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Kentucky Derby workouts: Oxbow has strong five-furlong breeze
By Mike Welsch
LOUISVILLE, Ky. – After a hectic Sunday that featured workouts from five likely Kentucky Derby starters, including potential favorite Verrazano, things quieted down a bit Monday morning.
Only one horse presently committed to the race, Oxbow, turned in an official workout during the 15-minute session reserved for Derby and Kentucky Oaks starters, with two other potential starters, both from the barn of trainer Bob Baffert, Power Broker and Code West, also breezing.
Monday also featured the first local appearance by Vyjack, who suffered his lone defeat when finishing third behind Verrazano and Normandy Invasion in the Grade 1 Wood Memorial, and a very impressive “gallop” by Frac Daddy that didn’t fall too far shy of becoming a recorded work.
As was the case the previous morning, the skies were clear and the temperature hovered around a chilly 40 degrees when the racetrack opened at 5:45 a.m.
Monday at Churchill
42 degrees, sunny, fast
Oxbow (five furlongs in 1:00.95) breezed closer to six furlongs than five as he took a long run at the pole after being released from the pony by trainer D. Wayne Lukas. With jockey Gary Stevens aboard, Oxbow showed a high energy level right from the start, and Stevens did well to slow him down to a 24.42-second opening quarter and 36.36 three-furlong split.
Running with his head cocked inward, Oxbow fanned out about four paths wide entering the stretch, switched leads right on cue, and was straight as a string to the wire, completing his final quarter in 24.59 without any urging by Stevens.
Although in past years, Lukas’s Derby runners rarely did much during the gallop-out, Oxbow continued on strongly into and around the turn, getting six furlongs in 1:14.48 before pulling up seven-eighths in 1:28.67. It was a sharp move for a horse who may fly under the radar a bit and figures to show much more early speed after being hauled back early and turning in a disappointing effort in the Arkansas Derby.
Power Broker’s (six furlongs in 1:12.36) final time is a lot more impressive than the work itself. Going in company with Baffert’s Kentucky Oaks contender, Midnight Lucky, Power Broker broke off at the 5 1/2-furlong pole about three lengths in front of his partner and quickly increased that advantage to nearly five lengths after a 23.51 opening quarter and 35.21 three-eighths split.
But Midnight Lucky, with jockey Mike Smith aboard, used a quick burst of speed to draw even at the quarter pole and, despite coming wider into the stretch, was much the best down the lane. Midnight Lucky readily edged away from Power Broker, who was put to the whip six times from the head of the stretch to the wire in a futile attempt to keep pace.
He was under continued urging through the end of the work at the 7 1/2-furlong pole, finishing about a length behind, and during the gallop out, ultimately completing seven furlongs in 1:26.68.
With only 10 qualifying points, it is unlikely that Power Broker will make the Derby lineup.
Code West (five furlongs in 1:01.06) did not work as fast as Power Broker but was easily the more impressive of the pair. Breaking off at the 4 1/2-furlong pole two lengths in advance of the 4-year-old, Grade 1-placed Fed Biz, Code West was allowed to go an easy opening three-eighths in 37.76, then readily kept pace with his older and more accomplished mate, with neither under any pressure to complete a final quarter to the 7 1/2-furlong pole in 23.30.
The two continued on even terms around the bend, with Code West galloping out six furlongs in a sharp 1:13.80 before pulling up seven-eighths in 1:28.77.
Frac Daddy did not work but came close to it, turning in a high-energy “open gallop” during which he clicked off a steady series of sub-14-second one-furlong splits from the five-furlong pole back around, covering a mile in 1:48.70.
Although he appears to have a stride more befitting a horse who’d prefer turf or synthetic surfaces, Frac Daddy certainly has shown an affinity for the Churchill Downs strip and obviously came out of his second-place finish in the Arkansas Derby as good as, if not better than, he went in.
Vyjack went to the track shortly after it opened for training and did little more than jog a mile on the outside fence to get acquainted with the surroundings, although he seemed on his toes and wanting to do more.
Frac Daddy hits the board! He would be MAJOR upset to win the race, but I see him making the Trifecta and at least the the Super... Frac Daddy is on the improve and will be a stud late in the season.
Oxbow actually ran a good race in the Arkansas Derby. In person watching the race he was doomed at the start but he was finishing and Stevens knows the horse and the Derby. As D Wayne has always said they just get longer and with better early position he has the breeding to take the roses for the historic Calumet Farm. Overanalyze finished with gas in the tank. Orb will likely be overbet but Chug has not run a horse in the Derby since Easy Goer in 1988 I think. Old school owners and trainer have never won the Derby. I look for these 3 to be doing all the running the last 16th with Orb grinding them down. Best win bet is Oxbow but doubt you can go wrong boxing those 3 and look for Mylute to potentially post a big exacta by splitting them for 2nd.
Maybe I'm crazy, but I think Oxbow has a chance, he has two horrific trips followed up by a riding mistake in the Arkansas Derby.He reminds me a lot of Go for Gin, lot's of wide trips leading up to the Derby. In the Derby he finds a favorable pace scenario and brings home the roses. I'm not saying he will make the lead like Go For Gin, however, I do believe he will be tracking. I can't imagine the pace being hot this year, which I believe is a favorable situation for a stalker. The only question I have is he good enough? At 30 to 1, it's worth a few dollars to find out.
am I the only one who is having difficulty singling out one horse or even two horses in this years derby.usually by now I've got a general ideia.but this crew is slow and consistent..OXBOW has the look of a horse that can hit the board at a decent price but does he have the will to win and will stevens experience make a difference?.who knows.VERREZANO is a beast of a horse but as everybody has read by now his winning margins are getting tighter has the races get longer.one gets the feeling the opposition is catching up fast.Revolutionary has done just enough to win againsts suspect competition.ORB has beaten Itsmylucky and seems to have the right style and has a lot going for him but has not yet run a truly fast race.ITSMYLUCKYDAY has runs fast but then got beat by ORB in a slower race and with a name like that you know he will be overbet.and we haven't even gotten to the few dual qualifiers(dosage) in the field OVERANiLYZE,GOLDENCENTS and NORMANDY INVASION.last year I focused in on ILL HAVE ANOTHER (very early pool one of the future bets) and thought the only danger would be UNION RAGS I still believe if not for the awful trip rags would have hit the board.but this year I have been all over the place I even have futures bets with falling sky and oxbow..then jumped on goldencents and hear the ghost (still think he will Be factor when he recovers),and by pool 3 was favoring ORB.at least 4 will make it to the gate so hope springs eternal.in the next week I need to focus on one horse and stick with him.
The Derby is so wide open this year. I think Oxbow is definately a contender. His Ark Derby effort has been criticized by everyone. I've watched the replay several times and I honestly think it wasn't that bad. Gary had to fight him early to keep him off heels, he went extremely wide, and was still running on in the end. Is he my top choice? Probably not. But I wouldn't throw him out. Gary knows him now and with a good trip (which is an issue in the Derby) he should be right there. We know he's fit and can get the distance. Guess we'll see....
hey anonymous, dont bet your rent money
If it rains on Derby Day with a messy track, exspect the unexspected people $$
Oxbow, will win the Derby with Gary S........ Mark it down baby.....
The long range forecast of rain for the Derby is becoming more accurate as each day passes so you all better start thinking seriously about that in your handicapping. I'm not a fan of Oxbow at all but in the rain I see him on an uncontested lead with Stevens. This is an Awesome Again colt. On an off track I see a two horse race like last year. Oxbow nearly wires them but Overanalyze runs him down. Rain will take Orb, It"smyluckyday and Verrazano out of it altogether. Normandy Invasion won't have any kick at this distance.
Oxbow will be a rabbit for the derby...that's what Lucas wants, so his other horse can have a pace to run at...Will Take Charge might land in the super but he want win the roses
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