Anyone that follows the blog or listens to the podcast knows how much I think of the Lukas/Stevens team. Oxbow had the worst of luck leading up to the Preakness, but EVERYTHING fell into place on Saturday. He finally drew the perfect post, and he got the perfect trip. As the half mile time went up all of his fans were thinking the same thing: “Is this really happening?” Credit Oxbow for being good enough to take advantage, but also credit Gary Stevens for stealing the race and truly giving him a “Hall of Fame Ride.” It’s on to Belmont now, as he’ll try to steal another one and win the back two legs of Triple Crown.
This had to be an incredibly vindicating race for trainer Ed Plesa. The horse was being dismissed as being a “Gulfstream specialist” and “peaking to early.” That certainly didn’t look to be the case in the Preakness, and now the horse looks like he could be a force again. The long-term goal is the Haskell, and judging by his workout he had there before the Preakness it looks like he might be tough in that race.
He just keeps getting better and better! The question of whether he can actually win one of these big races is still in question, but you have to love his consistency. The “can he win” question was being thrown around with Oxbow as well, so that’s a positive sign for Mylute. Considering the incredibly slow pace he was closing into, this was actually his best race ever in my opinion.
You have to feel sorry for the connections as well as all the Triple Crown starved fans. Bottom line was Orb just didn’t have his “A” game on Saturday. He was trapped for most of the race against on the inside which was not the place to be, and was empty when turning for home. Give him credit for not giving up and gutting out a fourth place finish. Hopefully he rebounds well and runs in the Belmont.
The book can probably be closed on this horse beating top-level competition at longer distances, but he could still be tough with a distance cut back. They probably over thought his running style here, as he should have tried to press the pace and take it to Oxbow early. The decision not to do that probably was the turning point in the race.
It was a very disappointing day for Departing and all of his new-found friends in Illinois. The pace did him no favors, plus he started to make his move on the inside part of the race track which was absolutely dead all weekend. Perhaps the class test was just a little steep, but I’m willing to bet he’ll bounce out of this effort just fine.
7th: Will Take Charge
If you know this horse like we do, what happened on Saturday was something that you feared could happen. The gigantic 17 hand horse just can’t seem to put back to back races together. He’s one you just have to learn to forgive so you shouldn’t give up on him. He’ll continue to develop and could have a nice summer.
8th: Govenor Charlie
We worried about the health of this one, and the lack of racing which both probably came back to bite him in this one. He could end up being a decent enough horse, but I would think they’ll ease off the gas a little and let him develop. Possible Iowa Derby candidate??
9th: Titletown Five
Hopefully now he’ll get a class drop and/or a cut back in distance. I’ll be stubborn and still say this horse has a bit of talent, but maybe he was rushed into things after his two-year old injury. Still not one I’m going to give up on, but he has a lot of proving to do now.