Preakness winner Oxbow has been retired from racing and will enter stud at Taylor Made Stallions in 2014, it was announced Friday. Trained by D. Wayne Lukas for Brad Kelley's Calumet Farm, the Awesome Again colt bankrolled $1,243,500 from a 13-3-2-1 record.
"We are absolutely thrilled and very appreciative that Calumet Farm has made the decision to stand Oxbow at Taylor Made, along with their plans to support his stallion career," said Ben Taylor, vice president of Taylor Made Stallions.
"To us, Oxbow is the classic, two-turn dirt horse that both the breeders and yearling buyers look for. He was a major contender in every Triple Crown race and is one of the toughest horses I've seen in some time."
A $250,000 Keeneland September yearling purchase, Oxbow was produced by the unraced Tizamazing, a full sister to Hall of Famer and two-time Breeders' Cup Classic star Tiznow. He is also a close genetic relative of 2012 Haskell romper and current Classic contender Paynter, who is by Awesome Again and out of Tizso, another full sister to Tiznow.
"There's so much to like about Oxbow," Lukas said. "When we bought him as a yearling, he was so athletic that it looked like you could put a saddle on him and run him. He was one tough son of a gun and as durable as they make them. On top of his great pedigree, Oxbow has the most important trait a stallion needs, and that's his natural speed and ability to carry it over a distance of ground."
Oxbow raced five times as a juvenile. After breaking his maiden by 4 3/4 lengths in a seven-furlong dash at Churchill Downs in his fourth attempt, he stretched out to two turns for the CashCall Futurity, where he wound up fourth after a wide trip from post 11.
Drawn more favorably in his three-year-old debut in the January 19 Lecomte at Fair Grounds, Oxbow was a revelation. He led throughout and stormed 11 1/2 lengths clear to stamp himself as a top Kentucky Derby hopeful. Oxbow then suffered a few tough beats, beginning with a close fourth in the February 23 Risen Star. Next he was mugged on the wire by stablemate Will Take Charge in the March 16 Rebel, and he ended up fifth in the April 13 Arkansas Derby after racing uncharacteristically far back early.
Oxbow was more forwardly placed in the May 4 Kentucky Derby, but that worked against him as he was softened up by the brutal pace set by the blinkered Palace Malice. Although Oxbow made a good move on the far turn and boxed on gamely down the lane, his early exertions took a toll, and he did well to finish sixth.
The May 18 Preakness handed him an opportunity to rebound, and Oxbow seized it with alacrity. Under a well-judged ride by Hall of Fame comebacker Gary Stevens, he got away with steady fractions and kept on relentlessly for a 1 3/4-length decision.
"Oxbow is a special horse," Stevens said. "He has the speed of a sprinter, stamina of a classic winner, and the heart of a champion. And he's so intelligent."
Coming right back for the June 8 Belmont Stakes, Oxbow mixed it up through a demanding early pace, but persevered with his trademark grit to hold second to Palace Malice. Thus Oxbow rated as the best overall performer through the duration of the Triple Crown.
Oxbow next appeared in the July 28 Haskell Invitational at Monmouth, only to weaken abruptly and end up fourth. It was discovered that he had wrenched an ankle in what turned out to be his last start.
Oxbow's initial stud fee has been set at $20,000, stands and nurses.