Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas will have Preakness winner
Oxbow on the Monmouth Park grounds late Friday afternoon as the classic winning
colt is set to go postward in Sunday’s Grade 1 $1 million William Hill Haskell
Invitational at Monmouth Park.
Lukas sent Oxbow out on the Oklahoma training track at Saratoga on
July 15 to work, but not for an official session recorded by the clockers.
Oxbow’s last official work was at Churchill Downs on July 6, when he breezed
five furlongs in 1:02 flat.
“He worked here and he’s doing very well,” Lukas said from
Saratoga. “He went five-eighths but I let him breeze through the stretch here
last Monday. I thought that ninety-seven degree heat might cook him. The thing
is, he puts so much into his works in the morning that I backed off. I didn’t
work him in the heat. I’m not going to. He’ll just gallop up to the race.”
The surface on the Oklahoma training track is considered not as hard
as the surface at Churchill Downs, where Oxbow had been based, but Lukas said
he handled it just fine and he thinks the colt will take to the Monmouth oval
Calumet Farm’s Oxbow contested all three legs of the Triple Crown,
winning the Preakness, finishing second in the Belmont, and sixth in the
Kentucky Derby after pressing a torrid pace on a sloppy track.
Lukas will van the son of Awesome Again from Saratoga on Friday
and said he is scheduled to arrive on the Monmouth backside late in the afternoon
at feeding time.
Gary Stevens, who picked up the mount for the Arkansas Derby (G1)
April 14 and was in the irons for all three of Oxbow’s Triple Crown efforts,
keeps the call and will jet in from Del Mar.
“We’re keeping him happy and we’re ready,” said Lukas, who won the
1995 Haskell with Serena’s Song, a member of Monmouth’s Hall of Champions and
the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame.
Sunday’s Haskell will go as race 13 on a 14-race program with an
estimated post time of 6:20 p.m. Gates will
open on Sunday at 10 a.m., with first post set for noon.