Oaklawn racing secretary Pat Pope said Wednesday that he believes 10 of the 12 horses originally entered in the Southwest Stakes will be re-entered.
Expected for the Southwest on Sunday are these 10 from the original cast: Bayerd, Bold Animaux, Bold Conquest, Far Right, Kantune, Majestico, Mr. Z, Phenomenal Phoenix, Private Prospect and The Truth Or Else. War Story and J S Bach defected to Saturday's Risen Star Stakes.
Post positions will be drawn Thursday morning.
Far Right will again be ridden by Mike Smith, who'll make the trip from New Orleans after riding Imperia in the Risen Star. Smith guided Far Right to a 1 3/4-length victory in the Smarty Jones Stakes Jan. 19. Corey Nakatani, despite the six-day delay, will still ride Mr. Z for the first time in the Southwest, said Justin Zayat, racing and stallion manager for Zayat Stables. Far Right was the 3-1 program favorite for Monday’s scheduled race. Mr. Z was the early 7-2 second choice.
Pope said the delay could open the door for a couple of other entrants, notably Hillbilly Royalty, winner of both his races, according to trainer Donnie K. Von Hemel. Owned by country music icon Toby Keith, Hillbilly Royalty was a front-running 4 1/2-length allowance/optional claiming winner at the track on Feb. 6. He breezed a half-mile in :49.00 on Sunday.
“With another week, anybody who had run within the last 13 days, now they’re looking at 20 days,” Pope said. “It seems like another chapter in the horse’s life when you go another week.”.
The Southwest was originally scheduled to be run Monday, but was postponed six days because of severe winter weather. Winter weather also forced Oaklawn to postpone the Southwest in 2006 and 2010. The race was moved from Monday to the following Saturday both times. Oaklawn officials had hoped to run the Southwest on Saturday again this year, but opted for Sunday after horses weren’t able to get on the track for training Tuesday because of frigid temperatures. The track reopened for training Wednesday afternoon.
By Dick Downey with content from Oaklawn release