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D. Wayne Lukas
Hall of Famer D. Wayne Lukas is a four-time Kentucky Derby winner, and 43rd Derby starter in 2009. A four-time Eclipse Award winner (1985-87 and 1994), Lukas is the all-time leading money winner and the first to reach the $200 million plateau. Lukas has trained a record of 24 Thoroughbred champions and three Eclipse Awards Horse of the Year winners. He's tied with Sunny Jim Fitzsimmons for the most Triple Crown race victories, 13. Beginning in 1994 Lukas won a record six consecutive Triple Crown races.
Corey finished second in Kentucky Derby 137 aboard Nehro in his fifteenth Derby appearance. He has ridden two Kentucky Oaks winners, Lilt Light and Pike Place Dancer. Corey was a champion wrestler in high school and had his first experience with horse racing when his father stopped at Santa Anita Park on their way home from a wrestling tournament. Intrigued by the sport he began working on the backside as a hot walker and later learned to ride. He went to jockey school and after graduating in 1988, went to ride in Mexico where he rode his first winner in a dead heat aboard Blue King.
Bluegrass Hall LLC is the racing arm of Brad Kelley’s equestrian operation. Kelley found great success in the tobacco industry before directing his focus on horse racing. He owns Hurricane Hall Farm in Kentucky which he uses as a breeding base. He has numerous horses including multiple graded winner and Kentucky Derby starter Optimizer.
Colonial Empress is a late entry into the Kentucky Oaks and joins And Why Not in blueblood status being by Empire Maker out of the Pleasant Colony mare Colonella.
Empire Maker had a bit of success during his racing career, capturing the 2003 runnings of the Florida Derby and Wood Memorial before denying Funny Cide a Triple Crown sweep when taking the Belmont Stakes.
Since retiring to the breeding shed, Empire Maker has seen five of his crops hit the track. He was purchased by Japanese interests and took up stud duties in the Far East last season, the same year his daughter Royal Delta put together an Eclipse Award-winning campaign that culminated in Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic glory.
Empire Maker is also responsible for siring the likes of Grade 1 scorers Pioneerof the Nile, Mushka, Acoma, Country Star and Icon Project. Fellow Kentucky Oaks contender Grace Hall’s victory in the Spinaway Stakes last year added yet another top-level winner to his stats. His son Bodemeister became one of the leading Kentucky Derby contenders when taking the Arkansas Derby recently.
Empire Maker has seen an average winning distance of 7.8 furlongs from his progeny, and some have even successfully reached 2 1/16 miles.
Colonial Empress gets plenty of speed and stamina from both sides of her family, as her dam is by Pleasant Colony out of Irish champion Minstrella.
Pleasant Colony, winner of the 1981 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, has sired such top runners as Breeders’ Cup Classic hero Pleasantly Perfect; multi-talented champion Pleasant Tap, who placed in both the Classic and Breeders’ Cup Sprint during his career; and Kentucky Oaks runner-ups Pleasant Stage and Hometown Queen.
Colonial Empress’ fifth dam is renowned champion and producer Gallorette. Her star-studded female family includes Horse of the Year Saint Liam, who is the sire of reigning Horse of the Year Havre de Grace, and farther back Triple Crown winner Omaha.
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