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Southwest Stakes: Tiz The Time

This upcoming holiday Monday, the Kentucky Derby Championship Series will run the last of the 10-4-2-1 Derby points prep races under the new Churchill Downs points system format for a 2013 Derby starting berth: the $300,000 G3 Southwest Stakes. It is a 1 1/16 mile race for 3-year-old Kentucky Derby hopefuls hosted by Oaklawn Park. The top-three finishers from the January Smarty Jones Stakes, also contested at Oaklawn, Will Take Charge, Texas Bling and Always in a Tiz, respectively, have a return engagement in the Southwest in the hopes of earning more valuable points toward Kentucky Derby eligibility. The Southwest Stakes is often used as a prep race for the $600,000 G2 Rebel Stakes, which will be held this year on March 16th.


Since the start of 2013, there have been well documented winners and some large wining margins in the initial stage of the "Kentucky Derby Prep Season" Goldencents (Sham), Oxbow (Lecomte), Itsmyluckyday (Holy Bull), Flashback (Robert Lewis), Revolutionary (Withers). The accolades have also extended out (rightfully so) to impressive maiden and allowance winner, Verrazano, who has yet to earn a single point. Let's not forget juvenile champ, Shanghai Bobby, and Cash Call Futurity winner, Violence, who sits atop many Derby "Top Ten" lists. That is a highly accomplished and impressive group of equines and a tough nut to crack. However, given all that those winners have achieved up to this point, one 3-year old that has caught my attention throughout these early preps thus far is the aforementioned, Always In A Tiz, a fast-closing third in the Smarty Jones Stakes.


Always In A Tiz was shipped to Arkansas from New York by trainer Dominick Schettino following a second in the Traskwood Stakes at Aqueduct, and Paco Lopez shipped from south Florida to ride. After breaking in a tangle, getting dirt kicked in his face most of the race, being blocked down on the rail until the head of the stretch, he finally shook loose. Through the short Oaklawn stretch he came flying down the outside, and missed by a half-length of catching the winner. It was evident to my eyes that Lopez, riding for the first time at Oaklawn, misjudged the stretch, moved too late and the finish line (located at the 16th pole) came up too fast. Nonetheless, I absolutely loved the toughness this colt displayed in that event, something that will go a long way in crowded and competitive races such as the "Run For The Roses."


Based off his performance in the Smarty Jones Stakes and his distance breeding, he's the type of horse I would have loved to taken a chance on in Pool 1 of the Kentucky Derby future wager, but Always In A Tiz was lumped into the 9-5 mutuel field that closed even lower at 8-5. Hopefully in Pool 2, he is a separate entity, but he has to start winning races just to qualify under the newly installed points system.


The Tiznow colt owns just a 3-race resume, including his maiden win back in September at Saratoga against eventual Withers winner, Revolutionary, so there's plenty of room for improvement. The Southwest on President's Day will be his third race off the layoff at a longer distance, and coupled with better race riding judgement from jockey Lopez this time around, I'm expecting big things.


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Older Comments about Southwest Stakes: Tiz The Time...

The more I look at 99, the tougher he looks. Not sure where our Texas Bling will end-up, but I think he will make the winner earn it. Perhaps he'll be the one to get his picture taken. Tough time with Tiz and Lute. I can picture either one winning, or running dead last.
I'm going Texas Bling, Brown Almighty, and Will Take Charge in any order.
WTC ran pretty hard-nosed last time. He'll get a good test today.
im rooting on will take charge his mother and brother are stone runners with the mother being a champion
I'm about 15 miles from Oaklawn by the way the crow flies, and it's starting to rain. Cloudy skies.
IMO, 6 of 10 runners have a legitimate shot. I'm kinda surprised about how little the discussion has focused on Will Take Charge.
The Lute should hiti the board
Alex lost a shoe last start, that equip problem didn't help his performance last out, so im going to use him in my super....All the best to you Zip on your win wager with him....Im standing firm on 'TIZ..
After studying the pp's and in anticipation of the odds, I'm going with Officer Alex.
My job is safe since there has to be a photo in each race!
According to the gubbment, there is no money and 109 people were laid off at Woodbine since Jan. 1st
@travel_vic; There hasn't been any news that indicates live racing will continue in 2013. We are all still hoping for resolution.
Officer Alex and Big Lute
Any news of a buyer at Fort Erie. Understand that the bid for a NASCAR track fell through. What next??
Always in a Tiz is #5 on my Derby List. I'd happy happy if he runs the same type of race as in the Smarty Jones. He wants/needs 9-10 furlongs, so this 1 1/16 is simply another step towards the big prize (KY Derby).
Always in a Tiz is actually my favorite of the SJ trio, but I fear Super 99, I tell you I, I fear him.

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                                                                              MEET THE TRACKMAN




Hi, my name is Nick Costa a.k.a. Trackman. As for my "nickname" of Trackman, it came about the following way: When people, either friends or family would inquire as to where I was going, my reply was always the same, "I'm going to the track man." I was born and raised in Niagara Falls, New York, about a 30 minute drive from the racetrack, in Fort Erie, Canada.  I was five years old the first time I attended the races. My father, who was a regular at the track, took me to Fort Erie. My first recollections were of just running up and down the stairs to and from our grandstand seats and the walking ring. Of course, after viewing the horses, I would run back up the stairs, and tell my father who to bet. He would look at me quizzically, and then proceed to place a $2 dollar wager on my selection for me. Through the years, with continuous trips to Fort Erie, and also to Woodbine and the now defunct Greenwood, my father would take the time to explain all the information in the Daily Racing Form. After I learned the basics of handicapping, I never met a racing Form I didn't like. If I had spent as much time on my studies as I did reading the Form, I probably could be sitting on the Supreme Court. Those early horse playing days have  lasted into my adulthood, as I still play the races today on a regular basis. But now I have added a couple of new dimensions. First, I officially became a licensed thoroughbred race horse owner back in 2000, fulfilling a dream come true. Fort Erie, where I mostly play the races and race my horses, is still my favorite track. It's my home track, where I fell in love with everything about the sport. In addition to the tracks mentioned that I visited with my father, I have graced the grounds of Churchill
Downs (Derby 134 and several Breeders' Cups), Saratoga, Mountaineer, Gulfstream Park, Sam Houston Race Track, Presque Isle, Monmouth Park and Belmont Park. Second, I started to write a few years ago when I started my own blog, called Triple Crown Chase.

The blog was established to provide some personal insight about the horses and trainers who compete against one another in the 3 yr old prep races leading up to the Kentucky Derby. I preview and review the preps races and extend coverage to include the Preakness and Belmont. Last year, my blog previewed the Canadian Triple Crown races for the first time. The second leg, The Prince Of Wales Stakes, is run at my home track of Fort Erie. I am honored and thrilled to be on board with Horse Racing Nation and I want to thank everyone for their support.

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