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Feb 20, 2015

Far Right remains favorite for Southwest Stakes


Hot Springs, AR ( - Although set to be run six days late, the $300,000 Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park continues to have local stakes winner Far Right as its favorite for Sunday.

The 1 1/16-mile Southwest, with 11 3-year-olds set to start, was postponed from Monday due to bad weather. The race offers 10 points to the winning horse toward a spot in 141st Kentucky Derby on May 2 and is the next to last local prep for the track's $1 million Arkansas Derby on April 11.

Far Right, winner of Oaklawn's Smarty Jones Stakes on Jan. 19, is the 5-2 morning line favorite after originally being the 3-1 top pick. The colt will have Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith in the saddle for a second straight start and break from post 6. .

"The thing about running Sunday is it gave us a chance to train another day. It worked out good," said Far Right's trainer Ron Moquett.

Far Right rallied along the inside to win the Smarty Jones by 1 3/4 lengths over Bayerd and 11-10 favorite Mr. Z.

The 3-year-old, owned by Robert LaPenta and Harry Rosenblum, was second his first two times out last year and found the winner's circle last September at Churchill Downs. He followed with a fourth in Belmont Park's Futurity on Oct. 5 and three weeks later was third in the Street Sense Stakes at Churchill. Far Right was third in the Delta Downs Jackpot on Nov. 22 behind Ocho Ocho Ocho with Mr. Z second.

The chestnut colt has two wins, two seconds and two thirds in seven starts for $245,766.

Mr. Z, owned by Zayat Stables and trained by Hall of Famer D. Wayne Lukas, is the 3-1 second choice and will start from the far outside post with Corey Nakatani aboard for the first time. Jon Court had the mount when Mr. Z finished third in the Smarty Jones.

"If Jon would have not hit him, I think, and just hand rode him, he might have won by five or six (lengths)," Lukas said. "He knifed him left-handed. He won't take that."

Mr. Z hasn't won since his first start last June at Churchill Downs. However, he has four seconds and a third in eight career starts for $514,726. The colt posted runner-up finishes as a 2-year-old in the Sanford, Saratoga Special, Breeders' Futurity and Delta Downs Jackpot.

Undefeated gelding Hillbilly Royalty is now the 7-2 third pick and will leave from post 3 with his regular jockey Luis Quinonez.

Hillbilly Royalty, trained by Donnie Von Hemel for country music superstar Toby Keith, won his only two career starts coming into Sunday. The gelding won first time out in November at Remington Park and triumphed again on Feb. 6 at Oaklawn over the Southwest distance.

Smarty Jones runner-up Bayerd, trained by Steve Asmussen, is the 5-1 fourth choice and has drawn the rail with Ramon Vazquez again riding.

Owned by Clark Brewster, Bayerd put together two straight wins after finishing third in his debut at Saratoga last July. After breaking his maiden, the colt won the Kip Deville followed by a second in the Clever Trevor Stakes, both at Remington Park.

Bayerd won Remington's Springboard Stakes last December five weeks before getting second in the Smarty Jones. He has banked $312,100 with wins in half of his six lifetime starts.

Here is the field for the Southwest from the rail out: Bayerd, Ramon Vazquez, 5-1; Majestico, Terry Thompson, 30-1; Hillbilly Royalty, Luis Quinonez, 7-2; Private Prospect, Alex Birzer, 12-1; Bold Conquest, Ricardo Santana Jr., 10-1; Far Right, Mike Smith, 5-2; Phenomenal Phoenix, Cliff Berry, 30-1; The Truth Or Else, Calvin Borel, 20-1; Kantune, Shaun Bridgmohan, 12-1; Bold Animaux, Israel Ocampo, 30-1 and Mr. Z, Corey Nakatani, 3-1.

Post time for the Southwest will be approximately 5:42 p.m. ET.

Next at Oaklawn for 3-year-olds will be the $750,000 Rebel Stakes on March 14.

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