Far Right Romps to Win in “Sloppy” Southwest
The connections of many top level race horses are understandably fearful of bad weather. The equine athlete’s physiology is very delicate in the best of circumstances and especially so during bad weather. With horrible weather at Arkansas’ Oaklawn Park last Sunday many horsemen would have scratched out of the Grade 3 $300,000 Southwest. Ron Moquett kept his promising colt Far Right in the race and he gutted out a ¾ length victory over The Truth or Else on a horribly sloppy track.
Moquett has a very strong potential Kentucky Derby entrant on his hands. Far Right won his three year old debut in January at Oaklawn winning the $150,000 Smarty Jones. He picked up 10 Derby qualification points for his victory and paid bettors $7.40 for the victory. The Truth or Else ran second earning four qualification points ahead of third place Mr. Z (2 points) and fourth place Bold Conquest. (1 point).
After winning the Smarty Jones with a ride along the rail Mike Smith went against conventional wisdom and pointed Far Right outside despite the nasty weather. Smith admitted that his move was counter-intuitive saying that the rail “didn’t seem like the place to be today, but he made it look good.”
Far Right’s win was a ‘gut check’ performance according to his trainer Moquett. He made clear that he was pleased with how well Far Right handled the poor track conditions which he said was his only concern heading into the race. Moquett said that his confidence in the horse and jockey Smith dispelled any thoughts of scratching from the race and concluded “A good horse overcomes the situation, and I was very proud for the horse, for the owners, and for the barn.”
The next step on Far Right’s Derby prep trail is still up in the air. The Southwest was originally scheduled for President’s Day, February 16. The race had to be postponed due to bad weather which leaves only 20 days of preparation for the Grade 2, $750,000 Rebel Stakes which was originally slated to be Far Right’s next race. Now the connections are thinking about staying on the sidelines until the April 11 Grade 1, $1 million Arkansas Derby.