Scully: Southwest anchors Pick 3 play at Oaklawn Park

February 2nd, 2024

Oaklawn Park features four stakes on Saturday, including a pair of qualifiers for the Kentucky Derby (G1) and Oaks (G1), the $800,000 Southwest (G3) and $250,000 Martha Washington. Both races are part of a Pick 3 sequence of interest.

Here is my analysis.

Race 9 – Martha Washington S.

Denim and Pearls merits respect based on numbers, but I’m not keen on how she faltered when trying a two-turn distance in the Year’s End S. Her stablemate, #9 In Good Taste (8-1), is the play.

After missing the break in her career debut at Keeneland, In Good Taste rallied well to be second over six furlongs. The Brad Cox-trained filly stretched out to two turns for her second start, a maiden special weight at Oaklawn Park in mid-December, and set a pressured pace before gamely turning back the bid of Honor Cat, who returned to win her next start by 5 1/2 lengths as the even-money favorite. In Good Taste should benefit from the experience, her 86 Brisnet Speed rating compares favorably to her main rivals, and she has the speed to clear from her outside post. I like her chances in the Road to the Kentucky Oaks series qualifier.

Race 10 – American Beauty S.

#4 Alva Starr (even-money) dropped her lone appearance at Oaklawn Park last spring, but she appears too fast for rivals in the six-furlong event. The four-year-old filly really came on last summer, recording triple-digit Speed ratings in her last three outings, including a pair of classy stakes performances, and trainer Brett Brinkman has his sights on bigger and better targets for the talented speedster. I won’t take her on at short odds.

Race 11 – Southwest (G3)

Twelve are set for the 1 1/16-mile event and given half the field does their best running on or near the front end, a hot and/or contested pace appears likely. #6 Liberal Arts (8-1) will look to take advantage of the setup.

A big, gangly son of Arrogate, Liberal Arts defeated Otto the Conqueror when breaking his maiden over seven furlongs in his third start. He followed with a troubled third in the Iroquois (G3) and then broke through with a convincing win in the Street Sense (G3) over a sloppy track at Churchill Downs, closing from last to win going away 2 3/4 lengths. His Speed numbers were steadily increasing last fall, and Liberal Arts looks like the type of colt who will only improve with experience and maturity. I’ll tab him from off the pace.

I will also include #7 Carbone (9-2), a sharp frontrunning winner when stretching to two turns. He’s the speed of the speed in my estimation, and while longer distances appear to be a daunting challenge, Carbone has a chance to last 1 1/16 miles.

  • $20 Pick 3 (Races 6-8): 9 with 4 with 6,7 ($40)