Super Screening the Southwest Stakes - Super Screener
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Super Screening the Southwest Stakes

2015-02-20_07-58-26

SUPER SCREENING THE KENTUCKY DERBY PREPS

G3 Southwest Stakes

The G3 Southwest Stakes was a victim of a card cancelation last Monday due to nasty winter weather in the Hot Springs area and was moved to this Sunday as the feature race. Unlike the Fountain of Youth Stakes and the Risen Stars Stakes which offer 50 Kentucky Derby qualifier points, the Southwest Stakes is the last of the preps to offer 10 qualifier points to the winner.

The top four finishers of the locally run Smarty Jones Stakes face off again and will engage seven other rivals including shippers from Florida, New York and Kentucky. The Super Screener does not project a lot of pace pressure here and #11 Mr. Z certainly possesses the superior pace figures against these but he’ll also be fighting against what appears to be a little post-peak decline in form. However, with Lukas trainees, you never really know.

#6 Far Right was a sharp winner of the Smarty Jones Stakes and actually projects to move forward again off that effort. Very dangerous win contender and he currently sits at #9 on the 2015 Horse Racing Nation Derby rankings while #11 Mr. Z sits a #18 http://www.horseracingnation.com/p/c/kentucky_derby_2015_contenders.

While #11 Mr. Z and even more so, #6 Far Right are key contenders in this race, the Super Screener is tabbing #4 Private Prospect, 4th place finisher behind the top pair last out, as the top win contender in the field. He is making his second start off the 12-week layoff and a strong move forward today is anticipated. In addition, based on the likely pace set up, look for #4 Private Prospect to sit in an ideal stalking position behind #11 Mr. Z and just to the outside of #1 Bayerd.

The Super Screener’s long shot bomber pick in here will be #3 Hillbilly Royalty out of the barn of Donnie Von Hemel. This gelding is undefeated in two lifetime starts against much easier but his form and energy distribution profile suggest he can take a piece of this at a price.

The Super Screener will favor horses with two-turn dirt route experience, presser energy distribution profiles, previous success on the Oaklawn Park surface, favorable progressions in form cycle and strong recent works…and for this race and on this dirt course, the Super Screener will be discounting the chances of any shipper.

Rating the field, we come up with the following Super Screener assessment:

WIN CONTENDERS

#4 Private Prospect 8-1

#6 Far Right 5-2

BOARD HITTERS

#11 Mr. Z 3-1

#3 Hillbilly Royalty 15-1

#1 Bayerd 5-1

Let’s break down the G3 Southwest Stakes and assess the quality of this Derby Prep race:

Oaklawn Park – G3 Southwest Stakes – 1 1/16 Miles

Field Size = 8

Number of Graded Stakes Winners: 0

Number of Graded Stakes Placed: 5

Number of Graded Stakes Starters: 6

BRIS Pace Par:  First Call = 91; Second Call = 98; Final = 98

Projected Pace:  First Call = 95; Second Call = 96; Final = 97

Energy Distribution Profile of Field: Mostly off the pace and closer types so pressers are favored

Morning Line Favorite: Far Right (CURRENT HRN RANKING: 9)

Super Screener Top Three Picks: Private Prospect, Far Right, Mr. Z

Hit-the-Board Bomber Pick:  Hillbilly Royalty

SUPER SCREENER QUALITY RATING = C

Notes:  Mr. Z appears vulnerable here and is starting to look like one that lacks some heart with just 1 win in 10 starts. The field overall is fairly anemic and it is difficult to see any of these making an impact on the first Saturday of May at this early juncture

POST RACE RECAP

Not sure which day the track conditions at Oaklawn were worse, when the Southwest Stakes was originally schedule for President’s Day 2/16/15 or on Sunday.  There was a clearly pronounced bias to off the pace and closer types primarily running a few lengths off the rail on the off going.  Nothing materialized in this race to suggest it was better than the C rating we originally gave to it.   Based on the outcome, we actually downgraded it a bit to a C-.

CHART: http://www.equibase.com/premium/chartEmb.cfm?track=OP&raceDate=02/22/2015&cy=USA&rn=8

WINNER: Far Right

BRIS PACE/FINAL PARS:                              1st Call = 91; 2nd Call = 98; Final = 98

BRIS PROJECTED PACE/FINAL PARS:        1st Call = 95; 2nd Call = 96: Final = 96

BRIS ACTUAL PACE/FINAL PARS:                1st Call = 101 ; 2nd Call = 99    ; Final = 93

TRACK BIAS:  The off-track favored off the pace and closer types

TOUGH TRIP: Far Right was pinched back at the start to be last early on but followed The Truth or Else’s big move on the outside and then ducked to the rail (which was not the place to be) and willingly prevailed.

IMPRESSIVE EFFORT: Mr. Z ran very well against a bias against wire types while cutting hot fractions.  The Truth or Else looked impressive but he ran with the bias on the better part of the track and without interruption in the stretch for a better-than-it-looked effort.

SUPER SCREENER PRE-RACE QUALITY RATING: C

SUPER SCREENER POST-RACE QUALITY RATING: C-