Monday, February 20, 2012

Southwest Stakes Contentious

This year’s edition of the Southwest Stakes attracted the attention of trainers around the country. Most likely thought it would be a nice, soft spot for their charges to gather graded stakes earnings on their quest for a spot in the Kentucky Derby starting gate. Consequently, the Southwest Stakes was split into two divisions with full fields in both races. The only other time the Southwest was split was in 2002. Let’s look at some entrants that have a shot to finish in the money.

UNBRIDLED'S NOTE (Unbridled's Song - Siberian Fur, by Siberian Express) was an easy maiden winner last year at Churchill and enters the Southwest with a series of good works. The bay colt has plenty of stamina in his pedigree. He’s a half-brother to Alabama and CCA Oaks winner Spoken Fur.

JAKE MO (Giacomo - Credit Approval, by With Approval) was a deceptively good fourth, beaten only 1 ¾ lengths in the Smarty Jones Stakes. He was making his first start of the year and can improve. However, his works are average and the Milligan barn is 0 for 11 in graded stakes races. Jake Moe is a half-brother to a stakes placed turf sprinter and his second dam Coastal Connection is a Grade 3 winning miler.

LONGVIEW DRIVE (Pulpit - Wild Vision, by Wild Again) had a nice debut in the Sham Stakes, leading until the end, beaten only a length. Longview Drive is a full brother to Louisiana Derby hero Pyro. Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer wins with 30% of his shippers.

JUNEBUGRED (Corinthian - Dixie Melody, by Dixieland Band) came up the rail bravely to win the Smarty Jones Stakes by a desperate neck. He’s a half-brother to stakes winner Joe Six Pack and their dam is Grade 2 stakes placed. The chestnut colt popped a bullet 4 furlongs in his last breeze.

RECKLESS JERRY (Cactus Ridge - Miss Moneywise, by Crafty Prospector) ground out a second place finish, beaten just a neck by Junebugred in the Smarty Jones. Reckless Jerry has sprinter speed through his sire and damsire. He’s out running his pedigree, as there is no notable blacktype in his distaff line, yet he’s never finished out of the money.

RING IT UP (Toccet - Noontime Angel, by Successful Appeal) was second best to Cyber Secret last time out, beaten 5 ¼ lengths. It was 13 lengths back to the third place finisher. Ring It Up has a sprinter/miler pedigree and should appreciate the cut back in distance. His unraced dam is a half-sister to two listed stakes winners. Ring It Up shows a nice Brisnet speed figure progression in his last three races. He came back with a bullet five furlong work after his last start.

At this point, LAURIE'S ROCKET (Bluegrass Cat - Clay's Rocket, by American Chance) appears to do his best work as a sprinter. He’s a versatile colt who can win from on or off of the pace. He dueled the whole way on the lead in the Smarty Jones, but weakened to finish fifth, beaten two lengths by Junebugred. Laurie’s Rocket is a half-brother to Greeley’s Rocket, who placed in four stakes at two and won a listed stakes at three. His dam is a stakes placed half-sister to the Grade 1 stakes heroine Adieu, the G3 stakes winners Direct Line, Rappaport, and listed stakes winner Speak Wisely.

The slowly maturing CASTAWAY (Street Sense - Priceless Storm, by Storm Cat) finally won his maiden when stretching out around two turns. He has one of the best pedigrees in the field. His dam is a half-sister to the graded stakes winners Master Command and Aurora Lights. The second dam is a full sister to the sire Lost Soldier and G1 heroine La Gueriere, dam of the top mare Icon Project and grand-dam of sprint specialist Munnings. Other top runners in this family include the top turf runner Honor In War, Al Mamoon and Super Derby hero Apart. Trainer Bob Baffert wins with 29% of his shippers.



Track bias: 23% of the horses that get the lead wire the field, but the majority of winners are pace pressers, getting 37% of the wins. Late pace runners do as well as the front runners, and one-run closers get up 17% of the time.


Longview Drive

Unbridled's Note

Reckless Jerry - longshot pick

Southwest Stakes Division 2

In Division 2 of the Southwest Stakes, even money favorite SECRET CIRCLE (Eddington - Ragtime Hope, by Dixieland Band) ships in for Bob Baffert after a ½ length loss in the Sham Stakes in his three year old debut.

CYBER SECRET (Broken Vow - Stomping, by Dixieland Band) appears to be Secret Circle’s main competition. Cyber Secret demolished optional claimers last time out and the second place finisher of that race, Ring It Up, is entered in the first division.

ADIRONDACK KING (Lawyer Ron - Jostle, by Brocco) has the pedigree to go long. He was up for third in the seven furlong Pasco in his three year old debut and should improve with racing and distance.

PEE H DEE (Tale of the Cat - Trillion Wing, by In the Wings (GB)) should also improve with distance. He’s a half-brother to PaPaw Bodie, a Grade 3 turf router. Their second dam won the Grade 2 Davona Dale and his third and fourth dams are graded stakes winners.

The pretty gray Z ROCKSTAR (Rockport Harbor - Nasty Little Star, by Nasty and Bold) finished a neck behind Pee H Dee in a hotly contested one mile allowance race last time out. Z Rockstar’s dam is a stakes winner. The colt has finished out of the money only once in seven starts.

SCATMAN (Scat Daddy - Hit It Here Cafe, by Grand Slam) stretches out after beating optional claimers in his first race of the season. He gets plenty of stamina on his distaff side from his damsire Grand Slam and second damsire Strawberry Road.

APPREHENDER (Posse - Missy's Mirage, by Stop the Music) also stretches out after demolishing a field of maidens in his debut. He has plenty of speed in his pedigree. His sire gets mainly sprinters and Apprehender’s dam is a multiple graded stakes winning sprinter.

After beating maidens in his three year old debut, CHALYBEATE SPRINGS (Dynaformer - Chaposa Springs, by Baldski) was rushed back two weeks later in the Lecomte, where he finished an embarrassing 22 ½ lengths behind Mr. Bowling. Chalybeate Springs has one of the best pedigrees in the Southwest Stakes. He is a son of Ballerina and Test heroine Chaposa Springs. His half-sister produced the UAE-G3 winner Mendip, but although four of his siblings raced, only two have won. Chaposa Springs is a half-sister to Met Mile winner and sire You And I. Chalybeate Springs’s second dam was a Champion in Peru.

KING CORAL (Limehouse - Pink Coral (IRE), by Sadler's Wells) showed nothing in his three year old debut in the Smarty Jones stakes and appears a cut below.

BIG WEDNESDAY (Repent - Foxey's Last Key, by Big Bold Sefa) won the Fitz Dixon Jr Memorial last October and picks a tough spot to make his three year old bow. He was unplaced in his only start over dirt last year.



It’s hard to pick against Secret Circle. If he gets into a battle with Scatman for the lead, he could be vulnerable. Cyber Secret can get the distance and could pull the upset. Adirondack King is geared for distance and should be sharper in his second start off of the layoff.

Cyber Secret

Secret Circle

Adirondack King