Oxbow with Gary Stevens works at Churchill Downs.

Oxbow with Gary Stevens works at Churchill Downs.

Reed Palmer/Churchill Downs

Oxbow Heads Monday's Derby, Oaks Workers

Several potential Derby and Oaks starters worked at Churchill Downs April 22.

In search of his fifth Kentucky Derby (gr. I) victory, trainer D. Wayne Lukas sent out Oxbow  for a five-furlong breeze Monday, April 22 at Churchill Downs on a light day of preparation for potential Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands and Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) starters.

LeComte Stakes (gr. III) winner Oxbow completed the five furlongs in 1:01 under three-time Derby winner Gary Stevens, which ranked seventh of 43 horses to work that distance Monday on the main track at Churchill. The son of Awesome Again  has earned enough points to make the May 4 Kentucky Derby field.

Fractions for the work were :12, :24.20, :36.20 and :48.80 with a gallop out of 1:14.40 for six furlongs and 1:28.40 for seven.

"He's a happy horse," said Stevens, who teamed with Lukas to win the Kentucky Derby in 1988 with Winning Colors and in 1995 with Thunder Gulch. "Wayne wanted him to finish strong and he did it on his own. I didn't have to ask him."

"This horse is a good fit for Gary," Lukas said. "He has a high cruising speed and he will put himself in the race. I just wanted Gary to get acquainted with him some more. When I let him go, he got right into it, but that's OK because he is so aggressive. I like the way Gary got him to relax."

It was Oxbow's first work since finishing fifth in the Arkansas Derby (gr. I).

"These works are like a barometer as a gauge to see where we are at," Lukas said. "We have almost two weeks to tweak what we have to."

Also Monday morning, a pair of Bob Baffert trainees who are being considered for the Derby if they can make the field breezed. Gary and Mary West's Code West, who currently ranks 23rd on the points list used to determine the field that is capped at 20, breezed five furlongs in 1:01 1/5. That time by the Risen Star Stakes (gr. II) runner-up ranked ninth of 43 moves at the distance. The Wests' Frontrunner Stakes (gr. I) winner Power Broker, currently 26th on the points list, breezed six furlongs in 1:12 4/5, second-fastest of the three moves at the distance.

With Dana Barnes up, Code West, working in company with Fed Biz, a 4-year-old nominated to the $400,000 Churchill Downs Stakes (gr. II) May 4, posted fractions of :13.20, :25.20, and galloped out six furlongs in 1:13.40. The move was the ninth fastest of 43 at the distance. Barnes also was aboard Power Broker, who worked with Kentucky Oaks contender Midnight Lucky. Power Broker registered fractions of :23.60, :35.20, and galloped out seven furlongs in 1:26.20.

Karl Watson, Michael Pegram, and Paul Weitman's Sunland Park Oaks winner Midnight Lucky, a daughter of Midnight Lute  completed her six-furlong breeze in 1:12, fastest of three moves at the distance.

Also Monday at Churchill, Stuart Janney III and the Phipps Stable's Florida Derby (gr. I) winner Orb  arrived at Barn 43 at 7:30 a.m. Monday from his winter base at Payson Park in South Florida. Trained by Hall of Fame conditioner Shug McGaughey, Orb worked five furlongs April 21 at Payson in 1:02.10 before heading to Kentucky.

Wood Memorial Stakes (gr. I) winner Verrazano  and Louisiana Derby (gr. II) winner Revolutionary  both walked the shedrow of Todd Pletcher's barn following their Sunday breezes beneath the Twin Spires. Pletcher said both colts exited their workouts in good order. Coolmore Lexington Stakes (gr. III) winner Winning Cause (22nd on Derby points list) also walked the shedrow of Barn 34 for Pletcher. Plans have not been made for his next start.