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Yankee Passion looking at Southwest

Yankee Passion is likely headed to the Grade 3, $250,000 Southwest at Oaklawn Park following his flashy seasonal debut win at the track on Thursday. He won a six-furlong allowance in a rapid 1:10.88 in his first start since August, and for the effort he earned a career-high Beyer Speed Figure of 79.

“I’m pretty sure we’re going to point him to the Southwest,” said Larry Jones, who trains Yankee Passion.

The Southwest is the first of two local preps for the Grade 1, $1 million Arkansas Derby on April 16. It will be run at a mile, on Feb. 21. The race would be the first route start for Yankee Passion, a son of Yankee Gentleman and the Pleasant Colony mare Pleasant Pat.

“We definitely feel like he’s going to be a better two-turn horse,” Jones said. “We really have to ship him to keep him in contact with the field in these sprint races, where going long we can kind of just let him fall out of there and just sit on him and still hopefully have that same kind of kick coming out of the turn.”

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