Sunday, February 14, 2016

Southwest Stakes Racing Roundup

©2016 Calvin L. Carter. All rights reserved.

The Road to the Kentucky Derby takes us to Hot Springs, Arkansas, Monday, where Hall of Fame Trainer, Bob Baffert, will send Collected to the starting gate as the (5-2) morning-line favorite in the 51st running of the $500,000 Southwest Stakes (G3) at Oaklawn Park.
With a 2-1-0 record in three starts for Baffert, Collected comes into this race off of a win in the Sham Stakes (G3) at Santa Anita Park last month. Here’s the video and chart call of that race:

COLLECTED had speed five wide then dueled four wide on the first turn, stalked outside on the backstretch, bid again three deep then took the lead outside a rival a quarter mile out, inched away in the stretch and proved best under energetic handling.

In the Sham, Collected and his stablemate, Let’s Meet in Rio, were two of my picks and, I also liked Dressed in Hermes who was scratched. Since that race, both Let’s Meet in Rio and Dressed in Hermes finished out of the money in the Robert B. Lewis Stakes (G3).
Collected is a sire-line descendant of the Mr. Prospector Ancestral Herd and he has a low Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile®. However, his Behavior Index indicates that he has the potential to be competitive in stakes competition.
City Zip, the sire of Collected, was an good sprinter as a two year old, winning the Tremont Stakes (G3), Sanford Stakes (G2), Saratoga Special (G2) and the Hopeful Stakes (G1). However, as a three year old on the 2001 Kentucky Derby Trail, his best finish was a third place to Songandaprayer in the 8½-furlong Fountain of Youth Stakes (G1).
Despite his propensity for sprinting, at stud City Zip has sired his share of numerous, good, sprinters as well as several middle-distance runners such as Acting Zippy, Dayatthespa, With a City and Personal Diary.
The coupled entry of Suddenbreakingnews  and Synchrony (6-1) are two horses I like in this race and they will be sent to the starting gate by trainer Donnie Von Hemel.
 Suddenbreakingnews is a horse I wrote about in my 2016 Kentucky Derby Outlook, and, with an A+ Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile®, he’s one of the best bred horses in this race.
To date, Suddenbreakingnews has compiled a 2-3-0 record in five starts and his only stakes win was in the Clever Trevor Stakes at Remington Park. In December, he finished second in the Remington Springboard Mile Stakes. Here’s the video and chart call of that race:

SUDDENBREAKINGNEWS was allowed to settle then rallied on the far turn, was three wide in the stretch and gaining ground but lost the head bob on the wire.

At the top of the stretch, Suddenbreakingnews did not have any running room but he finally managed to squeeze between horses in the final strides to narrowly lose by a head bob to Discreetness. If he had a clear path, I think that he would have won easily and look for him to move forward off of that effort.
Mineshaft, the sire of Suddenbreakingnews, was an outstanding route racer who compiled a 10-3-1 record in 18 lifetime starts. He began his racing career in England at the age of three, winning a maiden weight for age race at Newmarket. In November, Mineshaft was shipped to America where he won two more races to close out the season with a 3-1-1 record in nine starts.
As a four year old, Mineshaft really proved himself as a champion and compiled a 7-2-0 record in route to earning Horse of the Year and Champion Older Horse honors. In nine starts, Mineshaft won the New Orleans Handicap (G2), Ben Ali Stakes (G3), Pimlico Special Handicap (G1), Suburban Handicap (G1), Woodward Stakes (G1) and the Jockey Club Gold Club Stakes (G1).
Suddenbreakingnews has posted several good work outs at Oaklawn including a bullet work on January 25 in preparation for his debut as a three year old. I look for him to run a good race.
Synchrony is 2-1-1 in four starts and he’s stepping up in class to graded stakes competition. He comes into this race with a third-place finish in the Smarty Jones Strakes on January 18. Here’s the video and chart call of that race:

SYNCHRONY, void of early foot, began a steady gain before a half, moved inside second turn, continued to make up ground into the lane, leaned on mid-stretch, finished up willingly the final sixteenth to be getting to the top two.

Synchrony was one of the horses I liked in this race and his third-place finish was only two lengths shy of victory. With a B Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile®, Synchrony should be competitive on the Derby Trail and I look for him to be competitive in his second start of the season.
Tapit, the sire of Synchrony, was undefeated in two starts as a 2-year-old including a win in the Laurel Futurity (G3). As a 3-year-old, Tapit was troubled by a lung infection for much of the season but did win the nine-furlong Wood Memorial Stakes (G1) in route to a ninth-place finish in the 2004 Kentucky Derby.
Jockey Shaun Bridgmohan returns for the mount and a string of several sharp work outs could have him ready to run a good race.
Discreetness (6-1) is another colt I wrote about in my 2016 Kentucky Derby Outlook. To date, he’s compiled a 4-0-0 record in six starts for trainer William Fires, including a narrow win by a neck in the Smarty Jones Stakes. Here’s the video and chart call:

DISCREETNESS broke out, bobbled, raced forwardly, four wide both turns, pursued the leaders into the far bend, briskly roused, bid, lengthy stretch duel, determined.

Discreetness, like Synchrony, was also one of my picks in this race and his final time of 1:38.05 was an improvement over his time of 1:39.15 in the Springboard Mile Stakes.
Discreetness has a B Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile® grade rating and his Behavior Index indicates he’ll be competitive in his second start of the season.
Discreet Cat, the sire of Discreetness, was a late bloomer winning his only start as a 2-year-old in a 6-furlong sprint at Saratoga Racecourse. At the age of three, Discreet Cat was a speedy colt whose best distance was at a mile but was able to stretch out and win the 8½-furlong UAE Derby.
Jockey Jon Court returns to the irons and two recent, bullet work outs could have Discreetness ready to run a good race.
Whitmore (5-1) and Luna de Loco (20-1) could also be factors in this race. I liked Whitmore in the Delta Downs Jackpot (G3) but he finished a disappointing fifth in that race. His most recent effort was a 3¼ length win in an optional claiming race at Oaklawn on January 16. Here’s the video of that race.
Whitmore has room to improve in his second start as a three year old.
Lightly-raced Luna de Loco finished fourth in the Smarty Jones Stakes, just 2¾ lengths shy of victory in his debut as a three year old. With a C Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile®, Luna de Loco also has a Behavior Index that indicates he could be competitive and he has room to improve in his second start of the season.

The Southwest Stakes (G3) is the last race in Kentucky Derby Prep Season consisting of 19 races worth 10 points each to the winner. The second-place finisher in those races received 4 points, the third-place finisher received 2 points and the fourth-place finisher received one point.
The pace on the Derby Trail really begins to quicken on February 20 with the Risen Star Stakes (G2) as the debut of the Championship Series, which consists of 16 races. The winner of those races will receive 50 points, the second-place finisher will receive 20 points, the third-place finisher will receive 10 points and the fourth-place finisher will receive 5 points.
Halfway through this series beginning with the UAE Derby (G2) and Louisiana Derby (G2) on March 26, the points will increase to 100 points for the winner, 40 points for second place, 20 points for third and 10 points for fourth place.
Here’s a look at the current top twenty Derby qualifiers:


Rank, Horse, Points, Trainer, Non-Restricted Stakes Earnings

1. Nyquist, 30, Doug O’Neill, $1,580,000
2. Mor Spirit, 24, Bob Baffert, $336,800
3. Mohaymen, 20, Kiaran McLaughlin, $514,830
4. Sunny Ridge, 18, Jason Servis, $505,600
5. Exaggerator, 16, Keith Desormeaux, $940,000
6. Flexibility, 15, Chad Brown, $232,500
7. Brody’s Cause, 14, Dale Romans, $500,000
8. Greenpointcrusader, 14, Dominick Schettino, $369,300
9. Swipe, 12, Keith Desormeaux, $597,130
10. Mo Tom, 21, Tom Amoss $188,326
11. Airoforce, 10, Mark Casse, $444,080
12. Cocked and Loaded, 10, Larry Rivelli, $280,840
13. Discreetness, 10, William “Jinks” Fires, $245,042
14. Frank Conversation, Doug O’Neill, $199,000
15. Riker, 10, Nicholas Gonzalez, $182,375
16. Collected, 10, Bob Baffert, $80,000
17. Vorticity, 8, James Lawrence II, $150,000
18. Rated R Superstar, 6, Ken McPeek, $80,200
19. Kasseopia, 4, Graham Motion, $46,809
20. Toews On Ice, 4, Bob Baffert, $228,900


  1. Pulling for Collected here. Hopefully gets good trip and can rate then not get bottled in behind some of that speed. Of those you mention, I like Synchrony most. Think he does well, may even win this if can avoid traffic in later stages opportunity to reel them in. I viewed Discreetness as on the fringes then he got that wide post. Has his work cut out. Whitmore could threaten and Z Royal might sneak in there for a minor share. Luna de Loco probably needs the race. Will be interesting to see how the horse does. Good luck to all. Thanks Calvin! -M.

  2. Nice races by Suddenbreakingnews and Whitmore. Keeping an eye on Synchrony. -M.