A hearty son of first-year sire Johannesburg, Teuflesberg took his eight rivals wire to wire, defeating Officer Rocket by 1 1/2 lengths. It was another length back to Forty Grams. Hard Spun, the previously unbeaten 1-2 favorite, finished another half-length back in fourth.
After early splits of :23.68 and :47.90, Teuflesberg covered the mile over the fast track in 1:38.20.
With blinkers off for the first time in his career and a new rider in Stewart Elliot, Teuflesberg paid $48.80, $20, and $10.80. Runner-up Officer Rocket returned $9.80 and $5.40 and Forty Grams paid $6.40 to show. The 4-5 exacta paid $365.40.
Frank Fletcher Racing Operations' Officer Rocket, with Calvin Borel up, was making his second start of the year for trainer Bob Holthus. The Officer colt ran fourth in the 5½-furlong Dixieland Stakes at Oaklawn Jan. 19. Forty Grams, trained by Steve Asmussen, came into the Southwest off a 13-length win over allowance company at a mile at the Fair Grounds.
Breaking from the outside post, Hard Spun was held up in fifth early and traveled wide on both turns. Under Mario Pino, he got within a length of the winner after six furlongs in 1:12.06, but flattened out in the lane.
Trained by Jamie Sanders and owned by Sanders, Gary Logsdon, and Donnie Kelly, Teuflesberg has been pitched high throughout his career. While still a maiden in his third career start, he took Scat Daddy to the wire, missing by a neck in the Sanford Stakes (gr. II) at Saratoga last July. After a seventh-place finish in the Lane's End Breeders' Futurity (gr. I) at Keeneland, he broke his maiden by 2¾ lengths going about seven furlongs on the Polytrack and was then tossed into the Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I). After a 10th-place finish in the Breeders' Cup, he rattled off back-to-back victories in an allowance and in the $74,250 Sugar Bowl Stakes going six furlongs at Fair Grounds Dec. 24.
Bred in Kentucky by Richard Giacopelli, Teuflesberg is out of the Devil's Bag mare St. Michele. He was a $9,000 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky October sale yearling.
He kicked off his 3-year-old campaign finishing third to Southwest favorite Hard Spun in the LeComte Stakes (gr. III) Jan. 13. Since then, he delivered a bullet 1:13 3/5 work Jan. 29 at the Fair Grounds for six furlongs and then breezed a half-mile in :47 1/5 Wednesday.
Elliott said he was aware of Hard Spun's position.
"I saw the favorite coming up on the outside of us," Elliott said. "I decided I wasn't going to let him creep up on us and wanted to make him run. When we hit the stretch I said to myself, 'If he isn't here by now he's not going to get here."
"He's one of those horses that isn't happy unless he's training or racing," Sanders said.
Sanders said she's felt Teuflesberg was of Kentucky Derby caliber since "before he ever ran."
Jones said he is still looking ahead to the Rebel for Hard Spun, whose smallest margin of victory in his four wins was five lengths.
"You've got to understand that it's horse racing," said Jones said of the loss. "Anything can happen. That's why they call it gambling."
"We're proud that if we didn't win today that he did," Jones said of the winner.
"The outside post hurt in this race," Pino said. "Down the backside it felt like he was struggling with the going a little bit. Still at the three-eighths pole I felt like he was going to put us right into the race but he didn't."