Sierra Sunset came from a stalking position to run second, while Liberty Bull rallied to dead-heat with Sacred Journey, the early pacesetter, for third.
Denis of Cork, a Florida-bred from the first crop of Harlan's Holiday, out of the Unbridled mare Unbridled Girl, is now unbeaten in three starts. Running under the pink silks with a teal sash of William and Suzanne Warren Jr., Denis of Cork broke his maiden Nov. 24 at Churchill Downs at first asking, then won an entry-level allowance race at Fair Grounds in the slop Jan. 19. He is trained by David Carroll.
In the Southwest, Sacred Journey broke on top and carried his speed to an open-length advantage early. Chased by Silver Edition and Sierra Sunset, Sacred Journey set quick early splits of :22.72, :45.25, and 1:10.83. The seven-furlong fraction was 1:24.67.
Turning for home, he was challenged by Sierra Sunset while Denis of Cork came with a wide move under Robby Albarado.
A $250,000 Barretts March sale 2-year-old, Denis of Cork was bred by Westbury Stables. In winning the Southwest, Denis of Cork paid $11.60, $5.40, and $3.60. Sierra Sunset returned $9.60 and $6.40. Liberty Bull paid $3.80 and Sacred Journey returned $4.20. The 8-6 exacta returned $141.80.
Turf War, the 5-2 favorite in the 11-horse field, was bumped slightly at the break and was far off the pace early. He rallied mildly to finish mid-pack.