HOT SPRINGS, AR – Mike Pressley’s homebred Super Steed added another chapter to his unorthodox young career on Monday when he used an extremely wide trip to propel himself to victory in the Grade 3, $500,000 Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park.
Breaking at his own pace from post 6 as the longest shot on the board (62/1), Super Steed and jockey Terry Thompson had to steady heading into the clubhouse turn to avoid clipping heels with the 2/1 favorite Cutting Humor. Forced to run near the rear, Super Steed watched as Jersey Agenda and Gray Attempt battled up front through opening fractions of :23.43, :47.63, and 1:12.73. Advancing steadily down the middle of the backstretch, Super Steed found himself precariously perched five-wide heading into the far turn. Thompson put him to task and Super Steed responded sharply, rounding the turn strongly and taking off once he straightened for home. The run to the wire couldn’t come quickly enough for the Larry Jones trainee, who came under late pressure from Sueno, but he had enough left to hold on and cross with a 3/4-length advantage in a final time of 1:44.05 for the 1 1/16-mile event over the fast main track.
“He ran just a beautiful race,” Thompson said. “He wasn’t as aggressive. The other day (in the $150,000 Smarty Jones Stakes here on January 25), he got shuffled back, but he was aggressive. Today, everything was in flow. It worked out perfect. Larry said wherever we were, make sure he gets the lead heading into stretch. He has a big heart.”
Long Range Toddy, second last time out in the Smarty Jones, had to steady near the 1/4 pole and split foes soon after, but he ultimately charged up late to take third. Six Shooter finished fourth ahead of Bankit, while Boldor outkicked an unresponsive Cutting Humor for sixth. Jersey Agenda faded to eighth, with Ninth Street, Olympic Runner, and a spent Gray Attempt completing the order of finish.
The Southwest is part of the Road to the 2019 Kentucky Derby prep race season. Super Steed earned 10 points for the win, with Sueno receiving 4 for second, Long Range Toddy 2 for third, and Six Shooter 1 for fourth.
Super Steed’s win was his first since his maiden-breaking effort, which oddly enough came in an allowance race against winners (including Boldor) at Churchill Downs on November 24. The 3-year-old son of Super Saver increased his career bankroll to $364,500 to go with a 5-2-1-0 record for co-owners Pressley and Steed Jackson.
“He’s a nice horse,” Jones said. “In the Smarty Jones, they ran a merry-go-round race. Terry did a good job. He had him in a good spot. This is very good. It’s been a while since Terry and I have been in this position. This is wonderful.”
Super Steed returned $126.60 to win, $39.80 to place, and $19.80 to show. Sueno brought back $7.80 to place and $5 to show, while Long Range Toddy paid $5.40 to show.