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Travers showdown looms for Oxbow, Orb, Palace Malice
The three winners of this year’s Triple Crown races won’t meet again until the $1 million Travers at Saratoga on Aug. 24.
Preakness winner Oxbow, who arrived in Saratoga on Tuesday, will make his next start in the Grade 1, $1 million Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park on July 28, trainer D. Wayne Lukas confirmed Wednesday.
The Haskell is run one day after the Grade 2, $600,000 Jim Dandy Stakes at Saratoga, which is the next target for Belmont Stakes winner Palace Malice.
Meanwhile, Kentucky Derby winner Orb, who worked four furlongs in 50.20 seconds Wednesday morning at Fair Hill, according to trainer Shug McGaughey, will skip both those races and train up to the Travers, which this year could live up to its nickname, the Mid-Summer Derby.
If Orb, Oxbow, and Palace Malice all do make it to the race it will be the first time three separate winners of the Triple Crown races have met in the Travers since 1982 when Gato del Sol, Aloma’s Ruler, and Conquistador Cielo were upset by Runaway Groom. In 1991, Strike the Gold (Derby) and Hansel (Preakness and Belmont) each ran in the Travers, upset by the Lukas-trained Corporate Report.
Lukas said Wednesday morning the Grade 1 status and the $1 million purse of the Haskell influenced his decision to run Oxbow in that race as opposed to the Jim Dandy. As a winner of a Triple Crown race, both Lukas and the owner, Brad Kelley, each receive $25,000 simply for running in the Haskell.
“We think we got a good horse that could be 3-year-old champion and having a Grade 1 on his résumé would be advantageous,” Lukas said while driving from Louisville to Saratoga where he sent 30 horses on Tuesday. “We’ll meet those other contentious horses in the Travers anyhow.”
In the Haskell, Oxbow will face Wood Memorial winner Verrazano, Long Branch winner Micromanage, and the Grade 1 winner Power Broker, from the barn of Bob Baffert, who has won the last three runnings of the race.
Lukas said that he has been so impressed with Oxbow since his runner-up finish in the Belmont that “if the Swaps would have been half-a-million dollars like it was years ago I would have run him in the Swaps. I gave him that break for a couple of weeks and I agonized about working him every damn morning.”
Last Saturday, at Churchill, Oxbow worked five furlongs in 1:02, his first work since the Triple Crown series concluded. Lukas said Oxbow will likely work again Sunday or Monday at Saratoga.
Meanwhile, Orb on Wednesday had his second work since the Belmont when he breezed four furlongs in 50.20 seconds over the dirt surface at the Fair Hill Training Center, according to McGaughey.
“He went off a little slow, finished up good,” said McGaughey, who was on hand for the work.
Wednesday was the first time McGaughey had seen Orb in about two weeks and he was happy with what he saw.
“He’s holding his weight good, walking around today he had a bit of an attitude,” McGaughey said. “Everything went good.”
McGaughey plans to keep Orb at Fair Hill for a few more weeks.
“It’s not like I’m going to send him up there the week before the [Travers] but there are so many things here he can do that he can’t do at Saratoga,” McGaughey said.
McGaughey was referring to the hyperbaric chamber and cold, saltwater spa treatments.
Palace Malice has breezed three times since the Belmont Stakes, including a five-furlong move in 1:00.97 on Sunday.
I forgot to mention in my previous post that the photo of Oxbow which accompanies this article is an outstanding photo of him. Oxbow looks handsome & tough in the photo, with fierce determination blazing from his eyes. Impressive.
I'm thrilled all three will be racing in this race. I'm still of the opinion that Oxbow is the best, track-versatile, toughest, all-heart horse we have seen this year, followed closely by Palace Malice and Orb. Power Broker is fast on the improve, and I'm looking forward to seeing the scrappy Mylute again soon. Mylute is the best underrated horse out there - he's very talented and gutsy - and few people give him his proper due. Summer racing is going to be exciting this year, which is what everyone has been crying out for for years now. There should be much more celebrating that we still have the top horses of the year still in competition, not bad-mouthing them - MHO. The sport, not mention its fans, needs all of it's top 3 year old competitors still in training, still in the game. As I said before, I'm thrilled to have all three of the Triple Crown winners going head-to-head again. It's pretty awesome, and makes for a very wide open betting race. Good luck to all, and may all entrants come back happy, healthy, sound & ready to move forward to more competitive, entertaining G1 races this year.
It would great to see all 3 square off in the Travers but these days it seems injuries occur and that the rematch we all wait to see never happens.
Glad to see D Wayne opt for the Haskell with Oxbow. He never ducks a big race. Verrazano and Micromanage were monsters in their Haskell preps over the track; Baffert always has to be respected when it comes to the Haskell. With Oxbow now in the field we're insured a fantatstic betting race. Can't wait.
Verrazano reminds me of Holy Bull
Verrazano would dust these Rats in the Travers
All guess work.... If these same horses ran 5 times there would be 4 or 5 different winners. Not one stands above he rest. Haven't all the big 3yo races proven that in 2013? It's Power Brokers turn .
Verrazano will take them wire to wire in the Haskell! The track surface is conducive to his style of running and he has an easy win over the track...
So happy to hear all these horses are still in training & are scheduled to run later this summer. Our sport needs this. I hope for competitive races and there's still a lotta time to pick the winner? Best wishes to all 3 camps.
I like Black Onyx in the Travers.
- 1.Posted 04/12/2013 01:51PM
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