D. Wayne Lukas dominates Kentucky Derby trail races

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D. Wayne Lukas

The path to the Kentucky Derby is in its early stages, but one trainer is already making quite a statement.

D. Wayne Lukas swept the three-day weekend’s two major stakes races included in the new Road to the Kentucky Derby point standings. Oxbow, a son of Awesome Again, dominated Saturday’s Lecomte Stakes at Fair Grounds, winning by more than 11 lengths.

On Monday, Lukas tallied another win with Will Take Charge, a son of Unbridled’s Song who won the Smarty Jones Stakes at Oaklawn Park. Will Take Charge is half-brother of Take Charge Indy, the 2012 Florida Derby winner who finished second to Shackleford in the Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs.

Both colts were piloted by jockey Jon Court.

Lukas lingered at the bottom of the Derby point standings with Oxbow at the start of the weekend. By Monday evening, the veteran trainer boasted two colts ranked in the top 10.

Lukas was in a jovial mood when he spoke with the media and Fair Grounds public relations about Oxbow after the Lecomte.

“You guys (the media) didn’t even know he was in the race, did you?” he quipped. “If you had to make a living handicapping you’d all starve to death.”

It marked the first stakes win for Oxbow, who is owned by Bluegrass Hall. He was fourth behind Violence, an undefeated colt trained by Todd Pletcher, in the CashCall Futurity at Betfair Hollywood Park in December.

“This horse has a beautiful stride and a high cruising speed,” Lukas said.

Will Take Charge turned the tables on Texas Bling, who beat him in the Remington Springboard Mile at 128-1. Another colt to watch out of the Smarty Jones is third-place finisher Always in a Tiz, a son of Tiznow trained by Dominick Schettino.