Road to Derby: Baffert Looks for Fifth Win in Southwest at Oaklawn Park

14 Derby hopefuls will head to the gate in Monday's Southwest (G3) Stakes at Oaklawn Park. (photo credit: Oaklawn Park)

14 Derby hopefuls will head to the gate in Monday’s Southwest (G3) Stakes at Oaklawn Park. (photo credit: Oaklawn Park)

Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert sends out the 5-2 morning line favorite Collected in Monday’s $500,000 Southwest (G3) at Oaklawn Park, with a full field headed to the gate in the Road to the Kentucky Derby points race.

Baffert won the Southwest in 2010, 2012 and 2013. Baffert won both divisions of the race when it was split in 2012. Going back five years Baffert has owned Hot Springs, winning 13 races from just 29 starters.

He has won the Rebel Stakes (G2) five times and the Arkansas Derby (G1) twice. He won both races last year with American Pharoah, who went on to win the Triple Crown, Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) and Horse of the Year honors.

Collected draws the rail with jockey Martin Garcia in to ride the son of City Zip. He faces a good group including the top four finishers of the Smarty Jones which was run here on Jan. 18 and won by Discreetness.

The William Fires trainee got up to win by a neck over Gordy Florida and is 6-1 on the morning line. The colt won the Springboard Mile in the slop in his previous outing. He draws the 14 post with Jon Court in the irons, which did not please the trainer.

“Everything looked good, so I wasn’t very happy with the 14,” Fires said. “But what are you going to do?”

The Southwest offers up 17 points toward entry into the Kentucky Derby with 10 points going to the winner.

Let’s head out to Hot Springs for Monday’s featured race of the day:

  op1

Oaklawn Park Race 9 The Southwest G3 Post time 5:09 CT

3 Collected   5-2

4 Whitmore   5-1

12 Discreetness   6-1

2 Synchrony / 2x Suddenbreakingnews   6-1

Collected ships in from the west coast for the Bob Baffert barn that has won this race in four of the six years, most recently with Super Ninety Nine in 2013. The colt made his dirt debut last out in the Sham (G3) at Santa Anita where prompted the early pace while wide, got to the lead in the stretch and drew away late to win by 1 ¼ lengths.

The colt broke his maiden in his debut going 6 ½ on the downhill turf course and then was a game second in the Cecil B. DeMille (G3) in his stakes debut. He has enough tactical speed to avoid getting into trouble heading into the first turn and he still looks as if he has plenty of upside.

Whitmore stretches back out to two turns after a sharp win last out going six furlongs here against Alw-2L optional claimers. He broke his maiden last November at Churchill Downs going six furlongs, drawing away to win by 7 ¼ lengths.

He then made his stakes debut in the Delta Jackpot (G3) where he tracked the early pace and weakened to finish fifth. He has put in a couple of quick works over the main track here and figures to be a pace player. Horses on or near the lead do very well at this distance over the main track here.

Discreetness won the Smarty Jones last out in his first trip over the main track here. He bobbled coming out of the gate, tracked the early pace while going four wide around the first turn, stayed outside and battled on gamely in the stretch to win by a neck over Gordy Florida.

The William Fires trainee has now won four of his six career starts. He won the Springboard Mile two back at Remington Park in the slop. The 6-1 morning line looks fair enough but he seems likely to get bet down off the number.

Wagering:

WIN: Collected to win at 5-2 or better.

EXACTA: 3,4 / 2,3,4,12

TRIFECTA: 3,4 / 2,3,4,12 / 2,3,4,7,12

 

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