Updated on 05/30/2013 2:26PM

Belmont Stakes: Golden Soul, Oxbow, Will Take Charge work at Churchill Downs

Churchill Downs/Reed Palmer Photography
Preakness winner Oxbow works six furlongs at Churchill Downs on Thursdasy in 1:14.18 for trainer D. Wayne Lukas.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Any hints of concern that something might be amiss with Golden Soul quickly evaporated in the Thursday morning heat when the Kentucky Derby runner-up worked a sharp five furlongs at Churchill Downs in preparing for the June 8 Belmont Stakes.

It was the first workout for Golden Soul since his surprise runner-up finish in the May 4 Derby. Dallas Stewart, who trains the colt for owner-breeder Charles Fipke, had been somewhat coy in recent days about when the colt would work, but Stewart was beaming with confidence after the drill.

“It was perfect, just perfect,” said Stewart. “Everything’s back on the beam with him now. He’s doing great. His appetite wasn’t quite where I wanted it to be for a while there, but hey, the Derby was hard on him, as big as he ran. That shouldn’t be a surprise to anybody.”

Golden Soul was timed by Mike Welsch of Daily Racing Form in 1:00.36, with a six-furlong gallop-out time completed in a purposeful 1:13.18. The track was rated fast on a warm, humid morning.

The Golden Soul breeze came about two hours before Oxbow, winner of the May 18 Preakness, got in his main work for the Belmont when going six furlongs in 1:14.18, according to Welsch, with a seven-furlong gallop-out in 1:29.34.

[BELMONT STAKES: Probable field and latest updates]

D. Wayne Lukas, the trainer of Oxbow, also had his other Belmont hopeful, Will Take Charge, out for work Thursday. One of the first horses on the track as dawn was breaking around 6 a.m. Eastern, Will Take Charge proceeded to breeze six furlongs in 1:15.67 and was out the next furlong in 1:30.80.

Jon Court, who has reclaimed the mount for the Belmont, was aboard Will Take Charge for the work. Court rode the colt to an eighth-place finish in the Derby, after which Mike Smith was seventh aboard him in the Preakness.

Lukas said the times turned in by both his Thursday workers were largely irrelevant and that both “showed the energy I wanted them to show. They’ve both been feeling great since getting back here from the Preakness and I really think it showed again this morning. I feel like we’re in real good shape toward this race.”

Lukas broke a tie with the legendary “Sunny Jim” Fitzsimmons as the all-time leading trainer in Triple Crown history when Oxbow became his 14th horse to win a race in the series. The Hall of Fame trainer happened to be operating on precious little sleep Thursday morning after being in Colorado the last couple of days to celebrate the Air Force graduation of his grandson, Brady Lukas.

“Our plane got diverted from Dallas and we wound up sitting on a runway for three hours,” he said. “We finally got back to Louisville at 3:30 in the morning, so I just came straight over here to work.”

Meanwhile, Stewart, the former longtime assistant to Lukas, hardly could say enough good things about Golden Soul, a chestnut colt who was 34-1 when rallying from 15th to finish second by 2 1/2 lengths to Orb in the May 4 Derby.

“He’s really come around in the last few days, I’m telling you,” said Stewart. “A lot of this game is about knowing your horse. I can just see where he’s back. He did everything right on cue in the work. He switched leads, extended real well, came bouncing home again, cooled out great, did some grazing for about an hour. I’m very happy.”

Stewart said he has Golden Soul booked on the Tex Sutton equine charter that will fly Tuesday from Louisville to New York. The Lukas horses will van the previous day, a trip that typically takes about 15 hours.

* Trainer Bob Baffert said he was “probably leaning not to run” Code West in the Belmont unless there were unforeseen, wholesale changes to the prospective field. Code West is at Churchill Downs, where he worked on Wednesday.

With Code West looking less likely to run, that means Rosie Napravnik is the leading contender to ride the filly Unlimited Budget should she run. Todd Pletcher, who trains Unlimited Budget, on Thursday said it was “very, very likely” Napravnik would have the mount. Unlimited Budget’s starting status will be determined after a workout on Sunday at Belmont Park, Pletcher said. Napravnik rode Unlimited Budget to victory in the Rachel Alexandra at Fair Grounds in February.

* Edgar Prado has pulled off two of the biggest Belmont Stakes upsets, winning aboard Sarava ($142.40) in 2002 and Birdstone ($74) in 2004, both spoiling Triple Crown bids. Prado will get a chance to pull another upset this year when he rides Giant Finish, a New York-bred son of Frost Giant who finished 10th in the Kentucky Derby.

* Trainer Tom Albertrani said Thursday that Freedom Child will not have another timed workout leading up to the Belmont.

Albertrani said that Freedom Child “did plenty the other day” in a five-furlong move on Monday timed that was timed by Daily Racing Form in 1:00.06. He will have a strong gallop Monday or Tuesday, Albertrani said.

“The last two days he’s been tearing the barn down,” Albertrani said. “He came out of the work pretty darn sharp.”

- additional reporting by David Grening and Jay Privman

Toni Arias More than 1 year ago
the bproblem.. americain.. eccessi... diverssi... disttanzzie.. is very very complicatto... very very difficult.. ok ?...................... "genetica.. la espectrofometria mosculare.. non sio puó fare con vitamine.. via orale.. in eccesso noné buono... 10/12 furlons... "my work svezzamento mosculare-osseo.. posso fare tutto ché vuopi.. peró senza eccessi.. iniettabile.. sempre lei vittamine "b".. salute................... mangime nuove formule.. deveno fare classifica de formule.. 6 furlons..,. 10 furlons.. la dietta noné ugüale.. ok ?
Toni Arias More than 1 year ago
******golden soul's is winner en belmont... my old line.. infalibile... albarado... va vincere... 12 furlons... oxbow... 2º... my scomesse........... "roberto"... bene preparato... soggeto imposibile de battire... silver hawk... soggetare un puo.."classicci.. little italy".. besrt of the best..... .
David LaKari More than 1 year ago
If anybody was taking notice of my Preakness picks I picked Oxbow but was dead wrong on Orb running 2nd thank goodness I had 50.00 on Oxbow because my two big exactas came up short. I played a a big ticket of 6/2,5 but came out a little ahead with my win bet. Will post my Belmont pick next Friday but at this time leaning towards Revoluntary
Mooch J More than 1 year ago
I can't wait for your picks
ck2 More than 1 year ago
Oxbow won because Dirty D Wayne had 1/3 of the field and played games. Had they not used Titletown Five and Will Take Charge to block in Orb, had Orb had challenged Oxbow with about 5/8 to go the race would have ended quite differently.
A Yahoo! User More than 1 year ago
agree with you!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
We read these stories of great horses past, great races past, great racetracks past, etc. too bad these types of stories will never happen again. Casino gambling killed horse racing. And the states who sell out to casino gambling just put one more dagger in the sport. It's a shame.
jay More than 1 year ago
None of the Belmont horses can hold a candle to Black Onyx. If he returns to racing, he will prove to be the best horse of this year's crop.
ck2 More than 1 year ago
Karlee Daniels More than 1 year ago
Does anyone have any insight on why Lukas vans his horses everywhere now? It seems like in his heyday he flew them everywhere. I think they even had a nickname for him, offtheplanedwayne. I would think vanning 15 hours in hot/humid conditions would not be ideal.
DRFMcGee More than 1 year ago
He's been doing it for years now. He just prefers it, is what he told me. Obviously it's far cheaper for the owners but I don't know if that's a consideration. Lukas himself also rides on the vans (and enjoys it, he says), so I believe those road hours might be somewhat therapeutic for him ...Bottom line, though, it there's Not really a huge difference between vanning and flying really ... and I'm almost wishing I didn't even write about it so that it didn't become such a topic of interest.. But thanks for commenting Karlee.
Karlee Daniels More than 1 year ago
Thanks for the answer. I asked myself the same question when he vanned his horses to Pimlico, I didn't know that was his preferred method now. I'm sure at his age the ride is harder on him than his horses. I am a huge Lukas fan, I know I am in the minority, but I have always thought he was the best at what he did. Who else in the history of this game has helped develop more talent than he he has? By talent I mean some of his former assistants, Pletcher, Maker, Stewart, McLaughlin, Hennig, Weaver, and his son. Im sure there are many other horsemen he has influenced. He must know something.
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
What you refer to as horseman...most horseman privately call wallstreet type CEO's. George Weaver, who I believe was a Pletcher assistant, is a horseman. The other Lukas protoge are not. They simply manage quality stock that any true horseman would developed into top older males and filly and mares. Albertrani, Mott,Clement, Motion, Matz, H.A. Jerkens, Shug, Penna, The Kelly Family, Turner, Attfield, Drysdale, Frank Alexander...these are horseman. They don't ruin quality young stock to get their names in the Form and on TV in big races. They DEVELOPE horses patiently and don't cripple thousands. These types I prefer are far superior and truth be told the progeny of thief racehorses last. Lukas, despite his success, and ALL like him give PETA and such organizations TOO much ammo in lobbying against us. In my 12 years as an assistant to 3 that I mentioned, one HOF current "boss" I have witnessed both systems...The one you applaud and the one I reccomend. The key word in horseman is horse...Lukas and friends don't get that!
Union_Rags More than 1 year ago
$32.80, better let Wayne do the training.
Perl More than 1 year ago
Wouldn't it be nice if he occasionally thought of the horse and sat out some of these dances? What other trainer would enter Will Take Charge after he didn't run a step in the Preakness? What other trainer would have run Optimizer in the Belmont last year? Does the name Luv Guv ring a bell? What about Deeds Not Words?
Perl More than 1 year ago
What a shocker that Lukas is deciding to enter his horses in the Belmont. Even if they were under urging to complete 6f in 1:20 it would still be a go.
James Babbitz More than 1 year ago
Remind me, what is your record for training triple crown winners?
Perl More than 1 year ago
I'm 0 fer 0. Lukas is 1 for his last 599. Plus he's ruined more good horses than me.
Melvin Krohn More than 1 year ago
As you may know, the good 3 Y.O.'s get better this time of year. Golden Soul is doing just that. Don't count him out of the Belmont as he will be a good price again. Orb may have liked the slop in the KD but had a bad ride in the Preakness. He also may bounce back in the Belmont. Revolutionary is another that cant be dismissed. Both GS and Rev are on 5 weeks rest from the derby so beware of the fresh horses.
AndrewD More than 1 year ago
Someone doesn't understand a pace meltdown.
A Yahoo! User More than 1 year ago
I think Orb will come back! :)
peter k More than 1 year ago
Golden Soul is flying and lukas horses are vanning 15 hours . No thanks on the lukas horses
Barbara Bowen More than 1 year ago
That old monicker D. Wayne Off the Plane certainly has gone by the wayside. I wonder what Lukas thought process is on that change of the past few years on his part...?
DRFMcGee More than 1 year ago
FWIW, Oxbow and WTC and other Lukas horses were vanned back and forth to Pimlico for the Preakness (12+ hours one-way by van). And so your point, Peter, would be ..... ???
peter k More than 1 year ago
It is good to see you follow follow up on comments of your articles An apt retort yet wouldn't flying be easier on the horse