01/29/2013 3:08PM

Oaklawn Park: Lukas to stage another raiding party at Fair Grounds

Lynn Roberts
Oxbow will ship to Fair Grounds for the Risen Star with an eye to the Louisiana Derby.

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas is planning another New Orleans invasion. He said at his Oaklawn Park base on Tuesday that Oxbow is among four horses he has pointing for each of the graded stakes to be run at Fair Grounds on Feb. 23.

“The races fit, and it’s a lot easier to take four down there than one,” said Lukas.

Lukas is 2 for 4 with his stakes starters this meet at Fair Grounds. Oxbow was an 11-length winner of the Grade 3, $200,000 Lecomte on Jan. 19, and last weekend Optimizer put up a career-high Beyer Speed Figure of 100 for winning the Grade 3, $125,000 Colonel E.R. Bradley.

Oxbow is now going back for the Grade 2, $400,000 Risen Star, said Lukas. The 1 1/16-mile race is worth 50 points to the winner on the new system governing Kentucky Derby eligibility. Oxbow sits third in the latest standings, with 11 points. Jon Court, who rode Oxbow in the Lecomte, has the mount in the Risen Star, which could serve as Oxbow’s springboard to the richest race at Fair Grounds, the Grade 2, $1 million Louisiana Derby on March 30.

“If he continues to have an affinity for that whole situation, he could end up going right back for the derby,” Lukas said of Oxbow.

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

Optimizer will run next in the Grade 3, $150,000 Fair Grounds Handicap, while Lukas said Skyring is scheduled to join his stablemates on the trip to New Orleans to run in the Grade 3, $150,000 Mineshaft Handicap. Lukas also plans to bring a 3-year-old filly for the Grade 3, $200,000 Rachel Alexandra. At this point, he said it could be Broken Spell, the runner-up in last year’s Grade 1 Alcibiades, or Neith, fourth-place finisher in the $60,000 Dixie Belle at Oaklawn.

Court will have the mount on Lukas’s other stakes starters Feb. 23. All of the horses on deck for the rich program are owned by the Bluegrass Hall operation of Brad Kelley.