Lukas says he should have changed riders before '99 Belmont
By Richard Rosenblatt
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - If D. Wayne Lukas had a chance to do it over, he would have replaced jockey Chris Antley before sending him out to ride 1999 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Charismatic in the Belmont Stakes.
"I thought he lost a little focus after the Preakness in that three-week span," Lukas said Tuesday. "I think when you are going for a Triple Crown -- you have it in front of you and you've got that much money at stake -- I'd have felt a lot better if he would have slept with the horse. I couldn't find him sometimes.
"If I had to do it again, I'd probably change riders."
Antley rode Charismatic to victory in the Derby and Preakness. In the colt's bid to become racing's 12th Triple Crown winner, Charismatic broke a bone in his leg in the stretch but still finished third. After crossing the finish line, Antley leaped off the injured Charismatic and held the colt's leg until veterinarians arrived.
Last Dec. 3, Antley, who struggled with alcohol and drugs during his career, was found dead at his California home. A coroner ruled the cause of death was a drug overdose.
Lukas, who does not have a horse in Saturday's Derby after 20 consecutive years of saddling at least one, made his remarks while discussing Triple Crown attempts.
"That's a tough call when you've just won two legs of it and you're going for $5 million and the jockey about half-a-million," Lukas said. "But in hindsight I don't think it unfolded the way it should have for us. And we hadthe injury on top of it, so that's just one of those things."