Whether it's gamesmanship or just speaking the truth, a legendary horse trainer is drawing attention for his thoughts on which jockey is most fit to ride favorite I'll Have Another during Saturday's Belmont Stakes.
Sporting a four-inch gash across his forehead, D. Wayne Lukas is calling out trainer Doug O'Neill for his decision to stick with 25-year-old Mario Guiterrez as the jockey for I'll Have Another, despite concerns he may not be experienced enough to ride a horse to victory on a track that's more than 1.5 miles long.
"More riders have lost the race than horses," Lukas told the media Wednesday. "It's a difficult race track to ride. Even if you ride it daily, there's something about it."
Lukas, who will run long-shot Optimizer in Saturday's race, is recovering from a kick to the head from one of his horses. The injury required stiches but only sidelined him from particpating in pre-race activites for a day, despite leaving an poorly timed unsightly facial wound.
At 4-5 odds, I'll Have Another is looking to become the first horse to win the Triple Crown in 34 years.
Lukas has trained four Belmont Stakes winning horses, the last being Commendable in 2000.
For more on the Belmont Stakes and the race for the Triple Crown, stay with this StoryStream and check out SB Nation's horse racing blog And Down The Stretch They Come. There, you'll also find A Beginner's Guide To Following Horse Racing and a glossary of horse racing terms.