On Saturday, the first major step on the Arkansas road to the Triple Crown
took place at Oaklawn Park as seven went to post in the $100,000 Southwest Stakes at a mile. As expected, Greater Good went off as the 1-2 favorite with Munificence the
second choice at almost 7-2.
Greater Good lived up to his favoritism in the Southwest Stakes.
When the gate opened, the favorite hopped at the start and spotted the field
two lengths right away. Jockey John McKee simply dropped him to the back of
the pack 10 lengths off the pace patiently waiting to make his move late.
Munificence got the lead right away and was loose on the lead, setting
fractions of 23.48, 47.20, 1:12.76, and 1:25.87 (seven furlongs). However,
turning for home, Greater Good circled the field five wide, and closing
through the lane, finished well to get by Munificence by 3/4 length at the
line in a time of 1:39.09 over the wet-fast track. It was 1 1/2 lengths back
to 6-1 third choice Humor At Last in third.
Winning jockey John McKee said, "I would have liked a better start and would have liked to have been closer when we came out of the first turn. I was urging him a little at that point so that we weren't too far behind. I had to use him at the half pole so that I was in contention by the quarter pole."
Distinctive Trick made the move from Philadelphia Park to Aqueduct a winning one in the Capossela Stakes.
At Aqueduct a field of six went to post in the $80,550 Fred "Cappy"
Capossela Stakes, a 6 furlong sprint on the inner dirt track. 23-1 longshot
Distinctive Trick was rushed up to the front by jockey Stewart Elliott and
saved ground on the rail through fractions of 22.82, 43.43, and 58.60. Down
the stretch, 7-2 third choice Pavo made his late move from last but was left
with too much to do as Distinctive Trick held him off by just 1/2 a length at
the wire in 1:10.96 over the fast track. It was another 1 1/2 length back to
3-1 second choice Benjamin Baby, while even-money favorite Attila's Storm was
Winning jockey Stewart Elliott said, "The trainer (Uriah St. Lewis, who
won his first New York stakes race) said there is a lot of speed in
there, so if I'm laying third, that would be fine, just as long as he was
comfortable. He broke really sharp and left there running, and made the lead
easily. Turning for home, I had horse left and he just went on." Rafael
Bejarano, aboard beaten favorite Attila's Storm, said, "I stayed second and
he was comfortable. I had a lot of horse. At the 3/8, when I asked my horse,
he ran a little bit, but got tired."