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Oxbow Still Has Lukas Smiling

Wayne Lukas and Oxbow.
Photo: Jim McCue, Maryland Jockey Club
Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas was still in high spirits at his barn at Churchill Downs on Thursday, five days after Oxbow’s 1 ¾-length victory in the Preakness (Grade I) at odds of more than 15-1.
“It’s always fun to win one of those and it’s what we all get up for and try to achieve,” said Lukas, who will turn 78 on Sept. 2. “It validated my belief in the horse, too. I always thought he had an unfortunate spring with the way he kept drawing and getting parked outside. To see it all come full cycle, especially with Gary (Stevens) in the irons, it was really gratifying.”
Oxbow’s victory in the Preakness was the record 14th Triple Crown win for Lukas, who was previously tied with “Sunny” Jim Fitzsimmons. Lukas scored his 13th Triple Crown win in the 2000 Belmont (GI) with Commendable, who won at odds of nearly 19-1.
“I never dwelt on the record too much,” Lukas said. “I think the most significant thing for me was to be in the same company with Sunny Fitzsimmons. I found it interesting that he won his last (Triple Crown race) at 82. He meant so much to the industry, so to be with him all those years was enough for me.
“I think I enjoyed it every bit as much as my first and maybe more,” Lukas said. “It stirred up a lot of old relationships and friendships. I got hundreds of voicemails and texts. It’s special to have so many people come forward. There were a lot of people pulling for us.”
Oxbow gave Stevens his ninth Triple Crown win and it was the record 18th for Calumet Farm, now in the hands of Brad Kelley. Calumet’s last Triple Crown win prior to Oxbow came in the 1968 Preakness with Forward Pass.
“Our goal is to put Calumet back as a farm of prominence where it once was,” Lukas said.
Lukas also saddled Will Take Charge and Titletown Five for last Saturday’s Preakness. Will Take Charge, who finished seventh, will join stablemate Oxbow in the Belmont (GI) starting gate on June 8. No plans have been made for Titletown Five, but Lukas said he will not run in the 1 ½-mile Belmont.


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