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Music School may go in Southwest

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. -- The undefeated Music School could make his stakes debut Saturday in the $250,000 Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park, his trainer, Neil Howard, said Tuesday.

The one-mile race was to be run Monday, but a winter storm in the region forced the cancellation of live racing on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. A new date for the Southwest was set, and the race will be redrawn on Thursday.

Music School, who is closely related to the 2003 Horse of the Year, Mineshaft, is owned by the partnership of Will Farish, James Elkins Jr., and Temple Webber Jr.

"We've already discussed it, and it's a good possibility," Howard said of starting Music School in the Southwest.

Plans were to work the colt at his Oaklawn base on Wednesday.

"I'll probably breeze him just an easy half, in 49, 50 [seconds]," said Howard. "He worked the other day. We'll go from there."

Like Mineshaft, Music School is by A.P. Indy. He is out of the stakes-winning mare Delta Music, a half-sister to Mineshaft, the multiple Grade 1 winner who earned $2,283,402.

Robby Albarado will have the mount on Music School if he goes Saturday. He has been aboard the colt for both of his starts.

Music School overcame a bad stumble to win his debut in a 5 1/2-furlong maiden race on June 11 at Churchill Downs. After the race, he was found to have a small bone chip in his left front ankle, and it was removed. Music School made his comeback at Oaklawn on Feb. 5, when, in his only other career start, he won a one-mile entry-level allowance in a strong time of 1:39.

Nine horses possible for Southwest
Music School would make for a field of nine in the Southwest. There were eight horses, led by Lawyer Ron, originally entered in the race, and all are expected to return Saturday.

Lawyer Ron galloped 1 1/2 miles on Tuesday, the first time horses at Oaklawn have been able to train since last Friday because of freezing temperatures. There was one worker on the tab for Tuesday.

Bob Holthus, who trains Lawyer Ron, has kept the colt active during his time away from the track. He walked the shed row under tack for one hour each of the three days the track was closed for training, then was hand-walked in the afternoon, said Holthus.

"He galloped good this morning, and I think he'll just gallop into the race," said Holthus.

Holthus also has stakes winner Red Raymond for the Southwest.

Steppenwolfer is also still a go for the Southwest, said his trainer, Dan Peitz. When originally entered in the race, Robby Albarado was named to ride the colt. But with Music School now considering the Southwest, Peitz said Steppenwolfer will likely be ridden by Corey Lanerie.

Steppenwolfer last raced on Feb. 3, and won a one-mile allowance at Oaklawn.

Others expected for the Southwest are Kingsfield, Sharp Attack, Mark of Success, Celluloid Hero, and Travelin Leroy.