Player Quick Pick for 2/17/2014

Profile Picture: Molly Jo Rosen

Molly Jo Rosen

February 17th, 2014

The fun part about this time of year is that we start figuring out who belongs in the Kentucky Derby picture. And - in order to get there - we get fantastic wagering opportunities like today's Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park.

This is a really interesting field of 12 horses (11 betting interests), so how would we play it?

1-Tanzanite Cat: speed is bred to stretch 1A-Paganol: steps up v. good foes off debut win for hot connections 2 - Tapiture: has done nothing wrong & finally put it together last out 3-Coastline: in off tough outside draw in the Smarty Jones 4-Louies Flower: taking the Will Take Charge route & has answered every call 5-Kendall's Boy: speed hung on last out 6-Walt: nice last work & has 1 bad (forgivable) race on his resume 7-Strong Mandate: has to prove 2 good Saratoga races weren't a fluke 8-Ride On Curlin: well-bred with win over the strip & doesn't need a clean trip 9-Son of Dixie: good efforts but hasn't quite put it together v. this caliber yet 10-Fire Starter: maiden win was freaky but trouble-prone Tapit has to settle 11-Bourbonize: can't get better than undefeated, but what has he beaten?


Strong Mandate is back off a solid third place finish in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile with a string of good works for D.Wayne Lukas. Coach is having a good meet in terms of hitting the board, even if his win percentage isn't stellar at 9%.

If the rule is Always Bet An Entry (it's 2 for the price of 1!), then definitely use Tanzanite Cat: a speedy son of Graeme Hall looking for his third straight win after breaking his maiden then taking the Smarty Jones last out; his entry-mate is Paganol, an impressive debut winner. Tapiture draws the rail and is back off a freshening since breaking his maiden (finally!) in the G2 Kentucky Jockey Club at the end of the Churchill Downs fall meet.

Honorable mentions go to Coastline, a talented colt who overcame a tough outside post in the Smarty Jones to run a good enough third; Walt, who crushed the workmate in a between-the-races workout on Thursday and hasn't done much wrong; and Ride On Curlin, a really well-bred bay whose proven he doesn't need a clean trip to win.

My wagering advice: 8 - 6 - 2 - 4 - 1