Eleven Look to Shoot from the Hip in The Southwest

The Southwest (Grade 3) (KYD)- $500.000 Purse
OP- For Three Year Olds
One Mile and One Sixteenth on the Dirt
February 19, 2018

Last year, a young three year old named Shootfromthehip took to the starting gate for the Southwest. His resume was solid to that point, with an ungraded stake win and decent finishes in graded stakes, but nothing that made him stand out over the rest. He went off at odds of 12/1 that day, and with a powerful stretch run, he would pick up the victory. It didn’t stop there for him, as would win the FL Derby five weeks later, and then became a KYD Champion. He just won the Grade 2 San Pasqual at SA two weeks ago, so he is still going good. Shootfromthehip is not the only KYD winner to also have won the Southwest. You may have heard of the winner back in 2010 when it was Five Fives! A year later, 2011 Southwest winner Crown Heights ran second in the slop to off-track loving Willow Grove. Even go back to 2008, where Half Spirit won the Southwest prior to winning the KYD. The history of this race is pretty strong in regards to sending its winners to success out at CD. Is our 2018 KYD winner in this race? We won’t now, but it wouldn’t be a bad bet. Here is the field!

#1- No Chill (Team 7 Illusions, ridden by V Espinoza)- We start the look through the field with No Chill, who certainly has not been cold with all of his races running with the FL-bred condition. He made three starts in the always tough FL Sire Series, and was able to get a win in the $200.000 Affirmed, and then missed the headbob at the wire for the $400.000 in the In Reality, to Broken Tap. He’ll see Broken Tap again here, but in reality, their posts are night and day. No Chill is working quite well coming into this race, which is his first official graded stake, but those FL Sire Series races are just as tough.

#2- Dastardly Havoc (Mb Stables, ridden by J R Velazquez)- Pretty tame track record thus far if we go by the higher standards of the trainer. Just one win in six starts so far, which came in his fourth race, a race after his attempt in the Grade 1 FrontRunner Stakes. With that placement, we know the trainer has high hopes for him, but Dastardly Havoc has not yet realized that potential. He has collected a couple of fourth place checks recently, but the time has come for him to step his game to the next level.

#3- One Dance (Gdp Inc, ridden by J R Leparoux)- Two weeks ago, One Dance went to the Swale Stakes, and picked up a solid second in that seven furlong event. He has never run more then seven in his career, but the Swale is often a race that catapults its winner (and other strong finishers) into the TC chase, and for One Dance, no time is being wasted. The trainer had a great weekend in the races I covered last week, so let’s see if that trend will carry on here. If not, that turf work at PRX could show another avenue to pursue, eventually.

#4- Babalu Time (Night Rider Stables, ridden by R Maragh)- After a decent 2017 in smaller races, Babalu Time finished off his two year old season running in the Grade 2 KY Jockey Club, though ended up in the back of the field. His recovery from that race though was impressive, as he scored a win in the $150.000 Smarty Jones at AQU last month. The key for him seems to be for him to remain in striking distance early, and not to fall too far back. R Maragh gets the mount, and the trainer probably wants to see that 8% win clip (as of press time) improve for that virtual jockey eventually! Should have a good shot here.

#5- Slip Away (TwinTowersRacing, ridden by R Bejarano)- The colt by Another Gift had a successful campaign on the grass last year, highlighted by winning the Grade 2 Summer Stakes at WO, a race that allowed him to participate in the BC Juvenile Turf. There, he ran well, with a third place finish. A return to the grass could be in the cards, but right now the money is on the main track, and Slip Away did have a promising performance in the Grade 2 Remsen. Seems to be better coming from off the pace, and this race could set up well for him.

#6- Know The Rules (Mb Stables, ridden by R J Albarado)- While many of these were running in stakes or maybe even the BC during November, Know The Rules was annihilating an allowance field at PM as he proved that he did indeed want to run more then a mile. He followed that up well with an optional claiming win at GP last month. Work times are showing progress, particularly since December, so this is one that is on the upswing, but goes into a tough assignment here.

#7- Alpha Uno (Estero Farms, ridden by J Bravo)- After being the subject of two private sales transactions before he was even able to hit the track, Alpha Uno has found a home with Estero Farms. After a couple close calls to break his maiden, he finally was able to do that in mid-November, and showed improvement on New Year’s Day with a third place finish in the Jerome. His work time at AQU creates plenty of reason to get excitment. We won’t compare him to the Ultimo one quite yet, though. Needs to show he has heart to back up those times, and should certainly be in the mix here.

#8- Psychotic Ruler (D J C Racing Stables, ridden by I Ortiz Jr)- He might be a little more crazy then his sire, Awesome Ruler, but the Psychotic one is getting it done on the race track. He won the first three races of his career, which included a win in the Grade 3 Sanford at SAR. A third place run in the Hopeful at that same beautiful race track helped send him to the BC Juvenile, but he tired in that one and ended up eighth. He did not follow that up as well as we’d want to see, either. Psychotic Ruler doesn’t necessarily have to win this race, but he needs a good run to show that he is still competitive with this group, more then anything else.

#9- Minutes Hand (Fractious, ridden by A A Gallardo)- This gelding by Credit spent much of his 2017 running on the grass, and while the results were fine for the levels they were at, there was nothing that suggested that he was about to develop into a KYD contender. That was, until the trainer completely changed his conditions up, going long for the first time, and going on the main track for the first time in a while, and it would happen in the $100.000 CA Derby. He ran second, and while he still has to prove himself a bit, the potential is there.

#10- Motor City (First Class Stable, ridden by R Santana Jr)- Looks to be one the top threats in this race, though will have to overcome a tough post in order to get the win. He’s experienced running at the graded level, placing second in the Nashua in November, and following it up well in the Grade 2 Remsen, with a third place effort; both coming at AQU If you wanted to see a little more, he would win the Grade 3 Lecomte at FG last month. Work times are impressive, especially a mile work at FG on the 8th. If only he did not have double digit number on his saddlecloth. Last time I tried to look past that with my picks, it didn’t work out.

#11- Rothstein- Scratched

#12- Broken Tap (Barcelona Farms, ridden by D Van Dyke)- If you read this entire preview, you may remember that we mentioned Broken Tap when looking at No Chill, who starts on the rail. These two have run into one another several times in their careers already, as they both contested the FL Sire Series. Broken Tap won the In Reality, which is the $400.000 race. Him and No Chill have been close throughout their careers, so this could be an interesting comparison to see the effects of being on the rail, and being on the far outside. I like Broken Tap, I’ll get him in the next race with hopefully a better post.

Prediction: 5-1-3-10

— NS

Categories: Grade III, STAKES ARTICLES

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