Southwest Stakes: Prep of the Season…So Far

The 17th Running of the G3 Southwest Stakes

January 29, 2022 18:25

OP Race #2 $750.000 11/16 Dirt 

3YO C/G 121 Lbs/F 116 Lbs

KYD Points Race (10-4-2-1)

Track Record-1:40.34 (Jesse James-2012)

Stakes Record-1:41.32 (Coup de Lyon-2016)

As part of the early portion of the G1 KYD prep schedule, the G3 Southwest offers-up only 10 points for the winner; however, unlike the other preps situated similarly on the schedule, the 8.5-furlong contest has a $750.000 prize pool to incentivize trainers to make the ship to OP.  With that kind of money on the line, it comes as no surprise that nine different stakes-winners will be part of an eleven-horse field on Saturday.  Fourteen runners drew into the race, but MB Stables hit the reset button on all three of his runners after being assigned posts 9, 11, and 13, respectively. 

Lailoni, a finalist for HRP 2021 juvenile filly, and G1 winner Up In Smoke are the headliners for the G3 Southwest, but they won’t have it easy against this field.  Smokey Stover sends out two last-out G2 winners in Gigabyte and Spiced while Arindel sends out the 2-2 Mr Pancake to keep stablemate, Lailoni comfortable in the gate.  Those five would make for an excellent renewal of The Southwest; however, Wrestler, Fionas Miracle, Ocean Of Wisdom, and No More Rattle are all stakes-winners themselves.  Safe to say that, on paper, this is THE prep of the season to this point. 

Last weekend we saw a filly win the G3 Lecomte against the boys and with Lailoni getting a five-pound weight break here, she has to be respected.  A winner of consecutive G1’s to end her juvenile campaign, she carries a three-race winning streak into this assignment.  She appears to be one that wants to be within striking range through the early stages and is a strong contender for the win.  Her main rival will break two stalls outside of her as G1 winner Up In Smoke, from the barn of Jive Inc., tries to get back to the winner’s circle for the first time since September.  While he may not have appreciated the “Good” going last out, if he shows improvement, he should run well here.

The other two graded winners, Gigabyte and Spiced, both hailing from the barn of Smokey Stover, appear to be well-meant here.  Of the two, Spiced, carrying his own three stake winning streak, appears to be the bigger threat to the top two.  He’s made a nice progression from state-bred, to open company, to graded company; however, this will be the best field he has seen.  Gigabyte has two wins from four starts, but he’s yet to run a bad race.  This will be his third graded assignment and he has drawn the advantageous rail-post.  He figures to sit an excellent trip and is definitely another who could win this.

Of the other stakes-winners, we’ll give Fionas Miracle and Mr Pancake a chance to play spoiler here.  Fionas Miracle, breaking from stall three on Saturday, didn’t fire in the G1 BC Juvenile, but he’s deserving of another shot here.  If he can overcome the gate issues he had in his two G1 starts, he should be able to work out a good trip and have every opportunity to grab at least a slice of this large pie.  Mr Pancake has yet to taste defeat in two starts and is already a $500.000 stake winner.  When horses make a winning debut at a high-level track and then back it up a month later, they deserve your respect.  This one could be any kind at this point in his career so Saturday will be very telling as to what Arindel truly has with this guy.  Another guy that rates some consideration is Ocean Of Wisdom.  He has to break from stall ten on Saturday (could have been twelve without the scratches); however, this guy has only one poor try in four starts.  If he can navigate a trip, he only needs to find a bit of improvement from his latest to contend for a minor share, if not more.

The last two stakes-winners, Wrestler and No More Rattle, will both be making their two-turn debuts in The SouthwestWrestler was second in the G3 Nashua, but that was a one-turn mile, and No More Rattle has yet to race past 6.5-furlongs.  Based purely on post, Wrestler appears to be the more viable option, but I’ve been wrong before.  The only horses in the field yet to win a stake, Hardline Cobra and The Martian, are not in without a chance to grab a check.  Hardline Cobra has seen these types before, and he did not embarrass himself when 2nd in the G2 Remsen.  He’s well-drawn and could compete for the minors.  The Martian, privately purchased for $400.000 as a juvenile, has competed well at the non-graded level and any improvement from his run four weeks ago could lead to a positive outcome here.

Final Analysis: What a race!  Whoever wins this will stamp themselves as a legitimate contender for bigger prizes on down the road.  Lailoni getting five pounds feels too easy, so we’re going to take the other Arindel, Mr Pancake, on top.  This is purely a gut feeling that he may be the real deal as not many come out of the hopper winning the races he did in his first two efforts.  At the risk of more “flattering” comments after this gets published, we’ll give him the nod.  We’ll go 6-1-7-8 at the windows, but no result would qualify as a complete shock.  Good luck to all in the G3 Southwest from OP.

17th Running of the G3 Southwest 11/16 $750.000 OP Race #2 Post Time: 18:25

#1 Gigabyte (Smokey Stover/Smokey Stover/ M. Franco 121)

#2 Wrestler (D J C Racing Stables/D J C Racing Stables/L. Saez 121)

#3 Fionas Miracle (La Canada Racehorses/La Canada Racehorses/T. Gaffalione 121)  

#4 Hardline Cobra (TwinTowersRacing/TwinTowersRacing/D. Davis 121)

#5 The Martian (Mo Mentum Farm/South Beach Racing/A. Cedillo 121)

#6 Mr Pancake (Arindel/Arindel/J.R. Velazquez 121)

#7 Lailoni (Arindel/Arindel/E. Jaramillo 116)

#8 Spiced (Smokey Stover/Smokey Stover/S.X. Bridgmohan 121)

#9 Dwindle (SCRATCHED)

#10 Up In Smoke (Jive Inc./Jive Inc./D. Moran 121)

#11 Hilarity (SCRATCHED)

#12 Ocean Of Wisdom (Nakamura Stables/Nakamura Stables/V.R. Carrasco 121)

#13 Present Tense (SCRATCHED)

#14 No More Rattle (Bigchief Stables/T Boy Racing/F. Geroux 121)

Categories: Grade III, Races, STAKES ARTICLES

%d bloggers like this: