Tipsheet: 2024 Southwest Stakes

January 30th, 2024

A talented field of 12 sophomores will travel 1 1/16 miles at Oaklawn Park on Saturday in the lucrative $800,000 Southwest S. (G3). The 2024 Road to the Kentucky Derby challenge series contest will give the top-five finishers qualifying points towards Churchill Downs on May 4 on a 20-10-6-4-2 structure. 

Southwest Stakes Picks

  • #7 Carbone
  • #5 Wynstock
  • #4 Otto the Conqueror 
  • #8 Common Defense

Southwest Stakes Wagers

Southwest Stakes Contenders

#1 MAYCOCKS BAY (3-1): Michael Stidham trainee comes off of a lifetime best effort when dominating allowance foes at Fair Grounds last time out. The Speightstown colt is well drawn on the rail, but he will need to move forward in order to take down this deep cast. 

#2 CHARLESTON (30-1): Maiden was outrun on the oval most recently and looks overmatched in the field. The Tapiture colt will be a major surprise with Harry Hernandez riding. 

#3 MAGIC GRANT (30-1): Exotics contender has shown vast improvement since having blinkers removed following his debut. The Eddie Milligan trainee was clear in third in the Springboard Mile in his latest performance, and the son of Good Magic could add a lot of value to the race with another step in the right direction. Chris Landeros will be up. 

#4 OTTO THE CONQUEROR (5-1): Springboard Mile victor has won three races in succession for Steve Asmussen and rates a logical chance on this occasion. This bay son of Street Sense has good early foot and can stay the distance, and he will be tough to pass if he avoids an early pace duel with Joel Rosario taking the reins. 

#5 WYNSTOCK (4-1): West Coast import has shown marked improvement in a pair of races since stretching out in distance, led by a game Los Alamitos Futurity (G2) coup. The $700,000 son of Solomini possesses very good gate presence and will be in the mix from the break with Kyle Frey coming in to retain the ride. 

#6 LIBERAL ARTS (8-1): Street Sense S. (G3) victor has won or placed in each of his handful of tries to date and is a contender while making his 2024 debut. This Robert Medina pupil has improved his Brisnet Speed figure in each lifetime effort, and the Arrogate colt has trained forwardly in anticipation of Saturday, as well. The late runner will have Christian Torres in the irons. 

#7 CARBONE (9-2): Asmussen pupil has dominated two fields in succession to commence his career and gets the slight nod in a tough spot. The speedy son of Mitole proved to be capable of handling eight panels in his allowance romp most recently, and he is very intriguing under regular pilot Ricardo Santana. The homebred will be forcing the issue early on. 

#8 COMMON DEFENSE (15-1): Top-three player has displayed a nice turn of foot in each of his career outings to date and will have a fast pace to rally into late on this day. This Karakontie colt is bred to run at least this long, and the Kentucky bred has displayed a liking for the local strip, too. Julien Leparoux will ride and ask the sophomore for his best inside the final furlong. 

#9 LINEBACKER (30-1): Jordan Blair trainee is still a maiden following three lifetime tries and looks to be in a tough spot against this cast. The $130,000 son of Bolt d’Oro finished second here behind a nice prospect at the distance in advance of this test, but he still needs a major step forward to challenge this cast. 

#10 MYSTIK DAN (12-1): Talented McPeek pupil has tired late in a pair of recent route attempts and seems better suited to sprint distances. This Goldencents colt has a lot of ability, but he will have to prove his prowess going long before I get in his corner. Brian Hernandez, Jr. has the assignment. 

#11 JUST STEEL (8-1): Justify colt bagged the Eddie Brown S. at Churchill Downs two prior which preceded a second-place finish in the Smarty Jones S. most recently. The $500,000 purchase will be fit and comes into the event with a bullet morning move on the surface to hint that he is maintaining his strong current form. Ramon Vazquez has the call. 

#12 AWESOME ROAD (8-1): Quality Road colt went unplaced in a pair of graded stakes tries to cap his two-year-old season and draws widest of all for his 2024 unveiling. The expensive yearling purchase has trained steadily this winter and is likely to improve under Florent Geroux, but for the colt to overcome the post and win would be a mild surprise to me.