02/16/2007 1:00AM

Hard Spun draws tough post in Southwest


HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - All the speed will be to Hard Spun's inside Monday in the $250,000 Southwest at Oaklawn Park. All of it. Hard Spun drew post 9 in a field of nine when entries were taken on Friday for the one-mile race for 3-year-olds.

Larry Jones, who trains Hard Spun, said the post is not ideal. Hard Spun has won all four of his starts on the front end, his latest in the Grade 3 Lecomte at Fair Grounds. Regular rider Mario Pino has the mount on the Southwest.

"There's going to be a mad dash to the first turn; it's just the way it's going to happen," said Jones. "That's why we put Mr. Pino up there. He can figure that out. I'll leave that up to him, to get the best possible trip."

The Southwest will begin and end at the sixteenth pole. The complete field from the rail with riders is: Xchanger, Joe Bravo; I Got a Dream, Eddie Razo Jr.; Going Ballistic, Cliff Berry; Teuflesberg, Stewart Elliott; Officer Rocket, Calvin Borel; Forty Grams, Donnie Meche; Our Sacred Honor, John Velazquez; Starbase, Corey Lanerie; and Hard Spun.

Starbase blew out a quarter of a mile on Friday, and already has a win over the track. Starbase won an optional claiming route here Jan. 20.

"He'll be shortening up to a mile, so he should be finishing well on the end," said his trainer, D. Wayne Lukas. "He's doing very well. I think he fits this track. He likes this track."

The blinkers will be off Teuflesberg on Monday.

Miss Goodnight booked to Afleet Alex

Miss Goodnight, a top choice in the $50,000 Martha Washington here Sunday, is one of four fillies Chuck Zacney and trainer Tim Ritchey purchased in partnership as yearlings to breed eventually to champion Afleet Alex. Ritchey trained Afleet Alex, winner of the Preakness and Belmont Stakes in 2005, for the Cash Is King partnership headed by Zacney.

"I tried to find type mares that would match well with him, and the pedigrees that I thought would go well with him," said Ritchey. "There's four we purchased with the idea of trying to get some black type. They looked like they were going to be decent racehorses and its panned out so far."

The other fillies are Amandatude, a stakes winner of $379,510 who is also multiple Grade 2-placed; Lady of Summer, who is multiple stakes-placed; and Moon Catcher, a dominant maiden winner at Oaklawn. Miss Goodnight is a daughter of Johannesburg and out of the Grade 2 Delaware Handicap-winning mare Night Fax. She won the $100,000 Blue Hen at Delaware in October. Miss Goodnight was purchased at auction for $56,000.

"She was a bargain, I thought," said Ritchey. "Hopefully, she can win some more stakes; get some graded money and we'll breed her to Alex."

Ritchey already has two mares in foal to Afleet Alex. Both are due in March.

The next Afleet Alex?

Ritchey is excited about a 2-year-old he has coming his way later this year. Wynn in Command is by Northern Afleet, the same sire as Afleet Alex. He is in training in Ocala, Fla., and is co-owned by his breeder, Wynn Jolley.

"He'll be coming to Delaware probably in May or June," said Ritchey. "He's galloping, just starting to breeze a little bit. He's taller than Alex. He's a similar kind of horse, but he's a bigger horse."

Ritchey said Wynn in Command is out of an older half-sister to Afleet Alex.

Afleet Alex was the champion 3-year-old of 2005, and he stands at Gainesway in Kentucky.

Hard Spun star of website

Rick Porter, who races Hard Spun as Fox Hill Farm, maintains a popular website that chronicles the activities of Hard Spun, as well his Breeders' Cup Distaff winner Round Pond. He gives updates on the horses, including details on workouts, any injuries, and upcoming race plans.

"I just think it's fun," said Porter. "It's fun for [the horses' followers], and it's fun for me to discuss some of the things that they don't get a chance to be privy to. I just get a lot of pride out of keeping the site up and seeing so many people interested. It's mind-boggling to see so many people interested in stuff that's so easy to provide."

Porter first launched the website in 2005 as "rockportharbor.com" to chronicle the exploits of his Grade 2 Remsen winner Rockport Harbor, and the site can still be accessed at that address. Porter, who set up the first site at the suggestion of his son, is also behind a new site designed to encourage other owners to communicate with fans of their horses.

"We're really about to launch another website that is going to try to get more stables to do the same thing I do, so people can follow more horses than just Fox Hill Farm's horses," he said. "It's something we're trying to get going. I think its good for racing."

It could launch in the next couple of months, said Porter.