Stakes Preview: G3 Southwest Stakes – February 17th – By Chase Sessoms @OfOaklawn

Oaklawn – RACE 9 Southwest S. (Grade III) POST TIME – 4:43 PM

If you were to watch a simulcast feed of Oaklawn Park this year and you didn’t previously know where Oaklawn Park was located, then you might guess that it’s in the Pacific Northwest due to the amount of racing days that have been waterlogged and sloshy. So it’s somewhat fitting that feature of the President’s Day card, The Southwest Stakes, looks like it might be a muddy affair.

The second KY Derby prep of this meet will go over 8.5f and features everything you could want out of a Monday G3 stakes race with Kentucky Derby implications. There are big name out of town jockeys, New York and California Shippers, first crop American Pharoah babies, and auction purchases that were DAMN near $1 Million.

I’m handicapping this race with the assumption that the Southwest will be run over a sealed wet track. In those conditions I expect the surface at oaklawn to play heavily in favor to the early speed or forwardly placed horse, and I have a hard time seeing a winner from coming deep off the pace.

Working with that assumption my eye goes directly to a Brad Cox trainee that has run all three career races over a wet track (one of which at Oaklawn) and notched two wins in the conditions, Wells Bayou. Wells Bayou pairs up Brad Cox with Florent Geroux. This meet when The FloCox links up wins have been easy, so I’m encouraged that Florent will be in town instead of pairing up with his other preferred jockey at OP, Joe Talamo.

Wells Bayou will have to put down the early speed to be able win this race, which means that he’ll need to break well and put down the other threat to go gate to wire, Gold Street. If Wells Bayou can beat Gold Street to the 1st call my assumption is that Gold Street could pack it in for the day and it could open the door for for some bigger morning line prices to finish underneath in the exotics. Answer In, Shoplifted, Chase Tracker, and Villianous could all be in the mix to finish in the exacta, tri, or super.

Playing this race I’m going to want to make sure that I play Wells Bayou in the WPS pools, and think that you get value out of all three. Then I’m going to want to use Wells Bayou on top in any exotics over those closing type horses.

The Plays:

#1 Wells Bayou WPS

Trifecta 1.4/1.4.9/

Trifecta 1/3,4,6,7,9/3,4,6,7,9

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