02/09/2007 12:00AM

Hard Spun in top shape for Southwest


HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - The undefeated Hard Spun came out of last Wednesday's bullet five-furlong work in good order, his connections said, and remains on target for the $250,000 Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park on Feb. 19.

The one-mile race is one of three stakes to be run here over the Presidents Day weekend. Also on deck is the $50,000 Pippin at 1 1/16 miles for fillies and mares next Saturday and the $50,000 Martha Washington for 3-year-old fillies at a mile next Sunday.

Hard Spun worked five furlongs in 1:00.60. He has won all four of his career starts, his latest win coming in the Grade 3 Lecomte at Fair Grounds.

"Everything's good," trainer Larry Jones said Friday. "We tracked him today, galloped him a mile and a half, and everything's really good."

Nominations to the Southwest were to close on Friday night. Among those expected to face Hard Spun are Going Ballistic, a multiple stakes winner for trainer Donnie Von Hemel, and Forty Grams, who has won his last two starts impressively for trainer Steve Asmussen.

Officer Rocket, the dead-heat winner of the Grade 3 Arlington-Washington Futurity, is scheduled to blow out for the Southwest on Thursday, said his trainer, Bob Holthus.

The Martha Washington is shaping up as a rematch of the $50,000 Dixie Belle, with the race's one-two finishers, Devil House and Cat on a Cloud, both planning to run back, according to their connections. Trainer Terry Gestes said Devil House is a definite, while Cat on a Cloud is a strong possibility for the race, according to her trainer, Ronny Werner.

Miss Goodnight, a stakes winner at two turns, is being pointing for the Martha Washington, according to her trainer, Tim Ritchey. Trainer Donnie Von Hemel said he plans to start East Hampton. She has won both of her starts and is a half-sister to multiple stakes winner Brownie Points.

In the Pippin, Kettleoneup could go favored following an eight-length allowance win earlier this meet.

A Classic Life, a multiple stakes winner, is also pointing for the Pippin, said her trainer, Grant Forster. Others under consideration for the race are D Fine Okie and Cheyenne Spirit.

Sprinters featured Sunday

Big Red Ranger should go favored Sunday in the featured eighth race, a first-level allowance for older horses at six furlongs. He rallied for second to a wire-to-wire winner at this level here last month in his first start since Nov. 7.

Other top contenders in the field include Air Corredor, who was third in the same race that Big Red Ranger exits, and Life's Lessons, who shows some nice works for his first start since Dec. 16.

* Agent Wendy Smith is back at Oaklawn for the first time in three years, representing jockey John McKee.

* Trainer Elmo Walker, 72, died Feb. 3 in Texas. Prior to his training career, he was a longtime pilot for American Airlines.