03/26/2013 3:14PM

Oaklawn Park: Gary Stevens to ride Oxbow in Arkansas Derby

Coady Photography
Oxbow, on right with Mike Smith aboard, finishes second to stablemate Will Take Charge in the Rebel Stakes. Gary Stevens will ride Oxbow in his next start, the Arkansas Derby.

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – Jockey Gary Stevens, who has been aboard two of D. Wayne Lukas’s four Kentucky Derby winners, will be teaming with the Hall of Fame trainer in a major Kentucky Derby prep next month at Oaklawn Park. Lukas on Tuesday said that Stevens has the mount on Oxbow in the Grade 1, $1 million Arkansas Derby on April 13.

Oxbow will start as a leading contender following his runner-up finish in the local prep, the Grade 2, $600,000 Rebel on March 16. He was beaten just a head after breaking from the 10-hole under Mike Smith.

“Mike was filling in for Gary because he had a previous commitment [in Southern California],” Lukas said Tuesday. Winning Colors was the first Kentucky Derby winner Lukas and Stevens had together, back in 1988. They teamed to win the classic again in 1995, with Thunder Gulch. Stevens, who like Lukas is a member of the Racing Hall of Fame, came out of retirement about three months ago to resume riding.

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

Lukas trains Oxbow for Calumet Farm. The horse was a maiden special weight winner last fall at Churchill Downs, and in January won the Grade 3, $200,000 Lecomte at Fair Grounds. Oxbow is by Awesome Again and out of the unraced mare Tizamazing, who is a full sister to two-time Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Tiznow.

Will Take Charge, a stablemate of Oxbow who won the Rebel under regular rider Jon Court, remains possible for the Grade 1, $750,000 Blue Grass at Keeneland on April 13, Lukas said. The other option for the horse, who leads all 3-year-olds in points, remains training up to the Kentucky Derby.

“I’m just going to get into April and we’ll decide,” Lukas said. “I’m leaning towards training him to the Derby, but he’s getting so sharp I don’t know if I can hold him.”

Titletown Five, another quality 3-year-old for Lukas, on Tuesday galloped a mile and three-quarters at Oaklawn in preparation for the Grade 2, $1 million Louisiana Derby on Saturday.

Lukas said Channel Isle, who was seventh, beaten 4 1/2 lengths, in the Grade 3, $550,000 Spiral at Turfway last Saturday, could make his next start in the Grade 3, $100,000 Transylvania at Keeneland. He would be moving back to turf for the April 5 race.

Broken Spell made the trip to Turfway with Channel Isle – both race for Calumet Farm – and rallied from 10th to finish fourth in the Grade 3 Bourbonette Oaks.

“She ran pretty well,” Lukas said. “She’ll probably try the Ashland.”

The Grade 1, $500,000 Ashland is April 6 at Keeneland. Last year, Broken Spell was second in the track’s Grade 1 Alcibiades.

Derbyorbust More than 1 year ago
I don't know if Oxbow will win the Derby, I can say, I believe he has taken the worst of it in his last two starts. A good showing in Hot Springs should set him up to run a lifetime best. Good Luck Coach!
Dave Schuler More than 1 year ago
Kenny Hart Was Great-LOLK-DS
JHart More than 1 year ago
Thanks Dave...... I agree.
Forego137 More than 1 year ago
Right now Orb is the horse to watch for the Ky Derby, after this Sat Florida Derby there will be alot of people jumping on the Band Wagon
John Nicoletti More than 1 year ago
Me thinks,Lukas and Stevens, repeat again in the Derby. Oxbow's pedigree screams distance. The Derby route will be perfect for Oxbow and Stevens.
Geral John Pinault More than 1 year ago
It's all about the post positions as faf as Oxbow is concerned. If he draws inside he'll be very tough...
Sam More than 1 year ago
Not TOO inside, tho. Remember Looking At Lucky last year in the No. 1 hole?
Tom More than 1 year ago
Lukas is a snake, he will give Jon Court the boot after The Blue Grass. Win or loose with Will Take Charge, Lukas has no loyalty.
Jeff Byrd More than 1 year ago
They all try to get the best ride they can...owners, trainers and jocks. Lukas rode Court with Optimizer last year. I don't think you're giving a fair assessment of this matter at all.
Tom More than 1 year ago
Lukas left Court on Optimizer last year because he was a bum and nobody else wanted to ride him. At this stage in their careers I'd take Court every time over Stevens.
JHart More than 1 year ago
Tom you're an idiot. I've read your other comments about Stevens and you obviously have no clue. Like you said, you are old. Stevens is a great rider and always has been. Maybe he will retire again this year. Who knows? He's got nothing to prove. But he is named on live horses this weekend in $10 million and $5 million races. You must know a lot more than the connections of those horses huh? I'm sure with your extensive horsemanship background you could teach them fellas something. Wake up!!!
Susan Huart More than 1 year ago
Well said. ITA! Gary is awesome.
Kermit Pleasant More than 1 year ago
Bring back Pat Day!
Bill Jacobs More than 1 year ago
Amen to that. Just as he would say. What a little giant!
Home Vo More than 1 year ago
Was hoping Baffert would give Stevens another mount now that Tiz the Truth is off the Derby Trail. Baffert - Stevens was always a great combo.
Jim Pitura More than 1 year ago
Never hear humble and Lukas in the same sentence.Keep smiling DW you got a lot of exs to keep happy
Laura Pinelli More than 1 year ago
And your point is?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Thank you for shutting down the trolls of America.
JHart More than 1 year ago
Exactly Laura....... Glad you got on here. What the heck does Wayne's number of exes have to do with his Derby horses this year? Random cheap shots from self rightous haters gets old sometimes!
Laura Pinelli More than 1 year ago
Haven't received a response from him. Since he is so interested in marriages, I suspect he is currently in D.C. at the Supreme Court.
JHart More than 1 year ago
Haha....... Most likely.
Susan Huart More than 1 year ago
Union_Rags More than 1 year ago
Three things not to underestimate. OXBOW--WAYNE--GARY.
Billy Spathanas More than 1 year ago
Agreed !!!
Susan Huart More than 1 year ago
Absolutely. Gary gets better/back to great daily. What a pro!