Haskin's Belmont Report: The Week in Pictures

Here are some of the players in one of the most perplexing Belmont Stakes in years.

Jennifer Patterson is happy with the way Orb has been training, as is trainer Shug McGaughey. The Kentucky Derby winner had a spirited gallop Thursday morning in which he was feeling good down the stretch.

Trainer Wayne Lukas and Oxbow have become quite a team. The Preakness winner has seemed more business-like this week, and has maintained his fitness and enthusaism despite a tough 3-year-old campaign.

No one has been galloping better than Freedom Child, who has been machine-like in his gallops each day. Trainer Tom Albertrani clocks the splits and had him going one-to-two ticks faster this morning. The best word to describe his gallops is flawless.

One always has to tread carefully walking past Freedom Child's stall. The colt is always looking for something to bite on, whether it be his stall door, his plastic ball, or his groom. He's not a mean horse as much as a big strong kid who gets bored easily.

Orb on his way to the track for his usual 6 a.m. gallop.

You can always count on Orb for some classic poses as he waits patiently to begin his gallop.

Trainer Dallas Stewart leads Kentucky Derby runner-up Golden Soul off the van following his arrival Tuesday afternoon.

Golden Soul arrives bright and alert, and tongue free, as he checks out his new surroundings.

Oxbow shows he, too, can strike a classic pose.

You want a handsome, happy horse, whose coat shines like burnished copper? Well, say hello to Lukas' forgotten horse, Will Take Charge.

Darley's Jimmy Bell turns fan, as he takes a photo of Incognito for his scrapbook.

Frac Daddy's trainer Kenny McPeek turns hotwalker as he takes his colt for a stroll around the shedrow.

Vyjack's coat and weight have improved greatly over the past couple of weeks and he is starting to look like his old self after his Kentucky Derby ordeal that took a lot out of him physically.

Have only seen Todd Pletcher's horses gallop one morning (today) since last Sunday's works and just didn't get anything worthwhile enough to include on here. Perhaps later today if any are out grazing or tomorrow morning.


Leave a Comment:


Thank you for the pics. They are all such beautiful, fit horses. Shiny coats, rippling muscles, silky manes and tails. Wow. Won't hazard a guess on the winner (xing fingers for Orb) but can't wait to see these magnificent runners on the track Saturday.  Safe trips for all.

06 Jun 2013 3:34 PM
Criminal Type

Great bunch of photos. Thanks for sharing. Im confused because Oxbow is listed as a bay but he sure looks like a roan horse to me. Reminds me somewhat of Graham Motions trainee, Lucky Chappy.

06 Jun 2013 3:44 PM
Old Old Cat

I love these reports.  I like oxbow and orb but no one else.  Give us another update please, I would like to play a trifecta.

06 Jun 2013 3:57 PM
Proud Acres

I always enjoy Lukas's pony horses.  They are always absolutely beautiful!

06 Jun 2013 4:10 PM
steve from st louis

The best looker in all your photos is D. Wayne at age 77. My goodness, how long is he going to tack up and pony his stock to the track? He's up there with Ben Jones, Woody Stephens, Charlie Whittingham and Sunny Jim Fitzsimmons who all won classics in their 70s and I think he looks and  acts younger than them all. You go Coach!

06 Jun 2013 4:29 PM

Beautiful, as always.   Question on Oxbow's color. He's listed as bay but looks like a dusting of baby-powder settled over his coat...!  Thoughts????   And Will Take Charge is gorgeous!

06 Jun 2013 6:01 PM

With all due respect, the best looker of all the photos is Mrs. Patterson! ;)

Superfecta: Orb/Will Take Charge/Freedom Child, Golden Soul, Incognito.

Good Luck!

06 Jun 2013 6:17 PM

Great photos Steve!  I'll be seeing these colts for the first time this year in the flesh on Saturday and I cannot wait to go to the Belmont.  Orb is a handsome looking colt and Oxbow is still so darn cute.  I can't wait to see them all.  

I hope the weather does not make the track too strange for them.  It has started raining in NJ Thurs. afternoon and heavy rains are predicted for Friday, with rain right through to Sat. morning.  

It does take a lot to get these majestic creatures to the races for us and I appreciate all those who take care of them.

06 Jun 2013 8:23 PM
Howard da Walker

D Wayne Lucas is perhaps the greatest horse trainer and motivator in the world. No one can get out of a horse or a team what Lucas gets out of them. He is magic. A winner. A classy gentleman. I had the pleasure to ask him a few questions one day on the backside of Colonial Downs. What a gentleman. Love to see him run 1-2.

06 Jun 2013 8:44 PM

Thanks, Steve - I will click on your Belmont columns a few times to build up the "hits"! Anywho, your pictures are great, especially of Golden Soul and Will Take Charge... Nice job to you and Lenny on Steve's show today... Have fun tomorrow and Saturday - wish I was there! Regards, BC Joel in Los Alamitos

06 Jun 2013 8:53 PM

This is in reference to Criminal Type's comment- Bay is a simple base color; gray and roan are the product of a base color (black, bay, chestnut)plus the gray or roan modifier. The roan gene causes the base color to fade out on the warmest parts of the body, leaving the points (head, legs, mane and tail) dark; the gray gene causes the entire body to gradually loose pigment over time, eventually resulting in a white or nearly white animal. While a roan horse is born roan and stays that color all it's life, a gray is born either black, bay or chestnut and gradually whitens with age. The gray gene is a dominant; meaning one parent has to be that color in order for an offspring to inherit it. Oxbow is a gray (born bay), having inherited the gene from his mother, Tizamazing, who in turn got it from her sire, Cee's Tizzy. As far as I know, the roan gene does not exist within the Thoroughbred breed (I've never seen or heard of one- has anybody else? Am curious.)yet, for some strange reason, sometime in the last 15 or 20 years, the powers that be have decided that gray TB's are to be called roan instead of gray. Also, a black horse is no longer black, but "dark bay or brown". How come? Do you know, Steve? (As an interesting side note, I've read that the gray gene in all TB's can be traced back to one foundation sire from the 1700's- Darcy's White Turk)

06 Jun 2013 10:42 PM

Incognito, the mystery horse. While I am still sticking with Orb, I can't help but hope Incognito does well. Steve, have you ever been this undecided before?

It should be a good race with all this talent and everyone training and looking so good. Again, as always, safe trip for all!

06 Jun 2013 11:03 PM
Linda in Texas

Been intrigued all along with Oxbow's color. We are just going to have to wait and see what materializes. Frankly I think he is looking a little lighter than he was in May at the Kentucky Derby. If he turns gray or white will his mane remain black?

I love your photos Steve and the one with Freedom Child trying his best to entice you closer was even smiling at you as he tried his best. That is a hoot.

El Kabong is going to let his beagle Suzy pick the winner, and i bet ABF's Brother's sweet dog Betsy would probably back her up.

Just going to enjoy the race and hope it is in the sunshine not slop or we will have the slop versus not slop discussion all year til the next Kentucky Derby.

Good luck and may safe travels around the track be in store for the jockeys and the horses.

Thank you Steve. Hope you have a nice time.  

07 Jun 2013 12:32 AM

Re Oxbow. Some horses that have white hair through their coat are Rabicano.  Usually they have skunk-tail--white hairs at the top of the tail.  I have a 2 year old chestnut filly that shows this--most of the white hairs are in the flank area. Yes, she's a thoroughbred going to race later this year or as a three year old.

07 Jun 2013 1:07 AM

I was fixated on Delhomme in the Rebel and made my wagers early. During the post parade a fantastic looking chestnut caught my eyes. I rushed to the program to determine the name of the colt and discovered it was Will Take Charge.

I said to a colleague that on looks he waas the pick of the paddock. I was face with a dilemma as there is cardinal rule in wagering horses and that is one should never cancel a wager but instead make another.

Most of my funds were already on Delhomme but my eyes suggest they should have been on WTC. I wagered what little I had left on him and he won at 28-1.

The photograph above reminds me of how he looked in the Rebel's post parade. If he looks anything like that in the Belmont post parade I will have no alternative but to place a small wager and include him in my exotics.

07 Jun 2013 7:56 AM
Brittany Tuck

Genetically speaking, Oxbow can't be gray.  In horses, gray is dominate.  If it is present it is always expeessed, therefore a gray horse must have at least one gray parent.  Both Oxbow's sire and dam are bay.  Since gray is not recessive, it doesn't hide.  If the horse isn't gray, it doesn't have the gray gene and can't pass it on to the next generation.  Tizamazing is not grey, so she didn't inherit the grey gene from her sire and would have to be bred to a gray stallion to produce a gray foal.  

There could be some other genetic modifier at work that is responsible for Oxbow's unusual shade of bay, but I have seen similar shades in other types of horses.

07 Jun 2013 9:51 AM

RE Oxbow's color-

He isn't gray; a grey must have at least one gray parent, which he does not, and he's "ticked" rather than graying out.  While we sometimes call that ticking of the coat "roaning", this is not the same as a true roan, which as manowargirl stated is extremely rare in TB's, as far as I know only existing in one very limited family line in Australia.  There are no lines carrying roan in NA.  

What we DO have in NA tb's in sabino.  Sabino is best known in American TB's through Puchilingui & his offspring, but is present in many other lines, and not always so outrageously expressed, sometimes just showing up as high white, oddly located white, or very subtle roaning, such as we see on Oxbow.

Here's a nice picture of him from before the Derby which shows the roaning on his flank well.  


It's worth noting that the JC only allows registration of certain colors, and the colors allowed have very little to do with genetics, so what a horse is registered as may or may not be what they really are.  Since the official designation is "Gray/roan"  and to be registered as a gray/roan a horse must have one gray parent, he could not be registered as roan, despite the fact that that may have been the most ACCURATE designation of his color, even though the roan gene isn't present in NA TB's.

Clear as mud, right?  :)

07 Jun 2013 9:54 AM
barbara strother

Concerning Oxbow's coat color, he is listed as "b" which the JC uses for brown or bay. I saw his workout Fri. before the Preakness and he looked brown.  He is not roan as some have commented.  To be gray, one parent has to be grey. His sireand Awesome Again is brown and his dam is dark bay. The grey gene does not skip a generation.  Since the temperature on Belmont day is always unuasually hot, it would not surprise me if Luckas had him clipped.  Oxbow's coat has the 'just clipped color".

07 Jun 2013 10:18 AM
Love 'em all

I believe Oxbow's color would be considered 'taupe' in the fashion world.  It's a great neutral color; a grayish-brown to some ... or a brownish-gray to others.  Anyway, that's the color I use to describe Oxbow to folks who have never seen him or his pictures.  

Oxbow does look more serious in this set of pics, and I just hope he's still enjoying himself these days.  My heart truly belongs to Oxbow ... without a doubt.  I'm thinking he could take third place .... but hope he doesn't overdue himself Saturday.  A safe race for all would make me very happy!

Great set of photos, Mr. Haskin, and the closeup of Freedom Child is priceless.  Thank you for sharing.

07 Jun 2013 11:41 AM
steve from st louis

John Gaver would have called Oxbow a "liver colored" bay.

07 Jun 2013 11:51 AM
Alicia McQuilkin

Stunning picture of Will Take Charge! I think he is the poster-child for what a resplendent coat looks like! He looks like he's about ready to go into the show ring (buffed and shined with product)!

And manowargirl is correct about the dilution genes. Additionally, horses will gray out at different rates. Some will be practically white by the time they're 5, some will take until they're 15 or 20. These slower ones it's a little more difficult to make the call, but the giveaway when they're born is if they have little white hairs around their eyes. Sometimes they won't even have that at first and you have to wait until they shed their baby coat to notice any speckling.

I also have been curious about the question of why gray/roan and db/br. The roan gene is different from the gray gene, just as bay and black are different in their skin/hair pigment genes.

07 Jun 2013 1:12 PM
Pedigree Ann

Manowargirl -

All grey TBs of today trace to the mare Bab, a grey foaled in 1787. Both of her parents were grey - her sire derived his grey coat from the Brownlow Turk, while her dam derived her grey coat from the Alcock Arabian. This is from the research of Federico Tesio (see his "Breeding the Racehorse").

The majority of grey horses in the world today are descendents of the grey stallion Le Samaritain, whose son Roi Herode (FR) was exported to Britain - he was the sire of the grey 4th dam of Native Dancer and of The Tetrarch, whose grey descendents include Mahmoud. These lines are the source of grey coats in US TBs almost exclusively.

Another line of greys diverges from the one above in the 1820s and spread from the stallion Pepper and Salt(1882). The grey Pippermint (first winner of Argentina's Quadruple Triple Crown - dam by Pepper and Salt) is responsible for transmitting the grey coat to a number of Argentine TBs. There are few more rare lines that originate in Pepper and Salt mares as well, always in danger of extinction.

07 Jun 2013 1:32 PM
Lise from Maine


Beautiful photos.

Good luck to all the horses, jockeys, trainers, and the owners in the Belmont tomorrow.

Will be looking to see the videos after the races.

Thank you!

Lise from Maine

07 Jun 2013 1:42 PM

Oxbow is a bay.  He has been body clipped.  His coat will darken up as his coat grows in.  I agree he is one handsome horse, but ORB is the stand out for me, with a closed 2nd to Freedom Child.  Probably just a coincidence that they are both by Malibu Moon??  Freedom CHild is not really bred for the distance as Orb is, based on their female lines.  I also thought Will Take Charge looks amazing, but he is by Unbridled's Song, and out of a mare who did not want any part of a race past 1 1/8 miles.  Incognito is the challenge.  Bred to run a 1 1/2 and then some, just not sure about quality.  I think deep down he has it and it probably sitting on a big race.

07 Jun 2013 3:09 PM

Great photos, Steve. Thank you so much.

07 Jun 2013 5:24 PM

Beautiful pictures as always Steve!  Thank you!  Oxbow does have an unusual color - never seen a bay look like him.  As to the comments about "roan" Thoroughbreds and the Jockey Club registration....years ago when I was breeding, it was explained to me that grey refers to horses born black or dark bay and the roan refers to horses born chestnut. Since both are actually greys and roans have been discovered to be genetically different, I do not know why they have not changed to using grey only instead of grey/roan.  It was never explained to me why they started combining the two colors either since apparently they have not always done that.  

07 Jun 2013 7:11 PM

Thanks, Steve, for the great pictures.  I really wish I could see Orb in person because, while true he strikes a pose, he seems a rather unimposing colt to me.  Will Take Charge is the standout in looks, in part because of his fabulous coat.  And speaking of coat; Oxbow is bay.  As others have said, a horse can't be gray unless at least one parent is gray.  He does indeed look like a body-clipped bay to me, but I find it a little odd that he would be body-clipped at this time of year.  Many bays have some roaning, particularly in the flank, and also often have gray/silver hairs in the mane and tail.

07 Jun 2013 9:12 PM

Thanks, Steve, for the wonderful pictures.  Both Oxbow and Orb look good out there.  Loved Wayne Lukas taking Oxbow out for his drill.  Their bond is pretty awesome stuff.  The picture of Vyjack spoke a thousand words by itself, and not particularly happy words.  I'm concerned for him.  I loved the bright eyes on Golden Soul, they had a twinkle in them.  Freedom Child looks very fit - and he's a mischievous one with all the biting!- LOL.  

The photo that stood out the most for me, though, was the stunning photo of Will Take Charge.  Wow, I love the glow of his coat!  Very beautiful.  The way he was standing while grazing was also very striking.  Will Take Charge is definitely a big, handsome thoroughbred.  He looks muscular, too - ready to run a big race.  He was robbed in the Kentucky Derby.  Verrazano totally stopped this big guy's momentum big time in the Derby.  I hope good fortune smiles upon him in the Belmont.  It would be a fitting redemption for what happened to him in Louisville when he was impressively running stride for stride with Orb.  Will Take Charge has been overlooked by most in this Belmont Stakes.  Very few are talking about him or praising him, so I thought it would be nice to give him some well-deserved accolades and show him some a little love & attention.  I'm hoping to see a fabulous, competitive Belmont Stakes Saturday.  I think eight horses have a legitimate, very good chance to win this race, many of them long shots.  The state of sloppiness of the track tomorrow throws a monkey-wrench in confidently handicapping this race.  Good luck to everyone here with your picks for the Belmont.

Thanks again, Steve, for the great pictures.  Once again, you've proven you are as proficient with a camera as you are with the written word.

07 Jun 2013 9:51 PM
Pedigree Ann

Racingfan - It is just the JC not being able to admit that it has been wrong. Many a young horse LOOKED like a roan when it was registered (or a 'red roan' or 'blue roan', terms in use in the 1930s), but afterwards it would have continued to lighten. Stubbornly, the JC continues to use the term despite scientific evidence that few if any of these horses were actual roans.

Greys have bedeviled the JC color folks for decades, because folks often didn't look carefully enough at a young horse when registering.

Like the grey giant Stardust Mel, who was registered as dark bay or brown, but by the time he won the Charles H. Strub S and Santa Anita H at 4, he was clearly grey. Likewise, his dam was registered as black, but a photograph of her in the TB of California showed her to be a flea-bitten grey. Her dam was a grey by Mahmoud.

On the other hand, Spectacular Bid looked more brown than grey on TV when he was racing in the Triple Crown, but those white hairs had been discovered and reported when he was a foal, so he carried the correct 'gr' designation.

07 Jun 2013 9:53 PM
Fran Loszynski

Oh my Gosh that pic of the pose Oxbow took wowie. Such great pics Steve just awesome. You make the Belmont worth watching not only the horses but what they represent --our kings of the rail. I feel Freedom Child is going to win stamina , stamina ,stamina in those shoulders. Saez has been winning there. Good luck Gary'Good Luck Orb . Go Rosie and Incognito do your thing but most of all everyone come home safe and courageous

07 Jun 2013 10:18 PM
Fran Loszynski

Steve just have to write what a wonderful tribute to Secretariat the Margin pole erected at Belmont. God Bless you Ms.Chenery and Secretariat always. Maybe this is an omen for GEORGE Gary Stevens to win the Belmont also could be. I love horseracing and A fleet Alex nd just all of it!

07 Jun 2013 10:42 PM

Thanks for these excellent photos and while I would love to see Shug and Orb back in the winners circle, Orb looks down on weight but I'd sure appreciate your opinion as you have seen him up close through the whole TC campaign.

Like others have commented, Will Take Charge looks fantastic and he is so intriguing and yet such a schizophrenic runner from race to race but if he ever puts his mind to competing full out, he could become a force, ala Rock Hard Ten a few years ago who, once in the care of Richard Mandella became a powerhouse as a four year old.

Tough race to figure out this year. Incognito, what a perfect name for a horse that could be so sneaky. Any idea what prompted his name? Would really fit like a glove if he wins this thing. Is he as small as he looks from photos and video? Thanks again, hope to hear you scored a big payout today!

08 Jun 2013 7:32 AM

Many thanks, I always appreciate the nice photos. I admire Lucas, still doing what he does best. That being said, I think Mine that Bird couldn't wait to fly out of his barn and go home to the land of UFO's. Guess you can't win them all!

08 Jun 2013 11:20 AM

Oxbow looks like he has been body clipped to me. That is why he is a mousy grey color. A lot of times the undercoat of a horse is much lighter.

If you see what a chestnut looks like body clipped you will understand. They also turn a mousy grey.

08 Jun 2013 1:05 PM

I have an opinion in Oxbow's color:  it's overspray.  If you look at his face marking, it's obvious that the masking tape was not enough to protect the rest of his face from the white paint.

08 Jun 2013 6:04 PM

Recent Posts



Social Media

More Blogs