Updated on 09/17/2011 8:50PM

Not an ideal distance for Greater Good


HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - Greater Good's road to the Kentucky Derby begins Saturday in the $100,000 , and if there is one thing trainer Bob Holthus would change about the race, it would be to make it longer. Greater Good will be racing over one mile, and the race will end at what is usually the sixteenth pole, as all races at the distance do at Oaklawn Park.

That appears to be the lone disadvantage Greater Good must buck in the Southwest, in which he will face six others: Copy My Notes, My Parade, Silver Haze, Major League, Munificence, and Humor at Last.

Otherwise, things are going according to plan for Greater Good. Last year he won the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes, and has been diligent in his works leading up to the Southwest. The race is the first of three at Oaklawn, with the others being the Grade 3, $250,000 Rebel on March 19, and the $1 million Arkansas Derby on April 16.

Those races are goals for Greater Good, but his focus right now is to win the Southwest, the race that launched Smarty Jones into a sweep of the 3-year-old program last year at Oaklawn.

"I'd say the mile is not his cup of tea, but hopefully he'll be able to overcome it," said Holthus. "We've got to start somewhere."

Greater Good did win his maiden at seven furlongs, but has proven to be at his best around two turns. That is the trip over which he won the Grade 3 Kentucky Cup Juvenile in September and the Kentucky Jockey Club at Churchill Downs on Nov. 27, his last start.

"I wish we were going a mile and a sixteenth," said John McKee, regular rider of Greater Good. "But he's got enough class to get the job done."

Greater Good, who races for his breeder, Lewis Lakin, figures to be sitting about 10 lengths off the pace, said Holthus.

Silver Haze will be closer. He was fourth, beaten 2 1/4 lengths, in his last start, when he rallied in the Grade 3 Lecomte at Fair Grounds on Jan. 15.

"I thought he ran a super race," said Steve Wren, who trains Silver Haze. "It set up that there was not enough speed up front, and that probably compromised our chances."

Wren said Silver Haze should be close to the leaders in the Southwest. "Hopefully we're not too far off the pace, in front of Greater Good so we can kind of get a jump on him," said Wren.

Cliff Berry has the mount on Silver Haze.

Munificence and Humor at Last, who will get first Lasix, should make for an honest pace Saturday.