Sebastian County Captures Northern Spur
by Jack Shinar
Date Posted: 4/12/2008 6:07:11 PM
Last Updated: 4/15/2008 8:02:16 AM

Sebastian County holds off Poni Colada to take the Northern Spur.
Photo: Coady Photography
Sebastian County, a clear leader a furlong from home, held off Poni Colada by a head to win the $75,000 Northern Spur for 3-year-olds on the Arkansas Derby (gr. II) program at Oaklawn Park April 12.

The one-mile test was the first two-turn effort for the Dream Walkin Farms' homebred colt, a full brother to grade III winner and sire Cactus Ridge. Trained by Don Von Hemel, Sebastian County, a son of Hennessy--Double Park (by Lycius) is nominated for the Triple Crown.

With regular pilot Larry Sterling Jr. aboard, Sebastian County inherited a 2 1/2-length lead when the front-running Comic Romeo, ridden by Eusebio Razo, broke down approaching the furlong pole. Poni Colada, far back early, rallied nicely on the outside for Robby Alabarado to challenge in the final strides, coming up just short.

Comic Romeo was euthanized after shattering a leg.

Never out of the money in six starts, Sebastian County earned his first stakes win and third victory overall. Sebastian County ran third in the Arlington-Washington Futurity (gr. III) on the Arlington Park Polytrack as a 2-year-old. He finished third in the Mountain Valley Stakes at Oaklawn earlier in the meet and was coming off a runner-up finish against allowance foes March 14. The chestnut has earned $113,970.

Sebastian County rated nicely in fourth as 6-5 choice Ferragamo, pressed by Comic Romeo, set solid fractions on a fast track -- :22.87, :46.19, and 1:11.64. Ferragamo gave way in the drive, eventually finishing seventh as Comic Romeo went on with it. Sebastian County rounded the turn four wide to challenge for the lead, suddenly opening up when Comic Romeo stopped. The final time was 1:37.98.

Ide Like a Double, with Kerwin Clark in the irons, finished third, 3 3/4 lengths behind.

Ferragamo, it was later determined, sustained a career-ending slab fracture of the left knee during the race. He was to ship to Lexington April 13 for surgery the following day. Trainer Larry Jones said the stakes-winning Ferragamo will be saved for stud.

The winner, carrying 117 pounds, five fewer than the runner-up, paid $12.80, $5.40, and $3.40. Poni Colada, winner of Sunland's Borderland Derby earlier this year, returned $5.80 and $3.20. The Louisiana-bred Ide Like a Double, coming off a 7 1/4-length win in the Crescent City Derby over state-breds at Fair Grounds March 22, paid $3.60 to show.

(Chart, Equibase)


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