Kentucky Derby 2013 contenders: Oxbow
By Matt Gardner on May 3 2013,
Hall of Famers Gary Stevens and D. Wayne Lukas look to rekindle some Derby magic with Oxbow.
Damsire: Cee’s Tizzy
Trainer: D. Wayne Lukas
Jockey: Gary Stevens
Owner: Calumet Farm
Notable Races: 5th, G1-Arkansas Derby; 2nd, G2-Rebel Stakes; 4th, G2-Risen Star; 1st, G3-Lecomte; 4th, G1-CashCall Futurity
Positives: Prior to his run in the Arkansas Derby, Oxbow was having himself quite a winter/spring. He blew away the field G3-Lecomte (although that race came up pretty soft, in retrospect), he was a good fourth in the Risen Star (a race that came back fairly strong), and he missed winning the Rebel by just a head. When this colt can get to the front and contest for the pace, he typically runs a pretty good race. However…
Negatives: Oxbow drew about as bad of a post position as possible. I suppose the rail is worse, but the 2-hole isn’t going to do this colt any favors.
Oxbow typically displays a good amount of early speed in his race, in fact he won the Lecomte Stakes in gate-to-wire fashion. In the Arkansas Derby, he didn’t break particularly well and he ended up five to six lengths behind the leaders heading into the first turn. From there, it was a disaster of a trip around the Oaklawn course resulting in a lackluster fifth place finish.
Based on what we saw from this colt in Arkansas, they won’t try and rate this colt in the Derby. Jockey Gary Stevens will likely ask Oxbow for a lot of run leaving the starting gate in order to avoid getting trapped or pinned inside the other speed horses in the field. The problem is how much energy Oxbow has to expend in order to gain a favorable position at the start of the race. Gunning this colt to the front might get him to the lead but it also might sap him of valuable energy he’ll need in the long Churchill Downs stretch drive.And if he doesn’t get the lead, he’ll have the other speed horses descending upon him as they enter the first turn.