The feature race on Monday at Oaklawn Park is the Grade 3 Southwest Stakes, which this year was split into two divisions. The first drew a field of 11 with Longview Drive installed as the 5-2 morning line favorite.
Of the two divisions the first may be the strong of the two. Not only do you have Longview Drive, third in the Grade 3 Sham, but you also have the first and second place finishers from the Smarty Jones stakes at Oaklawn and a pair of flashy maiden winners. The Jerry Hollendorfer-trained Longview Drive has run third in back-to-back Grade 3 races with his last win coming in a stakes race at the Fresno Fair in Northern California. He is a place player on Monday in a race loaded with speed. Junebugred and Reckless Jerry come out of the local prep race, the Smarty Jones and are again contenders in the Southwest. Reckless Jerry took the overland route with his second place finish while Junebugred was able to cut the corner and roll up the inside. Reverse the trips and perhaps it would have been Reckless Jerry victorious. Castaway and Majestic Stride are the two coming off of maiden scores with Castaway winning at Santa Anita and Majestic Stride scoring at Oaklawn. Both won in wire-to-wire fashion with Majestic Stride taking a sprint and Castaway winning a route. Long shot players can look to Unbridled’s Note for trainer Steve Asmussen and jockey Julien Leparoux as well as Laurie’s Rocket, who will get jockey Calvin Borel for the first time.
The second of the split Southwest drew a field of ten and may have come up a little softer. Of the ten, there is only one horse that has won an unrestricted dirt stakes and only one horse that is Graded stakes-placed. It just so happens that those two are the same horse, Secret Circle. Secret Circle was second, a half-length in front of Longview Drive, in the Grade 3 Sham in his last start, which came after winning the inaugural Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Sprint at Churchill in November. The Bob Baffert-trainee looks to be the speed of the speed and is even money on the morning line. Based on speed figures Apprehender and Cyber Secret are the only two that can run with the favorite. Apprehender has made one start in his career, but won in impressive fashion in a sprint race on a muddy Oaklawn track. Cyber Secret comes out of a front-running allowance route score, which was a huge improvement over his ninth place finish in mid-January. Adirondack King looms the upsetter for trainer John Servis and jockey Stewart Elliot, who are no strangers to Oaklawn Park. By Lawyer Ron, Adirondack King comes off a good third place finish in the Pasco Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs and has a work over the Oaklawn oval. The trainer-jockey combination teamed up to roll through the 2004 three-year-old stakes at Oaklawn with Smarty Jones.
Post time for the first Southwest is 5:41 ET with the second to follow at 6:15 ET. The two races make up half of the pick-4, which starts in race seven.