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Original cast shows up for take two of Southwest
Oaklawn Park may have been forced to reschedule Monday's $250,000 Southwest S. (G3) to Saturday, but there were no defections from the one-mile test.
"We have the same 10 back for Saturday," stakes coordinator Craig Lytel said of three-year-olds scheduled to line up for the two-turn event.
The Southwest was the feature race on a weather-shortened Presidents' Day card Monday. On Sunday, snow fell midway through the card and training was canceled the next morning in order to preserve the track. After four races were in the books on Monday, management canceled the remainder of the card citing safety concerns for both horses and jockeys.
The Southwest was redrawn, and likely favorite DUBLIN (Afleet Alex) will now break from the 3 hole instead of the far outside, as he had originally been assigned.
"That's good for me," trainer D. Wayne Lukas smiled. "The percentage of horses winning from the 9 and 10 holes going a mile is not good."
Lukas sent Dublin out to take Saratoga's Hopeful S. (G1) last September, but the chestnut colt tailed off badly following that performance to end the year running fifth in the Champagne S. (G1) and seventh in the Iroquois S. (G3). Terry Thompson will be aboard Dublin for the first time in the Southwest.
"Everybody's in the same boat," Lukas said of the cancellation. "They did the right thing, though."
While the initial field has shown up for the Southwest, not all the original jockeys will be in town to ride. Due to scheduling conflicts, Glenn Murphy will now get the mount on KITTY'S TURN (Langfuhr) from Robby Albarado. Likewise, Garrett Gomez will not be in to ride CONVEYANCE (Indian Charlie), nor will John Velazquez be available to ride MISSION IMPAZIBLE (Unbridled's Song). Martin Garcia will take over on Conveyance, while Eibar Coa has pilot duties on Mission Impazible.
Conveyance will renew his rivalry with CARDIFF GIANT (Yankee Gentleman) and DOMONATION (Maria's Mon) in the Southwest. The threesome finished in that order in the San Rafael S. (G3) on January 16, with Conveyance keeping his record perfect with the 1 3/4-length score in his stakes bow. Cardiff Giant and Domonation had previously met in the Stuka S. at Hollywood Park last season, with the latter finishing second as compared to Cardiff Giant's fourth.
Linda Thrash, assistant to trainer John Sadler, took Domonation for a stroll around the barn Thursday morning. The gray colt will exit the gate from post 8 under jockey Corey Nakatani.
"I was happy with the first draw (post 5)," Thrash said. "Given his running style, I'm not as concerned as if he had to be forwardly placed. I think the two turns fit his style."
Not only will the top three from the San Rafael be lining up in the Southwest, but the first four finishers from Oaklawn's local prep, the Smarty Jones S., will attempt to leave their mark on the race. DRYFLY (Jump Start) led from gate-to-wire in the Smarty Jones, and will be looking to make it three straight under Calvin Borel. PLEASANT STORM (Pleasant Tap) suffered his first career loss that one-mile affair, and will try to turn the tables on his rival with regular rider Bryan McNeil shipping in for the mount.
Kitty's Turn, third in the Smarty Jones as well as the Springboard Mile S. prior to that one, will have a different jockey in the saddle but did receive the same rail position as he had for Monday. Trainer Gary Thomas didn't mind the cancellation too much he said.
"It makes no difference to my horse," Thomas said. "He just has to know when to go and when to whoa. It's hard to say how good he is. We raised him, but he won't really be three-years old until May 7."
Thomas, who has trained in Hot Springs, Arkansas, for "40-something years," said he was looking ahead to the Rebel S. (G2) on March 13.
"You gotta get some graded money if you're gonna have big dreams," he said.
Smarty Jones fourth CRIDER (Closing Argument) and Sugar Bowl S. winner COOL BULLET (Red Bullet), fourth in the Lecomte S. (G3) most recently, round out the field on Saturday.