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HRN Original Blog:
Zipse At The Track

Southwest Stakes 2017: Odds and Analysis


President’s Day brings an outstanding card of racing to the oasis at Hot Springs. Not only will the Grade 1 winner, Gun Runner, make his return in the $500,000 Razorback Handicap at Oaklawn Park on Monday, but the next piece of the puzzle on the 2017 Kentucky Derby trail will be revealed, as a field of ten lines up for the half-million-dollar Southwest Stakes. The Grade 3 event, at 1 1/16-miles on dirt, offers ten Kentucky Derby qualifying points for the winner, and features a runaway victor of the local Smarty Jones Stakes. Let’s take a look at the field, with my analysis and projected odds…

 

3) Uncontested (3-2) – After a better than it appears fourth in the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club in only his second career start, this good-looking son of Tiz Wonderful looked the part of a 6-5 favorite in last month’s Smarty Jones Stakes. Catching a sloppy track, the Wayne Catalano-trainee flashed his speed and talent on the way to a romping victory. Already proven on a dry track, he looks to make it two in a row at Oaklawn Park on Monday. With one grandsire being a two-time winner of the Breeders’ Cup Classic, and the other a Kentucky Derby winner, there is every reason to believe that this one can carry his speed to classic distances. He’s got a long, fluid stride, and has run against good horses in each of his three lifetime starts. This test will likely not be as easy as the last, but with his free-wheeling style, and plenty of talent under the saddle, it would hard to call him anything but the horse to beat. Could Dominate Again

 

4) Lookin at Lee (6-1) – When last seen, the son of Lookin At Lucky was trying in vain to make up ground on the top two in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile for trainer Steve Asmussen. He was well beaten that afternoon at Santa Anita, but he did pass the majority of the field to finish fourth. It completed a string of five straight solid rallies that also saw him become a stakes winner at Ellis Park, and finish second in a Grade 1 race at Keeneland. With little early speed, this 8 ½-furlong affair, in his first race back, might be more of a tightener for bigger things to come. Still his class, and his consistency make him a threat in here, and if the two favorites go at it early, he could be in a great position turning for home. Picking Up Horses Late

 

11) One Liner (5-1) – It would seem that Todd Pletcher has an unlimited supply of talented young horses this time of year, and in this son of Into Mischief, he very well may have another good one. He broke his maiden in fine style last summer at Saratoga, and after five months away, he did much the same three weeks ago at Gulfstream Park. He’s never faced stakes horses before, and he has never gone farther than six furlongs, so there are plenty of questions to be answered here, but to this point, he looks like he might have the goods to compete. He also looks he might be the only one with enough speed to make the top pick work early. Lightly Raced Talent

 

10) Hence (12-1) – Another from the Asmussen barn, this son of Street Boss has improved with each and every start since running greenly in his debut last August at Saratoga. Most recently, he broke his maiden on a wet track at Oaklawn Park on January 16. The horse he beat that day has come back and won, since, but more than that, it was the way Hence won that makes you wonder about how good he might turn out to be. His stumble at the start, and his erratic stretch run, while still winning, give reason to hope that there is a whole lot of talent ready to come out with a clean trip. This is a big step up, but he looks headed in the right direction. Eventful Local Win

 

2) Silver Dust (10-1) – Like One Liner, this son of Tapit has only had two lifetime starts. Both came at one-mile at Churchill Downs for trainer Randy Morse. In the first, he toiled at the rear of the pack for much of the race before making up plenty of ground to finish fifth of 11. He followed that up with an impressive maiden breaking performance in November. Off since, he shows some solid morning works locally, and could be ready to make some noise in his stakes debut. Big Upside?

 

8) Petrov (10-1) – If you think that Petrov’s loss in the Smarty Jones had a lot to do with the wet track, you should get some solid odds to support him again on Monday. He run well in each of his three starts, and at three different tracks, but my feeling is we learned who the better horse was last time, and now we have a much stronger supporting cast to deal with. He could bounce back, but I will take a stand against. Tries Uncontested Again


1) Cool Arrow (10-1) – The former claimer, and two-time stakes winner at Remington Park steps up for trainer Joe Sharp into graded stakes racing for his seasonal debut. With other quality speed to his outside, this looks like a tough spot for him to carry things all the way around. Still, I respect what the son of Into Mischief accomplished at two, and he must be respected. NOTE: Cool Arrow is out of the Southwest in favor of the Risen Star. Speed on the Rail

 

5) Rowdy the Warrior (20-1) – Has some things in common with the winner of this race last year, Suddenbreakingnews, but does this late-runner from the barn of Donnie Von Hemel have the same type of class? At this point, my guess would be no. Having said that … a little improvement, and a solid pace could get him in the mix. Suddenbreakingnews 2.0?


7) Warrior’s Club (20-1) – I want to like the Churchill Downs Racing Club horse more than I do. I just feel like he’s had his chances without being able to stick with the good horses down the lane. Perhaps the D. Wayne Lukas charge can do better on a dry track, but there is a chance of rain on Monday. I will let him beat me. Might Prefer Sprinting

 

13) Chief Know It All (20-1) – This gray son of Flashy Bull makes his stakes debut after six starts in Indiana, Kentucky, and Arkansas. With two wins and three thirds in his last five, it’s hard to knock his form too much, although he was no match for the good Guest Suite two starts back. He has good tactical speed and a nice prep over the track, so I would be not surprised if he can stick around for a piece at nice odds on Monday for trainer, Brad Cox. Longshot Possibility

 

9) Dilettante (30-1) – Another from the barn of D. Wayne Lukas with plenty of experience. The son of Unbridled’s Song finally broke his maiden in his eight start three weeks ago at Oaklawn Park, and did so in solid fashion. He also has run against several good horses in his travels. Still, I do not see enough to think he can handle this field. Recent Maiden Winner

 

12) P C Cowboy (30-1) – After surprising in a maiden race two starts ago, he was not quite good enough against Chief Know It All last time. The son of Archarcharch has room to improve for his new connections, but this looks like a very tough spot. New Connections

 

6) Cu Rahy (50-1) – He’s been outrun as a longshot in each of his last three, and his only win came in a sloppy maiden race at Remington Park. El Paso

 


 

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Meet Brian Zipse 


Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Taken to the races at a very young age, he has been lucky enough to see all the greats in person from Secretariat, Forego, and Ruffian through Rachel Alexandra, Zenyatta, and American Pharoah. Before coming to the Nation, Brian displayed his love for the sport through the development of his horse racing website, which quickly became one of the most popular blogs in the game. 

  
As Editor of Horse Racing Nation, Brian authors a daily column as Zipse at the Track, or ZATT for short, and adds his editorial flare to the overall content of the website. A big supporter of thoroughbred aftercare, he serves on the Board of Directors of The Exceller Fund. Brian also consults for leading contest site Derby Wars, and is a Vox Populi committee member. 
  
A horse owner and graduate of DePaul University, Brian lives just outside of Louisville with his wife Candice and daughter Kendra.

  

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