01/19/2013 8:04PM

Fair Grounds: Oxbow crushes competition in Lecomte

Email
Hodges Photography/Alexander Barkoff
Oxbow, ridden by Jon Court, begins to pull away coming into the stretch of the Lecomte Stakes. The final winning margin was 11 1/2 lengths.

Nine horses went into the gate for the Lecomte Stakes on Saturday at Fair Grounds, but there was only one worth talking about when the dust had cleared. Oxbow delivered a breakout performance, winning by 11 ½ lengths while – if he wasn’t camped there already – putting trainer Wayne Lukas on the Kentucky Derby trail.

Oxbow only had a maiden win atop his ledger coming into the Lecomte, but that victory, by nearly five-lengths in a seven-furlong Churchill race, was a major step up from Oxbow’s initial offerings: At Saratoga last summer, Oxbow couldn’t make the course and was taken off the track by a horse ambulance.

[ROAD TO THE KENTUCKY DERBY: Prep races, point standings, replays]

Returning to race with Lasix added in the fall, Oxbow ran decently at Keeneland and Churchill before his maiden win, and after it he did not embarrass himself in a trip to California for the Grade 1 CashCall Futurity in December. Oxbow pressed the pace from a wide draw in that synthetic-surface start, his first around two turns, before losing by nine lengths to Violence, whose stock went up by virtue of the Lecomte.

Oxbow, with Jon Court up for the first time since October, leaned in a little and brushed Fear the Kitten at the start of the Lecomte, but quickly straightened and went up to press early leader Heitai through a soft opening quarter-mile in 24.44 seconds. Court said Lukas had instructed him to try and make sure Oxbow relaxed, and indeed, Oxbow looked comfortable pulling Heitai through a half-mile in 48.58 seconds and three-quarters in 1:13.74.

The top two broke away from the main body of the field around the turn, and Heitai tried to make a race of the Lecomte in upper stretch, pulling nearly alongside Oxbow. But as Heitai fell completely apart in the final furlong, Oxbow gained momentum. Coming home without wandering or weaving, and finishing with good energy, Oxbow raced alone under the line, stopping the timer in 1:43.30, a strong clocking for one mile and 70 yards at Fair Grounds.

The winner, owned by Brad Kelley’s Bluegrass Hall, paid $11.20. Oxbow, a son of Awesome Again, is from the same family as dual Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Tiznow.  Lukas, who did not travel for the Lecomte, said Oxbow would definitely be considered for the Risen Star Stakes on Feb. 23 at Fair Grounds.

Golden Soul, a blowout route maiden winner in his most recent start, chugged along for a distant second, 1 ½ lengths in front of third-place Fear the Kitten. Race favorite Avie’s Quality never got involved and showed next to nothing in his dirt debut, finishing eighth of nine.

 

 

 

 

John Nicoletti More than 1 year ago
Louisville here comes Oxbow. The longer the better for this colt. Just love this horse.
Ceil Rock More than 1 year ago
Bred just like Paynter. By Awesome Again out of a full sister to Tiznow. What an amazing broodmare Cee's Song was.
Don Passidomo More than 1 year ago
Very impressive front running ala War Front win, no one could catch him this day, hope he can rate as he stretches out more and has more front speed sidekicks with him, very strong win at FG
Jordan More than 1 year ago
Oxbow took advantage of an easy lead and questionable competition, but it's still hard not to be impressed with this effort. And I thought he ran sneaky good when 4th in the CashCall Futurity. Distance shouldn't be an issue.
akhiym james More than 1 year ago
This horse is royaly bred and should improve with the added distance. Lukas is a good trainer just puts some horses in the wrong races but he's bringing this horse along the right way and hopefully he can improve and be considered a top derby contender.
Steven Simonovic More than 1 year ago
Anyone get his figure?
Alex Martinez More than 1 year ago
A dominating race and a horse with some serious distance pedigree to boot. Can you say DERBY CONTENDER??? :)
John Flynn More than 1 year ago
Lukas appears to be Back in a Big Way!!!
Steve Wise More than 1 year ago
The Teacher & The Student run 1,2...Cold Exacta