05/19/2013 12:40PM

Preakness Stakes: Oxbow fulfills potential of stellar pedigree with win

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Awesome AgainAwesome Again, Courtesy Adena Springs

Oxbow’s 1 3/4-length win in the 138th Preakness Stakes on Saturday can be attributed to several factors, including Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas’ confidence and handling of his charge, and fellow Hall of Famer Gary Stevens’ masterful pace-controlling ride. Furthermore, his pedigree was one of the strongest among all classic contenders this year.

The colt put forth respectable efforts in all of his prep races following his blowout score in the Grade 3 LeComte Stakes in January, and circled back to top form at the most opportune of times at Pimlico Race Course - fulfilling the promise of his pedigree and becoming the first classic winner for a top contemporary sire.

Awesome Again, who at age 19 stands for $75,000 at Adena Springs in Paris, Ky., has built a reputation over the past decade as a stallion that “checks all of the boxes,” since he is a proven sire of racehorses of the highest caliber and has become a leading commercial sire to boot. Moreover, although he had not sired a classic winner before Saturday, there was no doubt whatsoever about his ability to sire runners that could handle two-turn distances. During his own racing career, the son of Deputy Minister excelled at 1 1/4 miles, winning the Queen’s Plate as a 3-year-old on what was then Woodbine’s dirt track and then closing out his career at age four with three consecutive graded stakes wins at the same distance, the last in the 1998 Breeders’ Cup Classic at Churchill Downs.

During his stud career, Awesome Again has passed on his stamina, siring this year’s sensational Santa Anita Handicap winner Game on Dude and last year’s Haskell Inviational winner and close Belmont Stakes runner-up Paynter, among other top route horses. His best son, 2004 Horse of the Year Ghostzapper, established the record time for the Breeders’ Cup Classic in 1:59.02. Ghostzapper, now standing alongside his sire at Adena, is one of four Breeders’ Cup winners sired by Awesome Again, along with champion Ginger Punch (Distaff), Round Pond (Distaff), and Wilko (Juvenile).

Oxbow, a $250,000 Keeneland September yearling in 2011, has just as much quality and distance appeal on his dam’s side. He is out of the unraced Cee’s Tizzy mare Tizamazing, who is a full sister to two-time Breeders’ Cup Classic winner and prominent WinStar Farm sire Tiznow, as well as Grade 2 winners Tizdubai and Budroyale. All three of Tizamazing’s foals to race are winners, including Oxbow’s full brother Awesome Patriot, who won the 2011 Alydar Stakes at Hollywood Park and finished third in the Grade 3 Hollywood Prevue Stakes. Another of Tizamazing’s full siblings, Tizso, is the dam of Paynter, as well as Grade 3 winner Tiz West and stakes winner Tizakitty.