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Submitted by John Conte on Saturday, July 6, 2013 at 12:00 AM

Oxbow has first work since the Belmont Stakes in slop at Churchill

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Oxbow had his first workout since finishing second in the June 8 Belmont Stakes when splashing through an easy five-furlong breeze in 1:02 early Saturday at Churchill Downs.

Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas said he is very happy with how Oxbow has trained in recent weeks.

“He’s had a lot of really good miles [galloping],” said Lukas. “This was just to see where we were with him, and I’ll tell you, he really has maintained his sharpness. He’s the kind of horse you need to do less with because of how much he wants to do it, as opposed to some horses that you’ve got to do more with to keep them fit and sharp.”

Lukas had said Friday he would wait to work Oxbow on Sunday or Monday if the track came up wet Saturday, but after checking out the weather forecast for the coming days, “I felt like I didn’t really have any options,” he said. “There’s supposed to be rain for like the next five days. So I went out and checked the track, and it had a nice, even seal on it with two or three inches of a good cushion. I just decided to go on and work him.”

Exercise rider Rudy Quevedo was aboard Oxbow, whose regular jockey is Gary Stevens.

Lukas said he remains undecided on whether the next start for Oxbow will come in the July 27 Jim Dandy at Saratoga or the July 28 Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park. “Either one will get us to the Travers,” which is set for Aug. 24 at Saratoga.

Oxbow, owned by the Calumet Farm of Brad Kelley, won the Preakness before finishing second behind Palace Malice in the Belmont. Lukas said the second half of the season portends good things for Oxbow “by virtue of how aggressive and tough he is. A lot of horses, the Triple Crown takes its toll on them, but I’ve got a very comfortable feeling that this horse is going to just keep getting better. I don’t really have to worry about surface or distance with him. He’s shown how game and versatile he is.”

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