04/10/2008 12:00AM

Ferragamo, Sebastian County stretching out


HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - Ferragamo and Sebastian County will make their two-turn debuts at Oaklawn Park on Saturday in the $75,000 Northern Spur, a one-mile race for 3-year-olds that supports the Grade 2, $1 million Arkansas Derby.

The Northern Spur drew a field of 10, including Ide Like a Double and Red Sandy, the two horses excluded from the Arkansas Derby field, which was limited to 14. Also on the card Saturday is the $75,000 Instant Racing, which is part of a national pick four with the Arkansas Derby and the Blue Grass and Commonwealth from Keeneland.

Ferragamo could go favored in the Northern Spur after his sharp wire-to-wire win in the $50,000 Mountain Valley at six furlongs at Oaklawn on Feb. 23. He earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 96. Since the race, Ferragamo has prepared for his two-turn debut in the Northern Spur.

"We worked him a mile, and I was very pleased how he did it," said Larry Jones, who trains Ferragamo for Fletcher and Carolyn Gray.

"This horse is smart. He's an easy horse to rate, so that's going to play a big factor in him being able to get the mile."

Joe Johnson has the mount on Ferragamo.

Sebastian County was second to Grade 2 winner Kodiak Kowboy last out in a six-furlong optional claiming race at Oaklawn.

"He struggled a little bit early trying to stay close enough to make a run at them," said Don Von Hemel, who trains Sebastian County. "So I think going around two turns he'll have a lot better trip."

Sebastian County has looked good in his works since the allowance. On April 2, he eased into a five-furlong work and completed it in 1:01.40.

"We've been trying to work him where he'll lay off the pace, because I feel like that will be his best chance of running good," said Von Hemel, who has given the mount to Larry Sterling Jr.

Comic Romeo, trained by Jorge Lara, must overcome post 10, but has won both of his starts at the meet in impressive fashion. Royal Hudson won the $100,000 Ascot Graduation Stakes in October for trainer David Forster.

Third straight stakes for Sky Mom?

Sky Mom will be seeking her third straight stakes win when she runs in the Instant Racing. The one-mile stakes for 3-year-old fillies drew a field of nine, including Rasierra, who was second in the Grade 3 Arlington-Washington Lassie last September.

Sky Mom's stakes streak began in February, when she won a division of the $50,000 Martha Washington at Oaklawn over Maren's Meadow, who in her next start won the Grade 3 Bourbonette. From there, Sky Mom traveled to Sunland and closed from well back to win the $200,000 WinStar Oaks March 16.

She will break from post 7 under Luis Quinonez.

"She's a versatile filly," said Steve Asmussen, who trains Sky Mom. "She's been on the lead winning five-eighths, and she was about 15 lengths back the other day going long. She'll do whatever you want."

Asmussen, the leading trainer at the meet, also has starters in the Arkansas Derby and Northern Spur. He swept all three of the traditional closing-day stakes last year at Oaklawn.