Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas considered cross entering Gr. II $400,000 Risen Star Stakes entrant Bravazo in Oaklawn Park's Grade III $500,000 Southwest Stakes on Monday Feb. 19, but the conditioner will opt to send the 3-year-old son of Awesome Again to the Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots for Saturday's race.
“I'm committing him to the race so I'm running down there,” Lukas said by phone from his Oaklawn Park base.
Owned by Calumet Farm, Bravazo made his 3-year-old debut a winning one last time when facing allowance company at Oaklawn Park on Jan. 13 where he was guided by Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens.
“That was a really good race, he got a good number,” Lukas said. “I think we can be competitive. I feel like he's a competitive horse and a lot of the horses in the race have a lot have similar numbers. The race is fifty points (on Churchill Downs' Road To The Kentucky Derby) and I think that he merits a chance.”
As a 2-year-old, Bravazo broke his maiden going one mile over Churchill Downs' main track before a second-place finish in the Gr. I Claiborne Futurity behind Free Drop Billy. Stevens is named the rider aboard the horse for Saturday's race, however Lukas stated that Fair Grounds current leading rider Miguel Mena would pilot the horse on Saturday. He will break from the seven hole at odds of 8-1.
Lukas' other Risen Star entrant Kentucky Club (post eight, James Graham, 30-1) is “50-50 at best” and may stay with the trainer's string in Hot Springs, Ark. The son of Oxbow broke his maiden last time out by eight lengths for a $30,000 tag.
“I may leave him home and run him (at Oaklawn Park),” Lukas said. “He ran a huge race even if it was against claiming horses, but it would be a huge step for him and he's got a lot of options and still can run through his conditions. I want to see how the (Southwest Stakes) comes up. We'd like to try him a little longer at some point.”
Lukas has won two previous editions of the Risen Star with Exchange Rate (2000) and Open Forum (1997).
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