A dozen 3-year-olds are lined up to contest the second of Oaklawn Park’s series of 2022 Kentucky Derby preps.
Newgrange (2-1) is the morning-line favorite for the Grade 3, $750,000 Southwest Stakes. Post time from Oaklawn is 5:22 pm EST, with TVG showing the 1 1/16-mile stakes for 3-year-olds.
Dash Attack (7-2) won the first of Oaklawn’s Derby preps, the Smarty Jones Stakes, on New Year’s Day. The Southwest, like the Smarty Jones, awards Derby points on a 10-4-2-1 scale.
Newgrange’s entry into the Southwest comes with the caveat that he is ineligible for the Kentucky Derby points this race awards. That is due to his trainer Bob Baffert’s two-year suspension from Churchill Downs properties.
The Violence colt Newgrange sports a 2-for-2 record, including a Sham Stakes (G3) victory at Santa Anita on Jan. 1. Jockey John Velazquez flies to Arkansas to retain the mount for Baffert.
Dash Attack aims for a second straight win on the Kentucky Derby trail for trainer Kenny McPeek. He also is 2-for-2 lifetime, with both his wins coming at Oaklawn.
Barber Road (5-1), a former maiden claimer, makes his third stakes start for trainer John Ortiz. He was second to Dash Attack in the Smarty Jones after also running second at Churchill Downs in November’s Lively Shively Stakes.
Last year’s Southwest winner, Essential Quality, used the win to start a campaign that included Grade 1 wins in the Belmont Stakes and Travers Stakes. The last Southwest victor to win that year’s Kentucky Derby was Smarty Jones in 2004.
Following the Southwest, the $1 million Rebel Stakes (G2) on Feb. 26 and the $1.25 million Arkansas Derby (G1) on April 2 are Oaklawn’s final two Kentucky Derby trail preps. Those races offer Derby points on scales of 50-20-10-5 and 100-40-20-10, respectively.
Here is a look at the field for the 2022 Southwest Stakes (trainer and jockey in parentheses) with morning-line odds:
1. Ben Diesel (Dallas Stewart, Jon Court), 10-1
2. Dash Attack (Kenny McPeek, David Cohen), 7-2
3. Don’tcrossthedevil (Phil D’Amato, Ramon Vazquez), 30-1
4. Kavod (Chris Hartman, Francisco Arrieta), 12-1
5. Costa Terra (Steve Asmussen, Tiago Pereira), 12-1
6. Osbourne (Ron Moquett, David Cabrera), 8-1
7. Ignitis (D. Wayne Lukas, Luis Contreras), 10-1
8. Barber Road (John Ortiz, Ricardo Santana Jr.), 5-1
9. Classic Moment (Steve Asmussen, Martin Garcia), 12-1
10. Newgrange (Bob Baffert, John Velazquez), 2-1
11. Call Me Jamal (Michael Puhich, Geovanni Franco), 30-1
12. Vivar (Brad Cox, Florent Geroux), 12-1
TimeformUS’ pace projections predict a three-way pace duel between Ben Diesel, Kavod, and Classic Moment. Favorite Newgrange is also expected to be near a quick pace.
Visit Horse Racing Nation‘s free past performance page for more information on the Southwest Stakes, plus Saturday’s Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) at Gulfstream Park and Sunday’s Houston Ladies Classic (G3) at Sam Houston.
Road to the Kentucky Derby top 10
1. Pappacap, 14
2. Epicenter, 14
3. Rattle N Roll, 10
4. Jack Christopher, 10
5. Make It Big, 10
6. Smile Happy, 10
7. Slow Down Andy, 10
8. Major General, 10
9.Dash Attack, 10
10. Mo Donegal, 10
Related: See the full points standings after 14 races
south west links
Reinier Macatangay analyzes the Southwest Stakes pace scenario, examining the rivals who could challenge Newgrange for the early lead.
Handicappers Laurie Ross and Ashley Tamulonis go head-to-head handicapping the Southwest Stakes. Both have the same stakes winner atop their tickets.
In the 24 runnings of the Southwest since 2000 (there were two divisions in 2002 and 2012), 14 horses came from at least two lengths behind to win.
Trainer Brad Cox hopes the forecast of a sunny weekend, a switch back to jockey Florent Geroux and an equipment change will translate to a strong Southwest showing for Vivarwho drew widest of 12.
Newgrange trainer Bob Baffert faced a hearing this week to help determine whether he will receive a suspension from the New York Racing Association. See what comes next in NYRA’s case against Baffert.
south west card
Here is a look at other stakes races taking place Saturday at Oaklawn Park. Post times are EST, and races will be shown on TVG.
2:32 pm – $200,000 Martha Washington Stakes, 3-year-old fillies, 1 1/16 miles
Optionally (9-5) looks for a third straight stakes win in this race that pays Road to the 2022 Kentucky Oaks points on a 10-4-2-1 scale. Steve Asmussen trains and Ricardo Santana Jr. rides the Gun Runner filly, winner of Remington Park’s Trapeze Stakes on Dec. 17. D. Wayne Lukas trains Secret Oath (2-1), who enters off a local New Year’s Eve allowance win. Como Square (5-2) is off for a 2-for-2 start in his career, including an Oaklawn allowance score Dec. 19.
Related: Lukas, Asmussen look for more Martha Washington glory
5:55 pm – $150,000 King Cotton Stakes, 4-and-up, six furlongs
Nashville (5-2) returns to stakes flight after finished second Dec. 10 in an Oaklawn allowance, his first start in nearly 12 full months. Asmussen trains the 5-year-old son of Speightstown, a Keeneland stakes winner who will have jockey Florent Geroux up. Mark Glatt trains Collusion Illusion (3-1), who looks for his first win since taking Del Mar’s Bing Crosby Stakes (G1) in August 2020. Hollis (4-1) is a multiple stakes winner who upset Nashville in that December allowance for train John Ortiz.