Road to Derby: Eleven Clash in Rescheduled Southwest at Oaklawn Park

11 Derby hopefuls will head to the gate in Sunday’s Southwest at Oaklawn Park. (photo credit: Oaklawn Park)

Six days after weather knocked out racing in Hot Springs, a field of 11 will line up in the rescheduled $300,000 Southwest (G3) at Oaklawn Park on Sunday, with 10-4-2-1 points up for grabs as part of the Road to the Derby series of races.

The Southwest serves as a prep for the $750,000 Rebel (G2) on March 14 and the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) on April 11.

The top four finishers of the Smarty Jones Stakes run on Jan. 19 are back. The winner Far Right is the 5-2 morning line favorite for trainer Ronald Moquett with Hall of Fame rider Mike Smith back in the irons.

The colt is currently at betting odds of 40-1 in early Kentucky Derby wagering at Bovada.

The son of Notional went from last to first to win the Southwest, coming up the rail with a burst of speed to win by 1 ¾ lengths, with Bayerd running second and Mr. Z third.

Mr. Z appeared to have the race won but veered out sharply in the stretch and had to settle for third. His trainer D. Wayne Lukas said they have changed the bit in an attempt to give new jockey Corey Nakatani a better chance of keeping him straight in the stretch. The colt is the 3-1 second choice on the morning line.

The Lukas trainee is currently listed at 45-1 at Bovada for the Kentucky Derby in future betting.

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


Oaklawn Park Race 8 The Southwest G3 Post time 4:42 CT

5 Bold Conquest   10-1

6 Far Right   5-2

11 Mr. Z   3-1

3 Hillbilly Royalty   7-2

Bold Conquest makes his first start off a four month break here for the Steve Asmussen barn that is 19% winners with runners coming back off a 61-180 day layoff. The colt graduated at the Spa last summer and then missed winning the Iroquois (G3) in his stakes debut by a neck to Lucky Player He then was no match for Carpe Diem and Mr. Z in the Breeders’ Futurity where he checked in third.

The colt has come back with a couple of bullet drills at Fair Grounds and has one local work on the morning tab. Worth tossing in the mix here if he goes off near his 10-1 morning line.

Far Right made a strong late run up the inside after having to idle briefly in behind foes to win the Smarty Jones last out, defeating three foes he faces again today. The late running colt should get an honest pace to run at here, but at this distance, it usually is better to be closer to the front.

However, he did finish strongly and the one-mile race has a closer finish line so he does have more stretch today at this distance. One knock is going to be his price, which may dip below his 5-2 morning line.

Mr. Z looked like he had the Smarty Jones won until he veered out in the stretch after having a clear lead in the stretch. He has now landed in the money in six stakes without a win. Two back he gave Dortmund all he could handle, coming up a head and a neck short back in third short.

Dortmund returned to win the Robert B. Lewis (G3) ion his next start while the fourth place finisher Bench Warrant came back to win the Baffle Stakes on Feb. 15 at Santa Anita. Trainer D. Wayne Lukas is using a different bit to try to keep the colt straight today and picks up a new jockey in Corey Nakatani.


WIN: Bold Conquest to win at 5-1 or better.

EXACTA: 5,6 / 3,5,6,11

TRIFECTA:  5,6 / 3,5,6,11 / 1,3,5,6,11


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