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Kentucky Derby and Horse Racing at The Downey Profile®

Najjaar Needs Good Week to Make Southwest Run


Shadwell Farm’s Najjaar is listed as probable for the Grade III Southwest Stakes, pending another good week of training.

Najjaar (Worth Watching), a son of Jazil, managed to stylishly catch a strong field on Jan. 14 in his fifth career start, and now Peitz is seeking the best place to take the next step. Circumstances might make the Southwest that spot.

However, the Southwest is one mile and comes with a shortened stretch.

“It looks like my horse is a stretch runner, so the distance isn’t that appealing,” said Peitz. “But chances are an allowance race is probably going to be at the same distance, so we will see how the Southwest shakes out.”

As one might expect when your dad won the Belmont Stakes, Najjaar has been gradually getting better while waiting for longer distance opportunities to come around. He debuted finishing sixth in a one-turn mile at Arlington Park last summer, then moved around two turns in his next four starts, finally getting the timing right with a surging victory at 1 1/16 mile.

“I’ve got a horse who comes from the clouds, so it won’t be easy to go in a 12-horse field with only a sixteenth of a mile of a stretch to work with,” said Peitz.

While the distance isn’t ideal, Peitz may be go forward while trusting in Najjaar’s apparent class. He worked out Monday, going five furlongs in 1:02.40 under Calvin Borel.

“It was a really good breeze,” said Peitz. “He started off slow but finished up really well, just like we wanted. Calvin was happy with him. He will need to have another good breeze like that and another good week for us to commit to the Southwest.”

--Edited Oaklawn Park release

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