Race Preview: Southwest Stakes – Oaklawn Park, February 18, 2013

Matt Carter

February 18th, 2013

The feature race on Monday, President’s Day, at Oaklawn Park is the 48th running of the Grade 3 Southwest for three-year-olds who are looking to be running in Kentucky on the first Saturday in May.  This year’s race drew a field of 10 with trainer Bob Baffert looking to continue his Oaklawn dominance.

Over the last three years Baffert has won the race three times.  Last year there were two divisions of the Southwest with Baffert taking both down with Secret Circle and Castaway.  In 2010 he won with Conveyance and the last three years has won the Rebel and last year won the Arkansas Derby.  This year he brings the talented Super Ninety Nine to the Hot Springs track looking to prove the smashing allowance win last month was no fluke.

By Pulpit, Super Ninety Nine started his career with an easy win then was scratched the morning of the Breeders’ Cup where he was going to start as the favorite in the Juvenile Sprint.  He came back with two disappointing runs in sprints, but stretched out to a route of ground and ran them off their feet.  He is 7-5 on the morning line, but don’t expect that generous of a price.

If the favorite doesn’t run his race then there are a couple of alternatives, one may even make Baffert happy.  Big Lute is by Midnight Lute, who was campaigned by Bob, and makes his second career start after blitzing maidens by nearly five in his debut.  That effort even got a reaction from Baffert, who tweeted “Big Lute looked good breaking maiden at Oaklawn.”  Post 10 is not ideal, but he has been working very well for the Southwest and is 6-1 on the morning line.

Will Take Charge, Texas Bling and Always in a Tiz ran one-two-three in the local prep, the Smarty Jones, and have each way chances on Monday.  Will Take Charge was wide for the entire mile run, but Always in a Tiz may be the one to back.  The son of Tiznow was a good second in Vyjack in his second career start and was getting to Will Take Charge late in the Smarty Jones.  He gets an additional sixteenth of a mile for his closing kick and the race did come up with a lot of pace. 

Whether he can catch Super Ninety Nine is the million-dollar question.

Post time for the Southwest on Monday is 6:09 ET.  Don’t forget there is a carryover of nearly $3-million in the Rainbow Pick-6 at Gulfstream Park.