05/19/2013 11:50AM

Preakness Stakes: Oxbow delivers for new Calumet owner Kelley

Tom Keyser
Oxbow gave Calumet Farm a record eighth Preakness Stakes victory, and its first under the stewardship of Forbes 400 member Brad Kelley.

While the Triple Crown hopes of Kentucky Derby winner Orb, who represents decades of involvement in the racing industry for the Phipps and Janney families, were dashed in the Preakness Stakes, another historic name landed in the winner's circle Saturday at Pimlico Race Course.

Calumet Farm recorded a record eighth Preakness victory as owner - and first in the Brad Kelley era - as Oxbow capitalized on an uncontested lead to post the victory in the second leg of the Triple Crown. Kelley, a Forbes 400 member, assumed control of Calumet - the historic facility founded in 1924 by William Monroe Wright - last spring.

"To put Calumet, and we all know that name, back on the front pages is very special," said trainer D. Wayne Lukas.

Incidentally, Lukas trained Calumet's last champion, 1990 Horse of the Year Criminal Type. Shortly afterward, the historic farm collapsed into bankruptcy under president J.T. Lundy, who had married into the Wright family. Put on the auction block in order to pay creditors, Calumet was purchased for $17 million by Henryk de Kwiatkowski in 1992. The owner died in 2003, and a trust with his children as the beneficiaries managed the facility until last year.

In May 2012, a group called the Calumet Investment Trust purchased the farm for just over $35.9 million. Kelley leases the farm from the trust, and began racing and breeding under the Calumet Farm name in February.

Kelley, who made his fortune in the tobacco industry, began racing under the name of his Bluegrass Hall farm in 2009. In just a handful of years since, he has already found success in some of Thoroughbred racing's highest-profile events. The owner was on the Triple Crown trail last year with homebred Optimizer, the only member of his crop to compete in all three races in the series. The colt is now a multiple graded stakes winner. Kelley also owns Hightail, winner of the 2012 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Sprint.

About an hour before the Preakness was run, Kelley, Lukas, and jockey Gary Stevens teamed up to win the Grade 2 Dixie Stakes on the Pimlico turf with Skyring.

Kelley purchased Oxbow, who was bred in Kentucky by Colts Neck LLC, for $250,000 at the 2011 Keeneland September yearling sale. The Awesome Again colt has now won three of 11 career starts for earnings of $983,500. He won the Grade 3 LeComte Stakes and finished second in the Grade 2 Rebel Stakes to earn his way into the Triple Crown, but entered the Preakness off a sixth-place effort two weeks ago in the Kentucky Derby.

"It was a great race," Erin Kelley, who was on hand to represent her father, said on the NBC telecast after the Preakness. "He ran really well. I'm just excited to see what's next."

Calumet's other Preakness winners, all homebreds for the Wright family, were Whirlaway (1941), Pensive (1944), Faultless (1947), Citation (1948), Fabius (1956), Tim Tam (1958), and Forward Pass (1968). Both Whirlaway and Citation went on to win the Triple Crown.