High-profile Kentucky Derby (gr. I) hopefuls Old Fashioned, Silver City, and Flat Out are all likely for the Feb. 16 Southwest (gr. III) at Oaklawn, and now it seems there’s a new contender coming from Southern California by the name of Square Eddie.
Coming from the barn of Doug O’Neill, Square Eddie finished a length and a quarter behind Midshipman in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (gr. I) and had an impressive score in the Breeders’ Futurity (gr. I) at Keeneland as a 2-year-old. As a 3-year-old, Square Eddie ran second in the San Rafael (gr. III) at Santa Anita. The question for the son of Smart Strike is, will he like a dirt surface?
“We are real excited about coming to Oaklawn,” said O’Neill by phone from California. “The big reason is we need to try him on dirt. He trains over at Hollywood Park where they have a dirt training track and really seems to go over that well. I don’t think he will have any problems with it, but we need to give him a race over it.
“He’s an extremely smart, classy and big colt. We have been real lucky with him and look forward to see how he runs in the Southwest. This race comes at a perfect time for him. We will ship in about 10 days before the race, and the plan is to give him a work over the track either on the eighth or ninth of February.”
Rafael Bejarano, who has ridden the chestnut colt in all of his U.S. starts, will retain the mount for the one-mile Southwest.