Fox Hill Farms’ undefeated Hard Spun, winner of the LeComte Stakes Jan. 13, will be pointed for the Feb. 19 Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn instead of the Feb. 10 Risen Star (gr. III) at Fair Grounds after coming down with a minor illness, owner Rick Porter said.
“Larry (trainer Jones) and I have decided to skip the Risen Star after Hard Spun came down with the equivalent of the common cold,” Porter said. “Most of the younger horses in Larry’s barn have had coughs and runny nostrils. We could still probably have him ready for the Risen Star, which we would have preferred in order to have the luxury of coming back in the Louisiana Derby (gr. II). But we chose to use the nine days (between the Risen Star and Southwest) and really have him prepared for his next start.
“This gives us the advantage of not shipping and running on our home track. So, we are now on the Arkansas trail. Sometimes, things work out for the best. As far as graded earnings, Hard Spun will have to take care of that in the Rebel (gr. III) and Arkansas Derby (gr. II).”
Hard Spun, a Pennsylvania-bred son of Danzig, has won all four of his starts – at Fair Grounds, Philadelphia Park, and Delaware Park – and his smallest margin of victory has been five lengths.