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February 25-26 Derby Prep Results

Date: 02/26/2006

Lawyer Ron winning the Southwest Stakes
The highlight race on the Triple Crown trail this weekend was Saturday's $250,000 Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park in Arkansas. The race was originally scheduled for Presidents' Day but was postponed 6 days due to an ice storm that cancelled that entire weekend at Oaklawn. Ten 3-year-olds went to post in this 1 mile event before a crowd of 22,249, and Risen Star Stakes winner Lawyer Ron was sent off as the 1-2 favorite. He was also a sentimental choice, as his owner James T. Hines Jr. died of an apparent swimming accident at his home just days before the race.

When the gate opened, jockey John McKee gently urged the favorite to the lead then sat chilly for the backstretch run, setting very easy fractions of 23.29, 48.02, and 1:27.13 while loose on the lead by as many as 2 1/2 lengths. 14-1 shot Mark of Success tracked him until the top of the stretch. With 1/4 mile left to run, 6-1 third choice Steppenwolfer swung out 4 wide around the turn after settling near the back of the pack early, and closed well through the lane. However, with the easy pace, Lawyer Ron had plenty left in the tank to hold off this late challenge by 3/4 length at the line in a very slow time of 1:40.00 over the fast track. It was 3 1/4 lengths back to 32-1 longshot Red Raymond in third, while 5-1 second choice Music School was fourth.
Results Chart

Winning trainer Bob Holthus said, "We wanted to get away from the field if we possibly could and pick the part of the racetrack we wanted to be in."  

Urban Guy winning the Mountain Valley Stakes
On the undercard was another race for 3-year-olds, the $50,000 Mountain Valley Stakes. This was the race Afleet Alex used as a "public workout" last year. A field of ten entered this 6-furlong sprint. 7-1 shot Catonight set a brisk pace of 22.58 and 46.50 down the backstretch, but 3-1 lukewarm favorite Urban Guy, who had stalked him the whole way, easily took the lead inside the 3/16 pole. Urban Guy easily drew away to a 3 3/4 length win over late-runner and 4-1 second choice Fidrych in a time of 1:12.04. It was another 1 1/4 length back to pacesetting Catonight in third.
Results Chart

Winning trainer Tim Ritchey said, "He ran very well. Robby (jockey Albarado) rode him perfect. We had discussed letting him sit back off the pace."

The following afternoon, the Triple Crown Trail moved west to Sunland Park in New Mexico for the $100,000 Borderland Derby. 9-1 shot Indy Wildcat stalked the pace of 5-1 Disappearing Trick then overtook that rival and held off the late-running 17-1 shot Wait In Line to prevail by just a head in a time of 1:44.82 for the 1 1/16 mile main track event. 6-5 favorite Doctor Decherd failed to fire, finishing a disappointing eighth.
Results Chart

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