A competitive field of nine three-year-olds line up at Oaklawn Park on Monday in the $750,000 Southwest (G3) led by the Todd Pletcher trained Chase Tracker, who gets the call.
The Southwest is a Road to the Kentucky Derby points race, with 10-4-2-1 points up for grabs to the top four finishers. The race serves as a steppingstone to the $1 million Rebel (G2) on March 14 and the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) on April 11.
Chase Tracker is looking to improve off third place finishes in his first two starts in stakes company in the Nashua (G3) and Remsen (G2), both at Aqueduct.
“He was good enough to break his maiden first time out, ran a respectable race in the Nashua and a good solid third in the Remsen,” Pletcher said. “He has been training steadily. We didn’t really have a firm plan in mind, but thought he worked very well here this past weekend, so we decided the timing for the Southwest was good.”
The one to catch likely will be Gold Street, who took the field gate to wire to win the Smarty Jones as our top pick, returning $22.80 in the upset. He is one of three sent out by trainer Steve Asmussen.
Asmussen, who won the Southwest in 2014 with Tapiture will also saddle Shoplifted (8-1) and Silver Prospector (9-2) who were third and fourth respectively in the Smarty Jones.
Sign up at Jazz Sports and receive a 100% march bonus and up to a 10% rebate on your horse betting action.
Let’s head out to Hot Springs for Monday’s featured race of the day:
Oaklawn Park Race 9 The Southwest (G3) Post time 4:43 CT
6 Chase Tracker 7-2
2 Silver Prospector 9-2
4 Gold Street 6-1
3 Shoplifted 8-1
The Todd Pletcher trainee makes his three-year-old debut here after coming up short in his two starts against stakes company at Aqueduct as a juvenile. He was a good looking maiden winner in his debut at Philly going seven furlongs. In the Nashua (G3) on the stretch out to a one turn mile he raced near the back of the pack and made a mild five wide run to finish third. The winner Independence Hall came back to win the Jerome and run second in the Sam F. Davis (G3). In the Remsen (G3) last out our top pick was closer to the pace while saving ground, battled in the stretch and came up 4 ¼ length short in a third-place finish. The winner Shotski ran second in the Withers (G3) in his next outing and the runner up Ajaaweed was third in the Sam F. Davis. Johnny V. makes the trip to Hot Springs to ride this guy and he should get a good tracking trip sitting just off the pace. Looks like he may still have some upside.
One of three in here sent out by the Asmussen barn, this colt could not make up much ground in the stretch in a fourth-place finish in the Smarty Jones in the mud at a mile here. That race was won by his stablemate Gold Street who took the field gate to wire setting moderate fractions. He gets more ground here and a longer stretch using the second finish line, which gives him a good shot of turning the tables. He won the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) two back at Churchill Downs in the slop. There is a 40% chance of some rain, so we could see a wet track which suits him.
This guy was our top pick in the Smarty Jones, and we were rewarded with a $22.80 payoff. He earned the top last out speed fig and he again catches a field without a ton of early speed. He has won three in a row, all on off tracks which he could see again today. He picks up three pounds and has to take this group longer. He would be tempting if he goes off at the 6-1 morning line but seems likely to go off a bit shorter, particularly if the track comes up wet. The second finish line could be the difference here for this guy.