Southwest Loses Two, Picks Up One
To the relief of Oaklawn Park officials, 10 of the 12 original entries, plus one new one, are good to go for Sunday’s 1 1/16-mile Southwest Stakes.
“It worked out well,” Oaklawn racing secretary Pat Pope said.
The Southwest was originally scheduled to be run Monday afternoon, but postponed six days because of severe winter weather. The redrawn Southwest, postponed after an ice storm caused cancellation of the race on Monday, will go as the eighth of nine races Sunday. Probable post time is 5:42 p.m. ET. There was no training at the track on Monday or Tuesday.
Far Right was the 3-1 program favorite for Monday’s race. Despite the delay, trainer Ron Moquett was able to retain the services of Mike Smith, who guided Far Right to a 1 3/4-length victory in the Smarty Jones Stakes on Jan. 19. Far Right is scheduled to break from post 6 Sunday.
“Perfect,” Moquett said moments after the post position draw. “The thing about running Sunday is it gave us a chance to train another day. It worked out good.”
Mr. Z, a veering-out third in the Smarty Jones, is scheduled to break from the extreme outside – post 11 – under Corey Nakatani. Mr. Z was the 7-2 second choice in the program for Monday’s race after drawing post 10.
The delay allowed unbeaten Hillbilly Royalty, trained by Donnie K. Von Hemel, to enter the race. Bred and owned by Toby Keith, Hillbilly Royalty was a front-running 4 1/2-length allowance/optional claiming winner on Feb. 6. The Rebel Stakes could be on his horizon. He breezed a half-mile in :49 Sunday morning.
Private Prospect completed final major preparations for the Southwest by breezing a half-mile in :47.40 Wednesday afternoon for trainer Mike Campbell.
The Southwest field, with riders and weight assignments, from the rail out: Bayerd, Ramon Vazquez, 119; Majestico, Terry Thompson, 115; Hillbilly Royalty, Luis Quinonez, 117; Private Prospect, Alex Birzer, 119; Bold Conquest, Ricardo Santana Jr., 115; Far Right, Mike Smith, 122; Phenomenal Phoenix, Cliff Berry, 115; The Truth Or Else, Calvin Borel, 115; Kantune, Shaun Bridgmohan, 115; Bold Animaux, Israel Ocampo, 115; and Mr. Z, Corey Nakatani, 115.
Phenomenal Phoenix, also trained by Von Hemel, will race with blinkers on Sunday, and The Truth or Else adds Lasix.
The only two original Southwest entrants not re-entered were War Story and J S Bach, who are scheduled to run in Saturday’s Risen Star Stakes at Fair Grounds.''
The track reopened for training at noon Wednesday. Training was delayed 3 1/2 hours Thursday morning because of sub-freezing weather.
Edited Oaklawn release with additional content by Dick Downey