HOT SPRINGS, AR (OAKLAWN) – Don’t Tell My Wife Stables and Monomoy Stables LLC’s My Boy Jack came up a narrow opening on the rail and drew off to win Monday’s $500,000 Southwest Stakes (G3) by 4 ½ lengths over Combatant before a Presidents’ Day crowd of 20,500. In the process, he earned 10 points towards Kentucky Derby eligibility.
Ridden by Hall of Fame jockey Kent Desormeaux, My Boy Jack was unhurried early and content to race in eighth-place as Smarty Jones winner Mourinho set the early fractions of :23.46 and :47.70 for the first half mile. The winner saved all the ground by coming up the rail, avoided the jostling that took place between Combatant and third-place finisher Sporting Chance and drew off to complete the 1 1/16-mile race in 1:46 over a muddy track.
Jockey Luis Saez, on Sporting Chance, lodged an objection against Combatant’s rider Ricardo Santana Jr., but it was disallowed by the stewards. Mourhino finished a neck behind Sporting Chance in fourth and was followed by Zing Zang, Kentucky Club, Seven Trumpets, Retirement Fund, Road to Damascus and Ezmosh.
My Boy Jack, a son of Creative Cause who was a stakes winner on turf as a juvenile, has now picked up 12 points towards Kentucky Derby eligibility in this first two starts at three, both on the main track. In addition to his Southwest win, he earned two points for finishing third in the Sham Stakes at Santa Anita Jan. 6.
“The best part about the race is he’s going to a Derby,” said Desormeaux, the brother of trainer Keith Desormeaux. “It may be the Arkansas Derby, but he’s Derby bound.”
Combatant now has 12 points after also finishing second in the Smarty Jones at Oaklawn Jan. 15 and the Springboard Mile at Remington last December. Sporting Chance earned two points and Mourinho earned one point to bring his total to 11. The first four Southwest Stakes finishers are currently 13th, 14th, 15th and 26th on the Kentucky Derby list. Only the top 20 point earners can start in the Kentucky Derby.
My Boy Jack has now improved his record to 8-2-3-1 and earned $425,145. He returned $19.60, $8.20 and $5.20 at odds of 8-1.
Live racing resumes Thursday at Oaklawn with a 1:30 p.m. first post. The track’s 3-year-old series continues March 17 with the $900,000 Rebel Stakes (G2).
Southwest Stake Quotes:
Winning Jockey Kent Desormeaux, My Boy Jack – “It was a complete turnaround effort from his last start. Today he was quite calm and let me ride him and that was the biggest difference. He didn’t waste any energy going around the race track, so he flew home. Great training job by Keith.
“It looked like a repeat of the Razorback Handicap. I was able to get him up the rail, but I have to say it was a great training job by Keith (Desormeaux, trainer). Last time, (when third in Sham Stakes) he was quiet as a church mouse in the gate, but got very aggressive early and I was just skiing around there. When I turned him loose, he just galloped home. He didn’t power home like he did today.
“The best part about the race is he’s going to a Derby. It may be the Arkansas Derby, but he’s Derby bound.”
Winning trainer Keith Desormeaux, My Boy Jack – "From him to run well on dirt, we were ecstatic. I told (Kent) the horse would run well on dirt."
Trainer Steve Asmussen, second with Combatant, with Zing Zang and eighth with Retirement Fund – “I thought Retirement Fund struggled with the track. You could tell early. He broke sharp, but he never leveled off at any point. Combatant ran solid. He made up the difference on Mourinho, but was second best again today. Zing Zang, I was really concerned with as big as he is and as heavy as he is about him handling this track.”
Jockey Ricardo Santana Jr., second with Combatant – “He had the perfect trip. It was really fast, which worked for my horse. He ran his race. That was a tough race. I was happy with him.”
Trainer D. Wayne Lukas, third with Sporting Chance – “Good effort. He got shot down in the stretch, They came in on both sides and broke our momentum. Still came back to run third. Off a six, seven month layoff, I was very pleased.”
Jockey Luis Saez, third with Sporting Chance – “A pretty nice trip. When I came to the clear I thought we were going to blow them off, but he looked like he needed a break. He was a little tired but he will be ok for the next time.”
Jockey Drayden Van Dyke, fourth with favorite Mourinho – “We didn’t get the easy lead like that we did last time. I was a bit surprised that the Pletcher horse passed me like that. To be honest, I think if the track would have been faster and not the condition it’s in, I still don’t think they would have caught him. I will blame it on the track, he was swimming through it.”