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HOW INTRODUCED TO RACING:

"Even before I started coaching basketball, I worked the county fair circuit.  My mother wanted me to make a contribution to society, so I became a teacher, but from day one I knew what I wanted to do was train horses."

 

FIRST WINNER AS A TRAINER:

Harbor Hauler, 1st division of the 1974 Foothill Stakes at Pomona.

 

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Lukas grew up on a 10-acre farm a few miles outside of Antigo, Wisconsin, a dairy and farming town with a population of about 8,600.  His father Ted, was the son of Czechoslovakian immigrants and made his living driving a milk truck and construction equipment.  The second of three children, Lukas got his start in racing at the Antigo County Fairgrounds, where he raced his pony.  A physical education major at the University of Wisconsin, he earned his Masters in Education, and with it, the job as assistant basketball coach at Wisconsin University.  From there, he took a job as head basketball coach at a high school.  During the summers, he began racing horses at Park Jefferson Race Track in South Dakota.  Lukas settled in California in 1972, and established himself as the top trainer in Quarter Horse racing.  His horses dominated the sport, earning an average of $1 million a year until he turned to Thoroughbreds on a full-time basis in 1978.  He has been sending a division of horses to New York since 1984.

Lukas and his family lived through tragedy in 1993 and 1994 when his son and first assistant, Jeff, was knocked down by a loose horse, Tabasco Cat.  He has since recovered.