, Newburyport, MA


June 8, 2013

D. Wayne Lukas reflects on 4 Belmont Stakes wins


Will Take Charge offers value in the Commendable range at 20-1.

In the final analysis, Lukas said the 1 ½-mile Belmont distance, the longest of the Triple Crown, is the great equalizer.

“We’re all in uncharted water,” he said. “You can go over and over it, but a lot of them just can’t run that far, especially when they’re pressured. A lot of them can get it in the third race on Wednesday, but when we get into this situation with a little more quality, we’re guessing a little bit.”

Hall of Fame rider Gary Stevens credits Lukas with two of the most important wins of career.

The first was aboard Winning Colors, the filly who captured the Kentucky Derby in 1988.

The other came three weeks ago with Oxbow in the Preakness, vindicating Stevens’ decision to unretire in January after quitting in 2005 with badly damaged knees.

“It’s been an outstanding couple of weeks since the Preakness and it was definitely my most emotional win of my career,” Stevens said.

Stevens, 50, has won the Belmont three times.

In Oxbow, Stevens has a horse who will be all business.

“I don’t think I’ve ever ridden a horse in my career that is as focused on his job going to the starting gate,” Stevens said. “It’s almost like a running back — he’s looking at the hole he’s got to go for. He’s a very focused individual and his recovery rate is unbelievable as well.”

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