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Strong Mandate 2-1 Southwest Favorite

Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas has had a lot of luck preparing his young horses at Oaklawn for Triple Crown race success dating back to 1985 when Tank’s Prospect won the Arkansas Derby and then the Preakness Stakes. In 1996, the Lukas-trained Grindstone used a second in the Arkansas Derby as a launching pad to victory in the Kentucky Derby and most recently, Oxbow finished second to his champion stablemate Will Take Charge in the 2013 Rebel Stakes before going on to win the Preakness Stakes.

The latest horse from the Lukas stable hoping to take the Arkansas path to Kentucky and beyond is Robert Baker and William Mack’s Strong Mandate, the 2-1 morning line favorite for Monday’s $300,000 Southwest Stakes (G3). The Tiznow colt will be making his 3-year-old debut in the 1 1/16-mile race after closing out his 2-year-old season with a third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1). He will have the services of 2013 Kentucky Derby winning rider Joel Rosario.

“We’re all looking forward to it,” said Lukas. “We hold this horse in such high regard. It’s time to get started with spring rolling around and getting ready for the Triple Crown trail. We’re excited to see him run.”

While Strong Mandate has already established himself as a Triple Crown hopeful based on his form last year, the undefeated Bourbonize is hoping he can earn that distinction Monday with a good run in the Southwest. The Tiz Wonderful colt easily won an allowance race opening day Jan. 10 and has been training well since.

“He’s training well,” Gorder said. “I was a little concerned about losing a breeze and some training to the weather. The same thing happened his last race and he ran well fresh.  Hopefully that’ll be the case again.”

The Southwest Stakes is the second race in Oaklawn’s series for 3-year-olds and will be followed by the $600,000 Rebel Stakes (G2) March 15 before culminating with the $1 million Arkansas Derby April 12. The winner will receive 10 points towards qualification in the Kentucky Derby.

The complete field for the $300,000 Southwest Stakes in post position order with riders and morning line odds: Tapiture, Ricardo Santana Jr., 3-1; Coastline, Shaun Bridgmohan, 8-1; Tanzanite Cat, Corey Nakatani, 8-1; Louies Flower, Luis Quinonez, 12-1; Kendall’s Boy, Leandro Goncalves, 12-1; Paganol, Norberto Arroyo Jr, 8-1.; Walt, Ken Tohill, 15-1; Strong Mandate, Joel Rosario, 2-1; Ride On Curlin, Calvin Borel, 6-1; Son of Dixie, Cliff Berry, 30-1; Fire Starter, Robby Albarado, 20-1, and Bourbonize, Ramon Vazquez, 15-1.



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Older Comments about Strong Mandate 2-1 Southwest Favorite...

Love Firestarter at a price
add Louies Flower to that mix..12-1 ML Odds worth a long look.
Although I think it's Strong Mandate's race to lose...IMO the only other contenders in here are Tapiture and Ride on Curlin.
I like your selections, Sully. One that you might include? Tapiture. Doesn't seem to have too many negative things in his PP. But, if you get Son Of Dixie in there, I think you'll have a nice pay day.
I simply think it's Ride on Curlin's time to shine. Ride on Curlin/Ride on Dixie (my price play for the exotics)/Coastline/Strong Mandate!
I simply think it's Ride on Curlin's time to shine. Ride on Curlin/Ride on Dixie (my price play for the exotics)/Coastline/Strong Mandate!

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