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Feb 22, 2008

Denis of Cork captures Southwest Stakes


Hot Springs, AR (Sports Network) - Denis of Cork, making just his third career start, won the President's Day running of the $250,000 Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park. The Southwest is a key prep race leading to the $1 million Arkansas Derby.

The Southwest Stakes has been an important race leading to the Kentucky Derby since Smarty Jones used it on his way to winning the 2004 Run for the Roses. Smarty Jones proceeded to win both the Rebel Stakes and Arkansas Derby before his triumph at Churchill Downs.

Denis of Cork, owned by Mr. and Mrs. William Warren, had raced just once as a two-year-old and won an allowance race at the Fair Grounds last month. Both times he was ridden by Calvin Borel, who rode Street Sense to victory in last year's Kentucky Derby.

Monday the colt had Robby Albarado in the saddle, the regular rider for Horse of the Year Curlin. Albarado and the three-year-old broke from post eight in the 11 horse field.

The pace in the Southwest was set by Sacred Journey with Silver Edition several lengths back in second. Denis of Cork settled into fifth up the backstretch before using a three-wide rally to take the event.

Sierra Sunset, who was second down the stretch, finished 2 1/4 lengths behind the winner with Liberty Bull and Sacred Journey gaining a dead-heat for third.

The final time for the one-mile stakes was 1:37.89 on a fast track.

Rounding out the finish was He's Eze, Riley Tucker, Isabull, Gangbuster, 5-2 favorite Turf War, Royal Hudson and Silver Edition.

Trained by David Carroll, Denis of Cork is undefeated in three starts and has earned $198,552, including $150,000 from Monday's victory.

Denis of Cork returned $11.60, $5.40 and $3.60. Sierra Sunset paid $9.60 and $6.40. Liberty Bull paid $3.80 and Sacred Journey returned $4.20 to show.

The Rebel Stakes is set for March 15 and the Arkansas Derby is scheduled for April 12.

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