Tipsheet: 2023 Southwest Stakes

January 26th, 2023

A total of nine sophomores will travel 1 1/16 miles at Oaklawn Park in the lucrative, $750,000 Southwest S. (G3) on Saturday.

Southwest Stakes Picks

  • #2 Corona Bolt
  • #6 Arabian Knight
  • #1 Sun Thunder
  • #8 Hit Show

Southwest Stakes Wagers

  • $30 win: #2 Corona Bolt
  • $15 exacta: box 2-6
  • 50-cent superfecta: 2, 6 with 1, 2, 6 with 1, 2, 6, 8 with all

Southwest Stakes Contenders

#1 SUN THUNDER (10-1): Has displayed a fine turn of foot in both career tries to date, led by a daylight maiden victory on the surface last time out for Kenny McPeek. The $400,000 weanling purchase drilled a bullet half-mile in advance of Saturday and is perfectly drawn to match his late-running style, which will allow him to save early ground and make one run in the lane. David Cabrera retains the ride.

#2 CORONA BOLT (6-1): Led at every call in the recent Sugar Bowl S. at Fair Grounds and rates as the one to catch in this spot. The fleet son of Bolt d’Oro will try a route of ground for the first time on Saturday, and the way the $225,000 weanling buy has been finishing his races, I expect him to thrive going long. The upset selection inherits pilot Flavien Prat.

#3 JACE’S ROAD (4-1): Took command early and never looked back in dominating the Gun Runner S. at Fair Grounds in his latest endeavor. The Brad Cox trainee faces a tall task in this heat while facing a few very talented foes, but the son of Quality Road can’t be ignored and figures to sit a fine trip just off the early tempo. Joe Talamo picks up the mount.

#4 WESTERN GHENT (20-1): Has been dominated in three races in succession and victory would be a major surprise on this day. The dark bay son of American Pharoah can’t be endorsed in his current form cycle.

#5 FROSTED DEPARTURE (15-1): Won a stakes sprint on the course last time out but has been dusted in his pair of route races to date for McPeek. The gray son of Frosted has good current form, but he will need a lifetime best to make the frame. Francisco Arrieta is in the stirrups.

#6 ARABIAN KNIGHT (1-1): Was simply fantastic in leading at every call in a superb debut tally at Keeneland for conditioner Bob Baffert, who is no stranger to winning this tilt. The $2.3 million juvenile purchase showed big speed and a wicked turn of foot in that seven-furlong test, and he could be any kind going forward. The Uncle Mo colt is the obvious one to beat with John Velazquez coming in to retain the assignment.

#7 RED ROUTE ONE (10-1): Is Grade-1 placed and will be coming on late as an exotics contender at a price for trainer Steve Asmussen. The chestnut son of Gun Runner finished a close fourth in the Kentucky Jockey Club S. (G2) in his latest venture, and the colt will be running by some tired legs in the lane with Ricardo Santana, Jr in the silks.

#8 HIT SHOW (10-1): Drove home a solid allowance victor in preparation for this tilt and looms as a top-three contender with even minor improvement. The gray son of Candy Ride has posted four solid morning drills following his latest venture, and his running style can surely net him a top-three placing with his best. The homebred will have Manny Franco come in to ride, which I view as a positive.

#9 EL TOMATE (30-1): Looked good in graduating on debut at Remington Park in his first run, but this class rise looks to be an ambitious one for the Miguel Silva trainee. I will wait for the son of Runhappy to find an easier spot before siding with him.