03/19/2013 3:45PM

Oaklawn Park: Oxbow firm for Arkansas Derby

Lynn Roberts/Hodges Photography
Oxbow, with Jon Court up, wins the Lecomte.

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - Oxbow will make his next start in the Grade 1, $1 million Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn on April 13, trainer D. Wayne Lukas said Tuesday. The horse had been possible for the race after finishing second in the Rebel. Before that start, Oxbow traveled twice to Fair Grounds from his Oaklawn base and ran a close fourth in the Grade 2 Risen Star and won the Grade 3 Lecomte.

"Oxbow is confirmed for the Arkansas Derby," said Lukas, who trains the horse for Calumet Farm. "We've settled on that."

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

Lukas said there were several reasons for the decision.

"He's shipped a couple of times. He's got a lot of seasoning. He doesn't need to find out if he can travel and run. We know he can," Lukas said. "And, he's a tough little rascal that needs probably another race just to keep him on the ground so he doesn't hit orbit. So, we'll keep him right here at home, walk out of his own stall, and we know he likes the racetrack."

Will Take Charge remains a strong possibility for the Grade 1, $750,000 Blue Grass at Keeneland on April 13, Lukas said. However, he said another option with the horse, who leads all 3-year-olds in points towards the Kentucky Derby with 60, is to train up to the May 4 classic at Churchill Downs.

"He's in a tremendous growth spurt right now," Lukas said of Will Take Charge. "Weekly, I think he grows an inch! He's like that kid that you wake up one day and all of the sudden he's six-foot-six. This horse is making such a growth spurt and he's maturing rapidly. I think he's headed in the right direction, big time."

Will Take Charge races for Willis D. Horton.