The Southwest Stakes Tipsheet

February 25th, 2021

A fine field of seven sophomores will travel 1 1/16 miles at Oaklawn Park in Saturday’s lucrative $750,000 Southwest S. (G3). The much-anticipated event, which features the top two juveniles of 2020, is part of the 2021 Road to the Kentucky Derby challenge series with points going to the top four finishers on a 10-4-2-1 basis.

Southwest Picks

  • #4 Jackie’s Warrior
  • #1 Essential Quality
  • #7 Spielberg
  • #5 Santa Cruiser

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Southwest Wagers

  • $30 Win #4 Jackie’s Warrior
  • $10 Trifecta Key 4 with 1,7
  • $5 Superfecta 1,4 with 1,4 with 5,7 with 5,7

Southwest Contenders

#1 ESSENTIAL QUALITY makes his three-year-old debut following an unblemished 2020 campaign for conditioner Brad Cox. The champion son of Tapit was last seen taking the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) at Keeneland, and he has been training in fine fashion in preparation for his return. Standout Godolphin homebred retains the services of pilot Luis Saez.

#2 SAFFA’S DAY graduated in game fashion on the surface in his most recent outing for Asmussen. Carpe Diem colt takes a big class jump on Saturday, and he will need a lifetime best performance to factor inside the final furlong of the Southwest.

#3 LAST SAMURAI will be making his seasonal and stakes debut for Dallas Stewart. Chestnut son of Malibu Moon didn’t flash a lot of potential last campaign, but his works have been solid and I like the aggressive move running here off the shelf. Jon Court has the call.

#4 JACKIE’S WARRIOR blitzed through the Empire State last season prior to finishing a solid fourth in the Juvenile in his two-year-old finale. Fleet son of Maclean’s Music is training like a horse sitting on a big race, and the Kentucky-bred is a major wire-to-wire candidate with Joel Rosario coming in to ride.

#5 SANTA CRUISER was outrun in a pair of graded tries at Fair Grounds as of late. Desormeaux pupil had solid form prior to that, however, and he will get a swift pace to rally into in his local bow. The son of Dialed In has top-three appeal at a big price beneath Eramia.

#6 WOODHOUSE finished a close third in an allowance tilt on the surface most recently for Trout. Talented son of Speightstown faces a much more difficult task in the Southwest and needs a major step forward to be a threat while making his stakes debut. Regular pilot Cabrera will be up.

#7 SPIELBERG is a Grade 2 victor who has faced some ultra-talented foes on the West Coast for Baffert. The $1 million son of Union Rags is not overly consistent at this stage of his development, but he is capable of running big on his best day, and the chestnut could be any kind in his first try over the surface. Martin Garcia will be in the stirrups.