Southwest Stakes undercard plays for Oaklawn Park

Profile Picture: John Mucciolo

February 25th, 2021

A trio of stakes events, led by the $750,000 Southwest S. (G3), highlight an excellent Saturday of racing at Oaklawn Park. The 11-race card has a great mix of races that offer mostly big and competitive fields. And it’s worth noting that conditioner Steve Asmussen could be in line for a huge day, as he has legitimate contenders in each of the first 10 contests, including the one to catch in the feature. His entry in the opener kicks off my top plays on the card.

Race 1 -- Starter Allowance

I really like #4 Bitumen (3-1) to get things underway in his first off the claim for Asmussen. Gelded son of Mineshaft has not been in ideal form as of late, but he has had some excuses, and the seven-year-old has been facing better than his foes have lately, as well. The dark bay will run them down in the stretch under Santana.

Race 8 -- Spring Fever S.

The dash for fillies and mares commences the Late Pick 4, and I will be singling Wesley Ward’s #9 Kimari (2-1) to start the wager. The fantastic Munnings filly has never run a bad race in her career, and I was very impressed with her victory in the Purple Mountain S. on the surface last season. The four-year-old will track the early tempo before taking over late under Rosario.

Race 9 -- Maiden Special Weight

A strong field of three-year-olds has been assembled for the six-furlong test. I am intrigued by first-time starter #6 Lazaretto (6-1) for conditioner Saffie Joseph. The Highland Yard homebred has some fleet and precocious horses on the dam’s side of his pedigree, and it interests me whenever this outfit has a starter at Oaklawn Park. If the son of Hard Spun takes any early money, then he could be quite live under Bowen.

Race 11 -- Allowance

I was on #9 Dunph (12-1) when he lit up the tote board at 57-1 odds in an allowance score on the course last campaign, and he fits well with these at a price on Saturday in his first off the Ortiz claim. Temple City gelding didn’t have a great trip when runner-up last time out and could surely improve with a cleaner voyage. Tactical sort will be forwardly placed early on with Santana in the controls.