Updated on 02/20/2015 10:11AM

Southwest Stakes rescheduled for Sunday


The Grade 3, $300,000 Southwest Stakes, a major prep for the Arkansas Derby, has been rescheduled for Sunday, said David Longinotti, director of racing for Oaklawn Park. The Southwest was to have been run Monday but was canceled due to a winter storm system that landed in Arkansas.

Oaklawn was unable to train Tuesday due to a second overnight freeze. The loss of two consecutive dates of training led officials to push the Southwest from a potential Saturday date to Sunday.

“The plan right now is to hopefully get the horses on the track tomorrow, then be able to run the Southwest on Sunday,” Longinotti said Tuesday.

Entries for the Southwest will be taken Thursday. The race is open to all original nominees.

There are some new faces who could jump into the mix. Trainer Donnie Von Hemel,  who on Tuesday said original entrant Phenomenal Phoenix remains a go for the rescheduled Southwest, is also considering starting the undefeated Hillybilly Royalty.

"We've got a couple of days before we enter," Von Hemel said Tuesday. "He would be on the possible list for that race."

Hillybilly Royalty has won both of his starts, including a first-level allowance route at Oaklawn with a Beyer Speed Figure of 93. He races for the Dream Walkin Farms operation of country music artist Toby Keith and his family.

Far Right, who was the morning-line favorite for the original Southwest cast, remains on deck for the rescheduled Southwest, trainer Ron Moquett said Tuesday. Moquett said Mike Smith would again be named to ride Far Right. Smith teamed with the horse last month to win the Smarty Jones Stakes at Oaklawn.

Bayerd, the runner-up in the Smarty Jones, and Bold Conquest, who was third last out in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland, were both in the original Southwest field and continue to be candidates for the race, trainer Steve Asmussen said Monday.

The Southwest, at 1 1/16 miles, originally drew a field of 12, but J S Bach and War Story have since been entered in the Risen Star Stakes, to be run at Fair Grounds in New Orleans on Saturday.

It was a 20-degree morning in Hot Springs on Tuesday. The forecast for Sunday is partly cloudy skies with a high of 45 degrees and a 20 percent chance of precipitation, according to The Weather Channel. Between now and then, the highs most days are in the low 40s, with overnight temps forecast for the 20s on Thursday.