the legendary Lexington, Kentucky stud farm Calumet. Kelley, who previously raced as Bluegrass Hall, was part of an investment group that purchased Calumet in May, 2012 and Kelley leases the name and facility for his extensive breeding operation.
Through the middle of the 20th Century, Calumet Farm was synonymous with champions, from Citation through Alydar, many of which ran at Oaklawn Park. Of the 20 named barns at Oaklawn Park, four honor Calumet horses – Citation, Alydar, Davona Dale and Coaltown.
“There’s such a tradition associated with the name and it has had such an impact on the sport over the years,” Lukas said. “[Kelley’s] program is a top-to-bottom plan from the studs to the broodmares to the yearlings. We already have some great opportunities here under the roof, but based on the way he’s going about it, we should have every opportunity to take it to the next level and have some fun for the next couple years.”
Lukas played a role in the last bits of glory for Calumet, training Criminal Type to a Horse of the Year title in 1990 – the last champion to race in Calumet’s original “devil red and blue” silks. Through mismanagement and fraud, the Calumet Farm fell on hard times and lost its place among major operations. Those racing silks colors for Calumet Farm were purchased by the Brazilian racing group Stud TNT. Kelley will continue to be represented by his black silks with gold chevrons.
“We had some really good luck training for them there at the end,” said Lukas. “I helped them get breeder of the year and horse of the year the last time, so it has really come full circle for me personally. I’m really looking forward to the chance to develop the same thing for the new ownership.”
Recent stakes wins by Calumet runners Optimizer and Oxbow show Lukas is well on his way to making the most of that chance. Optimizer, who was second in the Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park last year, recently won a stakes on grass at the Fair Grounds. Oxbow, who trains in Hot Springs, is pointing toward the Risen Star Stakes in New Orleans after taking the LeComte Stakes there Jan. 19.
“Oxbow is just super right now,” said Lukas. “He’s really an amazing horse with the way he trains.”
The 2013 Kentucky Derby Tours is also very excited about Calumet Farm. On Thursday, May 2nd, participants in our Kentucky Derby Tours will visit the legendary Calumet Farm in person. While many have seen the miles of white fencing near Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, we will be going through their beautiful gate onto the Farm. See our itinerary at http://www.kentuckyderbytours.com/itinerary/ We can’t wait to go!