How to bet the 2017 Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park

Profile Picture: Ed DeRosa

Ed DeRosa

February 20th, 2017

Playing the role of Racing Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert in this year’s Southwest Stakes (click for FREE Ultimate Past Performances) is multiple Eclipse Award-winning trainer Todd Pletcher, who ships in the lightly raced One Liner to Hot Springs, Arkansas, for his stakes debut.

The Southwest has been the coming out party for Baffert in the past with the likes of Conveyance, Castaway, and Super Ninety Nine, and he has used the race as a means for stretching out horses as he did with 2011 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Sprint winner Secret Circle in 2012 (when Baffert won both divisions of a split Southwest with the aforementioned Castaway).

There is no Baffert this year, but Pletcher is no stranger to using Oaklawn as a springboard for future success, having won the 2014 Arkansas Derby with the lightly raced Danza. I hadn’t intended to pick Pletcher to do the same this year with One Liner, but after Cool Arrow scratched feel like this one will be best situated to run down Uncontested.

Being by Into Mischief out of a Cherokee Run mare, I’m not sure how far One Liner will want to go, but the 1 1/16-mile Southwest trip should be well within his scope, and these are the type of connections who like to be prominent on the Triple Crown trail, so my feeling is he’s here to win now versus as build a Derby resume.

If you think the pace will collapse, then it’s worth nothing that Rowdy the Warrior has by far the best late pace ratings, and he’s earned them in two-turn races.