Swing and Sway wins Oaklawn’s Carousel in the slop

Saturday, April 7th, 2018

By Sarah Mace

Westrock Stables LLC’s Swing and Sway (Maclean’s Music) thrives at Oaklawn Park, her springtime home-base, and loves off-going. With both factors at play on Saturday afternoon, she won the 6-furlong, $150,000 Carousel Stakes by a half-length to earn her second victory of the spring meet in Hot Springs.

Winner of Oaklawn’s 6-furlong American Beauty on a sloppy (sealed) racetrack two races back on January 27, and a closing third in the Spring Fever at the same venue on March 3, Swing and Sway was still only third choice at odds of 3-1 in the Carousel’s field of five. First choice was odds-on Grade 2 Prioress winner Vertical Oak trained by Steve Asmussen, and second in the betting was Bad Cox-trained Mythical Tale, an up-and-comer who earned a 91 Beyer Speed Figure last out in an Oaklawn allowance.

Swing and Sway went with the vanguard following a good break and established position at the rail, with Vertical Oak and Mythical Tale stacked up on even terms to her outside.

Vertical Oak, between horses, eventually got a half-length advantage over her two rivals clocking a testing quarter-mile in 22.32, leaving Swing and Sway penned down on the fence in very tight quarters. In the approach to the far turn, the filly took back two lengths and let the Vertical Oak and Mythical Tale continue the duel alone.

Regrouping on the bend through a half in 46.10, Swing and Sway angled out three wide late in the far turn, caught back up with the leading pair and collared Mythical Tale.

With Swing and Sway and Vertical Oak left to fight it out, Swing and Sway gained an advantage by mid-stretch and began to draw off, but had to be urged to the wire by jockey David Cabrera to hold off a menacing late bid by Thoughtless. Swing and Sway prevailed over the the would-be spoiler by a half-length.

Vertical Oak held on to third, followed across the line by Impasse and Mythical Tale. The final time for six furlongs over the sloppy (sealed) track was 1:11.20.

Pilot David Cabrera was ecstatic. “This filly, she was so calm in the paddock,” he said. “She was doing everything right and I knew she could run big. I thought if I broke on top I would just sit there. As the speed got going pretty fast, I just let her sit where she was comfortable, and she responded to me. That’s what I was expecting out of her and that’s what she gave me. I love that filly!”

Trainer Ron Moquett recounted his thoughts as he second-guessed Cabrera’s tactics during the running of the race. “I was questioning the move at the quarter pole and then I was stating [Cabrera’s] brilliance in the stretch. Trainer’s play-by-play: ‘What are you doing? Oh, yeah, great, that worked great.’”

The conditioner is also looking forward to the rest of the season with his 4-year-old filly. “Not only is she talented, but now she’s improving with consistency. That could make for a really fun rest of the year.”

A winner of five races (three on off-tracks) with three seconds and a third from 15 starts, Swing and Sway has earned $345,540.

Bred by Canyon Lake Thoroughbreds and foaled at Keane Stud in Amenia, Swing and Sway is out of Placerita a winning Kentucky-bred Gilded Time mare. Placerita has produced eight winners from 10 foals to start. Swing and Sway leads the pack, followed by closely by graded stakes winner Sticksstatelydude by First Dude ($345,057) and Saturday Nite Ride (Flower Alley), who won four stakes races in Canada ($220,471). The family tree boasts Grade 1 winners The Big Beast and Slew the Dragon.

Swing and Sway first changed hands for $50,000 as a short yearling at the 2015 Keeneland January mixed sale, going to Walter Bloodstock. Purchased by Woodford Sales for $117,000 at the Fasig-Tipton New York-bred preferred yearling sale in Saratoga, she posted a co-bullet :9 4/5 breeze in the under-tack show at the OBS March sale of 2-year-olds, where she was purchased by Westrock Stables for $185,000.

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