Editor’s Note: If you are looking for the latest Southwest Stakes Preview, please click here. The post below was for the race on February 16, 2015, but was cancelled due to inclement weather.
2015 Southwest Stakes Preview
The Road to the Kentucky Derby continues with a special President’s Day racing card at Oaklawn Park. The grade 3 Southwest Stakes will be run at one and one sixteenth miles at Oaklawn over their main track. The grade 3 event has a purse of $300,000 with an opportunity to win up to 10 points towards the Kentucky Derby Leaderboard.
This is the final race of the Kentucky Derby Prep Season before there is a transition to the Kentucky Derby Championship Series. The latter sees the points ramp up to 50 for a win, 20 points for a second place finish, 10 points for a third place finish, and 5 points for a fourth place finish.
The Southwest Stakes has a full field of 12 horses. Post time is scheduled for 6:09 PM Eastern Time for the Southwest Stakes, which is the ninth of ten races on the racing card. Free past performances can be found here. The top four horses from the Smarty Jones Stakes here at Oaklawn on January 19 also return for this race.
Here is a look at each horse in the 2015 Southwest Stakes.
1. J S Bach (4-1 Morning Line) – He started his career on December 19 with a second place finish going five and a half furlongs at Gulfstream. He followed that solid debut with a crushing eight and a 1/2 length victory going a mile and a sixteenth at Gulfstream on January 17. He does move up into grade 3 company for this race, but the rail spot and his early speed will keep him in this race. Disregard at your own risk.
2. Far Right (3-1 ML) – His last race was the Smarty Jones Stakes where he burst through on the rail to win by nearly 2 lengths. Prior to that he had back-to-back third place finishes in the grade 3 Delta Jackpot and the listed Street Sense Stakes. He had a solid pace to run at last time, but there does not appear to be as much speed. If he runs back to his last race, he will be close at the finish line.
3. Private Prospect (15-1 ML) – He finished fourth in the Smarty Jones Stakes by 2 3/4 lengths, but he was running evenly throughout much of the race. Prior to that he was 9th in the grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and second in the grade 3 Arlington-Washington Futurity. He rates at an outsider here, but may hit the superfecta ticket.
4. Bayerd (8-1 ML) – After breaking his maiden by 11 lengths in his second start, he won 2 of his next 3 races in stakes competition before heading to the Smarty Jones Stakes last time out. He finished second in that race behind Far Right and after Mr. Z bore out in deep stretch. It was a solid race but he had every opportunity to draw off and win. His ceiling here is underneath.
5. The Truth Or Else (20-1 ML) – This son of Yes It’s True needed four starts to break his maiden and then went on to start in three straight grade 1 or 2 races. The first two resulted in third place finishes while the last one was a sixth place finish where he lost by 16 lengths. His latest race was on November 29 and he has been working well in the morning. The feeling here is that he will need this race.
6. Kantune (15-1 ML) – It has taken this guy a while to break his maiden, which he did last time out in his seventh start. To his credit, he has not run poorly in any of his 7 career starts with his worst finish being fourth by 3 lengths. He will be near the lead and if the pace is slow enough perhaps he can hang on for a piece.
7. Phenomenal Phoenix (30-1 ML) – He started his career at Remington Park with a third place finish before crushing his foes in his second start by 5 1/2 lengths. He stepped up into stakes competition in his third start and finished fourth by 6 lengths. Last time out, he was entered in an optional claiming $75,000 and finished second by a length. He is adding blinkers for this race, but he has to make a vast improvement to contend.
8. Majestico (30-1 ML) – His first four starts were all on turf including the grade 3 Bourbon where he finished fourth despite being a maiden in that race. His fourth start on turf was his maiden breaker and he was moved to dirt for his next two starts. He has not been competitive in those two starts and given the quality of this field, he will have another tough start here.
9. Bold Conquest (12-1 ML) – He has run decently in all four of his starts beginning with his two maiden races at Saratoga. He was second by three lengths in his debut before winning his second start by a head. He finished second again in the grade 3 Iroquois at Churchill before a third place finish in the grade 1 Breeders’ Futurity. That start was more than four months ago and he may need this race.
10. Mr. Z (7-2 ML) – He is the most experienced runner in this field with 9 starts and the last 8 have come in stakes competition. The biggest concern for this runner is two-fold. First, he has 9 starts with only 1 win, but 4 seconds, and 2 thirds. The other concern is his last race when he veered out badly in deep stretch and finished third. He is certainly talented and classy, but his inability to win makes him a dangerous proposition at short odds.
11. War Story (4-1 ML) – This guy is lightly raced with only 3 starts to his resume. He won his debut at Churchill on November 1 by 2 3/4 lengths and the followed that up with another win at the Fair Grounds on December 28 by 2 3/4 lengths as well. Last time out he ran in the grade 3 LeComte where he had the lead in the stretch, but was run down by International Star to lose by 2 1/2 lengths. He has solid works and if he can get good position prior to the first turn, he should have a good chance at winning this race.
12. Bold Animaux (30-1 ML) – He broke his maiden at Gulfstream Park West in October over the turf course before being crushed in the Juvenile Turf Stakes for Florida breds. He has raced 5 times in his career, all on turf with the last race in a $40,000 open claiming race. This is a very odd spot for him to try dirt and appears to be a deserved longshot.
This race is a mix of classy and established stakes performers as well as up and coming maiden winners. #11 War Story is the top choice here, but his chances are contingent on getting a good spot from the wide post position. #1 J S Bach will have the rail and could be the controlling speed from that spot. He looks dangerous here. #4 Bayerd has an excellent record of 6 starts and six on the board finishes and he should be a decent price based on his 8-1 morning line. #2 Far Right could certainly win this race as well after his rail running and powerful burst in the Smarty Jones a month back. #10 Mr. Z is not in the top four based on his veering out last race and his inability to win races consistently. That does not mean he will not hit the board, but it is best to have him prove he can beat you from the win angle.
1. War Story
2. J S Bach
4. Far Right
Check back on Monday evening for a recap of the 2015 Southwest Stakes.