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Submitted photo SOUTHWEST SEASON: High North broke his maiden in his third start Oct. 26 at Keeneland. Trainer Brad Cox said he is aiming for High North to make his seasonal debut in the Grade 3 $500,000 Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park on Feb. 19.

Submitted photo SOUTHWEST SEASON: High North broke his maiden in his third start Oct. 26 at Keeneland. Trainer Brad Cox said he is aiming for High North to make his seasonal debut in the Grade 3 $500,000 Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park on Feb. 19.

Cox's High North heads Southwest

By Staff Reports
This article was published January 14, 2018 at 4:00 a.m.

Shortleaf Stable's High North is scheduled to make his 3-year-old debut in the Grade 3 $500,000 Southwest Stakes Feb. 19 at Oaklawn Park, trainer Brad Cox said Saturday morning.

Cox said High North, a son of sprint champion Midnight Lute, is scheduled to work a half-mile Sunday morning at Fair Grounds, where he has been based since late last month.

"He's doing awesome," said Cox, who has divisions at Oaklawn and Fair Grounds. "He had a tremendous work last week. He couldn't be doing any better."

High North worked a half-mile in 49 2/5 seconds last Sunday at Fair Grounds. He had a 3-furlong work (36 2/5 seconds) Dec. 24 at Oaklawn but shipped to Fair Grounds six days later to avoid a blast of arctic temperatures.

"That's totally the target," Cox said of the Southwest.

A troubled fourth in his last start, the Grade 2 $200,000 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes Nov. 25 at Churchill Downs, High North had been under consideration for a first-level allowance/optional claimer and Monday's $150,000 Smarty Jones Stakes, Oaklawn's first of four major preps for the Kentucky Derby.

"We backed off him a little bit after the Churchill race and let him regroup," Cox said. "Obviously the Kentucky Derby being the goal, we've got to make our starts count."

High North is a half-brother to Benner Island, who won the Grade 2 $200,000 Eight Belles Stakes for 3-year-old fillies last May at Churchill Downs for Cox and Shortleaf Stable for John Ed Anthony, of Hot Springs. High North finished fourth in his Aug. 26 career debut at Saratoga before breaking his maiden Oct. 26 at Keeneland in his third start.

"This is the best colt I've probably ever had," Cox said. "I like this colt."

Sports on 01/14/2018
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