This year's road to the Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) has only a few more doors left to pass through. But the scene so far at each one has resembled a slapstick comedy routine where everyone tries to go through a door at the same time, and no one gets through.
Lawyer Ron looks to run his winning streak to five as the likely choice in a 10-horse field for the Rebel Stakes (gr. III) Saturday at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Ark. Private Vow, who won four of six races last year, makes his long-awaited 3-year-old debut.
Lawyer Ron took another step forward with his victory in Saturday's Southwest Stakes, extending his winning streak to four. But he still left a major question unanswered. Despite the lack of stakes action last week, there were several horses around the country who stepped up and made people take notice.
Prohibitive favorite Lawyer Ron overcame some early eagerness to record a gate-to-wire win in the $250,000 Southwest Stakes for 3-year-olds at Oaklawn Park for his fourth straight victory Saturday.
There will be a good deal of emotion surrounding Saturday's $250,000 Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park, as Lawyer Ron tries to extend his impressive three-race winning streak following the death his owner, James T. Hines Jr., who died in a swimming pool accident at his home earlier in the week.
This year's top 3-year-olds at Oaklawn Park are Lawyer Ron and Music School. Lawyer Ron is the Downey Profile pick to win Saturday's Southwest Stakes, but another important issue is whether Music School will show improvement in his second outing this year, and if so, how much.
It is mid-February, and although the 3-year-olds look to be a solid bunch, there are few standouts. With question marks surrounding some of the leading contenders and the top spots up for grabs, it's time to check out the second wave, which includes several horses whose bandwagons are ready to take on passengers.
Several of the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) preps fell apart last weekend, and the Southern California invaders got hammered by the boys up North in the El Camino Real Derby (gr. III), but we did see an honest, classy colt in Cause to Believe, and there was plenty of other news on the Derby trail.
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