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Kentucky Derby and Horse Racing at The Downey Profile®

Lukas Pleased With Rebel Pair; Asmussen Points Carve


D. Wayne Lukas declared himself “very pleased” the day after two of his leading 3-year-olds posted workouts Tuesday for the Grade II Rebel Stakes.

Will Take Charge, winner of the Smarty Jones Stakes at the track in January, breezed six furlongs in 1:13.60. A short time later, Oxbow breezed the same distance in 1:13.80 in his first workout since the Grade III Lecomte Stakes winner finished a close fourth in the Grade II Risen Star Stakes on Feb. 23.

“They were excellent,” said Lukas. “They both had nice breezes. They got a little conditioning and handled the new surface. I really like the way they went. We sent them out separately, yet they both came back with works that were almost identical, and I like that.”

Lukas said that Titletown Five, runner-up in Saturday’s Gazebo Stakes in his first start as a 3-year-old, emerged from the race in good order.

“He fooled me into thinking I had him fit enough,” said Lukas. “The good ones will do that because they make things look so easy. It was a good race for him, and we should have plenty now to move forward with him.”

Lukas secured Mike Smith to handle Oxbow. Jon Court, who's been riding both colts, remains aboard Will Take Charge.

Carve Pointed to Rebel

With $600,000 and 85 points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby at stake, a large field is coming together for the Rebel, and that has the connections of undefeated Carve anxious about getting a spot if the 14-horse starting gate fills to capacity.

The 3-year-old gelding is a winner of both his starts at Oaklawn. He started his career for trainer Al Stall and owners Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider, making his debut in a maiden claiming race -- but that's when trainer Steve Asmussen put down a check for $30,000 for owner Michael Langford. The first race for his new team was a gutty score over well-regarded Title Contender in an allowance race Feb. 17.

Oaklawn officials and published reports indicate 15 horses are considering running in the 1 1/16th-mile contest on March 16. If all 15 enter, one would have to be placed on an “also eligible” list. Total career earnings, excluding earnings from restricted races, are used to rank the entrants. Carve has $47,400 from his two wins.

“We are going to monitor how he’s developing,” said Darren Fleming, assistant to Asmussen. “It really depends on how many come up and how he comes up to the race. We need to see if he’s going to be eligible, but for that kind of money, it’s definitely worth taking a chance.”

Edited Oaklawn Park release with additional content by Dick Downey

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