02/05/2005 1:00AM

Rockport Harbor will skip Southwest

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Rockport Harbor will skip the $100,000 Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park on Feb. 19 and instead will be pointed for the track's Grade 3, $250,000 Rebel Stakes on March 19, said his trainer, John Servis.

The Rebel will be the first start of the year for Rockport Harbor, an undefeated colt and top candidate for the Kentucky Derby.

"I would have to push him a little bit harder to get him ready [for the Southwest], and we've got too long a year ahead of us," said Servis.

Earlier this year, Servis said he thought Rockport Harbor would be more likely to make his debut in the Rebel. The colt had his second work back from a layoff on Thursday, going five furlongs in 1:02.24. He returned to the track on Saturday and jogged, accompanied by a pony ridden by Servis.

"We're just going to keep on going with him and see what kind of pace he comes along at," said Servis. "Right now, everything's very good."

Rockport Harbor has won the first four starts of his career, including a stirring victory in the Grade 2 Remsen. During the race he sustained a gash to his right hind foot, but the gash is now about 95 percent healed, said Servis.

Rockport Harbor races for Rick Porter's Fox Hill Farms.