02/17/2010 12:00AM

Southwest workers hit the track


HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - Conveyance led the charge of six Southwest hopefuls who worked at Oaklawn on Wednesday, when he breezed a half-mile in 48.40 seconds in hand. Jockey Calvin Borel was aboard, with Martin Garcia to ride Conveyance in Saturday's rescheduled Southwest, said the horse's trainer, Bob Baffert.

"Calvin did me a big favor by working him," Baffert said.

Garrett Gomez was to have ridden Conveyance in the Southwest here Feb. 15, but the race was one of six races canceled because of weather conditions. It was then rescheduled for Saturday, but Gomez had a number of existing commitments at Gulfstream Park, which is running its stakes-filled Fountain of Youth card. Baffert then lined up Garcia.

"He knows the horse," Baffert said. "He works him all the time."

Conveyance, winner of the Grade 3 San Rafael at his base of Santa Anita, and Jimmy Barnes, an assistant to Baffert, will have spent an additional six days in Hot Springs by the time the Southwest rolls around the second time Saturday.

"I think it's been fine for Conveyance," Baffert said. "It's probably been harder on Jimmy. He ran out of underwear the third day."

Oaklawn opened for training late in the morning Wednesday because of freezing temperatures overnight, and all of the Southwest workers came out after the renovation break. It was sunny and 46 degrees, with the track listed as fast. Conveyance worked second set, about 1 p.m. Oaklawn clockers carried him through fractions of 12.60 for the opening eighth of a mile, 25.20 for the first quarter, 36.60 for three furlongs, and galloping out five-eighths in 1:01.40.

The move was the tab's second-fastest at the distance. Dublin earned the 48.20 bullet, after working in company, first set after the break. He was situated between two workmates, stayed with them to the late stages, and easily moved clear with jockey Terry Thompson sitting chilly on the horse for trainer D. Wayne Lukas. Clockers carried Dublin, the winner of last year's Grade 1 Hopeful, out five furlongs in 1:01.60.

Dryfly, winner of the $100,000 Smarty Jones last month at Oaklawn, also worked first set after the break, going a half-mile in 48.60 under Borel. Clockers carried him through an opening eighth of a mile in 12.80, the quarter in 25.60, three furlongs in 37.20, and out five furlongs in 1:00.80. Borel has the mount in the Southwest for Oaklawn's president, Charles Cella, and trainer Lynn Whiting.

Jockey Corey Nakatani worked both Domonation, his mount in the Southwest, and Mission Impazible, who is to be ridden by Eibar Coa. Both went a half-mile, with Domonation going the distance in 51.80, then out in 1:04.40. Domonation was third to Conveyance in the San Rafael for trainer John Sadler. Mission Impazible worked second set after the break and breezed a half-mile in 48.60 seconds. Clockers caught him galloping out five furlongs in 1:00.80. Todd Pletcher trains Mission Impazible, who will be making his two-turn debut in the Southwest.

Also on the tab was Kitty's Turn, the first of the Southwest starters to come onto the track after the renovation break ended at 12:30 p.m. He breezed a half-mile in 49 seconds under jockey Glen Murphy.

"I just wanted to stretch his legs a little," trainer Gary Thomas said.

Kitty's Turn was third in both the Smarty Jones and the $200,000 Springboard Mile at Remington Park on Dec. 13.

The Southwest is the first of two graded preps for the Grade 1, $1 million Arkansas Derby. The field was to have been redrawn Thursday. Racing officials looked for all of the original starters to return, including Cardiff Giant, the runner-up in the San Rafael; Cool Bullet, the winner of the Sugar Bowl at Fair Grounds; and Pleasant Storm, the runner-up in the Smarty Jones.

Thompson gets three days

Thompson has dropped his appeal of a Feb. 6 ruling for a riding infraction at Oaklawn and was to begin a three-day suspension on Thursday, according to his agent, Kenny Washburn. Thompson will also be down Friday and Sunday, but on Saturday is scheduled to ride Dublin in the Southwest. The suspension stems from the eighth race Feb. 4.

Thompson is the defending riding champ at Oaklawn. He is second in the current standings, one win behind Nakatani.