Diodoro: Keepmeinmind to skip Southwest and await Rebel

Diodoro: Keepmeinmind to skip Southwest and await Rebel
Photo: Robert Yates

When the field is drawn Tuesday for Saturday's $750,000 Southwest Stakes (G3) at Oaklawn Park, one name will not be in the entry box -- Keepmeinmind

Trainer Robertino Diodoro on Tuesday morning notified the Oaklawn racing office that Keepmeinmind would bypass the twice-delayed Southwest, Oaklawn's first official stop on the road to the Kentucky Derby, and await the $1 million Rebel (G2) on March 13. Both are contested at 1 1/16-miles. The Rebel awards 50 Kentucky Derby qualifying points and 85 points in all to the top four finishers.

Extreme winter weather in Arkansas the past two weeks has wreaked havoc on the racing and training schedule at Oaklawn Park. The track had been closed for training since Feb. 11 before reopening on Tuesday.

As a result of this lost training time, Diodoro made the decision to delay the sophomore bow of Keepmeinmind, winner of last year's Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) and third-place finisher in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile. 

Among those expected for the Southwest are 2-year-old champion Essential Quality, multiple Grade 1 winner Jackie's Warrior and Southern California shipper Spielberg, a Grade 2 winner for trainer Bob Baffert. 

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