02/01/2012 3:37PM

Oaklawn Park: Apprehender will shed blinkers for Southwest Stakes

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HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – Apprehender, the 3-year-old who won his debut with a Beyer Speed Figure of 97 last month at Oaklawn Park, will remove blinkers for the Grade 3, $250,000 Southwest, trainer Ingrid Mason said Wednesday.

The Southwest is the first of two graded preps for the Arkansas Derby, and the Feb. 20 race will be the two-turn debut for Apprehender. In his first start Jan. 26, he set the pace and drew out by 7 1/4 lengths in a maiden special weight sprint.

“I’m going to pull the blinkers off,” Mason said. “I put them on him because he would kind of shy away from horses. He’s gotten a lot better about that. And I don’t need him to show a lot of speed. He’s got enough.”

Mason said Apprehender’s preparations for the Southwest are tentatively scheduled to include a “two-minute lick” at Oaklawn on Sunday. She also has penciled in a one-mile workout for Feb. 12. Apprehender is by Posse and out of the Grade 1-winning mare Missy’s Mirage.