01/24/2012 4:57PM

Oaklawn Park: Majestic Stride targets Southwest Stakes after maiden win


HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – Majestic Stride has put himself in the picture for next month’s Grade 3, $250,000 Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park, following his flashy maiden special weight win here Sunday. Majestic Stride defeated mostly older rivals and earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 83.

“He’s a talented horse,” trainer Jeff Bonde said Tuesday.

The Southwest is the first of two major preps for the Grade 1, $1 million Arkansas Derby. It will be run at one mile on Feb. 20. Majestic Stride’s win Sunday came in hand, by 3 1/2 lengths. He was making his second career start in the six-furlong race after finishing second, beaten five lengths, in his debut at Golden Gate on Jan. 2.

“We were very happy he ran like we thought he would the first time,” Bonde said of Sunday’s race. “First time out, we were hoping to see a little better. He didn’t break that well. He came back and ran a better race.”

The Southwest will be the first two-turn start for Majestic Stride.

“He’s a Trippi, and everybody’s saying he’ll have trouble with distance, but to me, he just seems like a horse who can run on,” Bonde said. “So, we’ll see.”

Majestic Stride is part of a 20-horse division Bonde has at Oaklawn. The local stable also includes Twice the Appeal, winner of last year’s Grade 3, $800,000 Sunland Park Derby who finished second by a neck in the $75,000 Fifth Season at Oaklawn. Bonde said the horse is now being pointed to the $100,000 Essex Handicap here Feb. 4.

Majestic Stride, who races for the partnership of Rusty Brown, Philip Lebherz, and Alan Klein, was ridden Sunday by Carlos H. Marquez Jr.