Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas received stitches after one of his horses reared up and struck him on the top of his head at Belmont Park, where he will try for his fifth Belmont Stakes win with Optimizer.
Lukas, 76, was taken to Winthrop University Hospital in Mineola, New York, yesterday, after he was injured in the barn by 6-year-old Hamazing Destiny, said Ron Anderson, the agent for jockey Corey Nakatani, who will ride Optimizer in the third leg of the Triple Crown series June 9.
“I don’t need this on Belmont week, but I guess these things happen,” Lukas said in a statement issued by the New York Racing Association. “I will be fine. It’s just a matter of getting it cleaned up.”
Lukas said he intended to return today to the track in Elmont, New York.
“He’s conscious, he’s talking, but he will need stitches,” said Anderson, who accompanied the trainer to the hospital.
Lukas also has four Kentucky Derby and five Preakness Stakes wins. He was inducted into racing’s Hall of Fame in 1999.
Optimizer will run against I’ll Have Another, the 3-year- old colt trying to become the first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978.
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