Michael Dubb, Madaket Stables, Morris Bailey and William Rucker’s Oxymore made his stakes debut a winning one with a powerful frontrunning score in Friday’s $150,000 Skidmore, a 5 1/2-furlong Mellon turf sprint for juveniles, at Saratoga Race Course.
Oxymore, by Astern, was purchased privately following his impressive first-out score sprinting six furlongs over the Belmont Park turf on July 1 for former owner-conditioner Adam Rice. The $30,000 Keeneland September Yearling Sale purchase was transferred to conditioner Chad Brown and trained steadily into his Spa debut over the Oklahoma Training turf.
“That was a good buy. It looks like he’s going to go a little longer too, which is what we were hoping for,” said Sol Kumin of Madaket Stables. “It’s really fun. We’ve got a big group of people here, some of which have never been to the races before. This is what it’s all about.”
With returning pilot Jose Ortiz up, Oxymore marked off splits of 21.75 seconds and 44.77 over the firm turf under pressure from Jeremy’s Jet with No Nay Hudson settled comfortably behind the speed in third under Hall of Fame rider John Velazquez.
Oxymore was in command through the turn as No Nay Hudson came calling with his bid, briefly taking over at the stretch call, as the two rivals battled gamely the length of the stretch run. But Oxymore, under right-handed encouragement from Ortiz, found another gear late to edge clear for a 1 1/4-length score in a final time of 1:02.74.
No Nay Hudson staved off the rallying Private Creed by three-quarters of a length to complete the exacta with Appraise, Noble Huntsman, Fadethenoise, Prove Right, Cadillac Candy and Jeremy’s Jet rounding out the order of finish. Bourbon Therapy was scratched.
Brown said he was impressed with the first afternoon effort from his new trainee.
“I was a little worried down the stretch, but this horse showed his heart. Adam Rice, who trained this horse previously, did a great job,” Brown said. “This ownership group bought the horse and then moved him to me. I was very impressed. The horse is well-broke and well-prepared and we just kept him moving forward. Jose knows the horse really well. He rode him in his debut and he knew just what to do there.
“I was very impressed with his heart and his stamina to just keep on going,” Brown added. “When you look at the horse, he doesn’t look like a sprinter, so I’m excited to get him out in distance. He looks like a pure route horse.”
Brown noted that Oxymore will point to the one-mile Nownownow on September 17 at Monmouth Park.
“I’ve been looking at that race since they sent this horse to me,” Brown said. “On the stretch out going two turns with this horse and a much different pace at that point, it’s pretty exciting.”
The Wesley Ward-trained No Nay Hudson made his turf debut in the Skidmore following a sharp debut win in April at Keeneland and a troubled fourth in the Tremont on June 9 at Belmont Park.
Velazquez, who won three races on the card to bring his career total at Saratoga to 997, said he was impressed with his mount’s turf debut.
“Perfect trip. It worked exactly the way I thought. I got to him the way I thought, the only thing, I didn’t get to win the race the way I thought,” Velazquez said. “He handled [turf] really well. We’d worked him on the grass. He worked really well, so I knew he was going to like it. I just thought when I got to him at the quarter-pole I had him. Got to the eighth pole and kind of switched back leads, got a little weary and the other horse came back. He ran well.”
Ortiz said he was surprised that Oxymore turned back in distance after his debut score.
“I think he’s a nice horse,” Ortiz said. “I didn’t think Chad would want to back him up to five-and-a-half, but he was the favorite in this stake and he ran a great number so he decided to go here and the horse ran a very good race. He was game. Wesley’s horse ran good. I knew he was going to improve on turf, he’s a really nice horse. But he [Oxymore] is a really nice horse and honestly he’s going to be better going a little bit longer eventually.”
Bred in Kentucky by Philip Ray Robertson, Oxymore banked $82,500 in victory, while remaining perfect through two starts. He paid $4.50 for a $2 win ticket.
Live racing resumes Saturday with an 11-race program, featuring the Grade 1, $600,000 Alabama in Race 10, the Grade 2, $200,000 Lake Placid in Race 8 and the $150,000 Smart N Fancy in Race 9. First post is 12:30 p.m. Eastern.
Saratoga Live will present daily coverage and analysis of the summer meet at Saratoga Race Course on the networks of FOX Sports. For the complete broadcast schedule, visit https://www.nyra.com/saratoga/racing/tv-schedule.
NYRA Bets is the official wagering platform of Saratoga Race Course, and the best way to bet every race of the summer meet. Available to horse players nationwide, the NYRA Bets app is available for download today on iOS and Android at www.NYRABets.com.
Saratoga Race Course Press Release
Photo: Oxymore, (NYRA Photo)