Baffert, Bejarano grab two Southwest trophies, what did we learn from race?// Algorithms 'unbelievable' in work// more

In just under forty minutes trainer Bob Baffert and jockey Rafael Bejarano etched their names into two Southwest Stakes (G3) trophies at Oaklawn Park Monday.  The first by maiden winner Castaway was the more visually impressive performance when he pulled away from the pack down the stretch to claim victory by 3 3/4 lengths.  Jake Mo and Reckless Jerry completed a dollar trifecta that paid $1,065.  Castaway, who failed to break his maiden in his first five tries, is finally living up to his $435,000 price tag for Coolmore.

Stablemate and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Sprint winner Secret Circle had to work a little harder in the second version of the Southwest.  After sitting just off pacesetter Scatman for most of the mile contest, the two engaged in a spirited duel down the stretch before Secret Circle eventually crossed the wire a half-length in front.  It was another five lengths back to third place finisher Adirondack King.

Aside from Bob Baffert flexing even more muscle along the Kentucky Derby Trail, it’s difficult to get a read on all of the Southwest performers.  Perhaps it’s safe to assume the Arkansas-based contingent is a step below the Southern California, Florida, and New York circuits.  That not only leads us to question the quality behind the victors, but the performances of the winners themselves.  Secret Circle was game, however drifting noticeably in the stretch.  It’s very difficult to imagine him excelling at 10 furlongs. Maybe Castaway is an emerging star putting all the pieces together at the right time, but his final clocking was a second slower than Secret Circle and he had a perfect trip with modest fractions.

El Padrino received a lot of ink Monday ahead of the Risen Star (G2) at the Fair Grounds.  He deserves headlines at this point, but still surprising hardly anyone reported on Lecomte (G3) winner Mr. Bowling and his 5-furlong bullet work ahead of the Risen Star// Pletcher sent several Kentucky Derby contenders to the track for official moves Monday, including Algorithms and Discreet Dancer who are heading to Sunday’s Fountain of Youth.  According to the clocker, Algorithms looked “unbelievable”// Mike Harrington apparently backed off statements last week that Creative Cause will head to the Rebel (G2) at Oaklawn.  He will still try to separate him from Empire Way who is set for the San Felipe (G2) at Santa Anita// A non-intentionally funny article from Yahoo! on the “25 likely Kentucky Derby entries”.  Pretty bold statement to make on Feb 20th// Another entry from Hansen’s owner in the Courier-Journal blog.  I’m beginning to think alcohol plays a role in these posts…

Southwest Stakes (G3)- Division 1
Winner: Castaway
Trainer: Bob Baffert
Jockey: Rafael Bejarano
Wrap-up articles: Bloodhorse / DRF / Brisnet

Southwest Stakes (G3)- Division 2
Winner: Secret Circle
Trainer: Bob Baffert
Jockey: Rafael Bejarano
Wrap-up articles: Bloodhorse / DRF / Brisnet

Saturday- Risen Star Stakes (G2)- entries

Other Articles
Hansen to the next level (Hansen Blog via the Courier Journal)

After the wire 2/20 (Bloodhorse)

Out of Bounds- HOL- 5F- 59:80 H- 2/25
Hierro- SA- 5F- 1.00:80- H- 10/33
How Do I Win- BEL- 4F- 48:64- B- 3/28
Shared Property- FG- 5F- 1.01:60- B- 20/63
Mr. Bowling- FG- 5F- 59:80- B- 1/63
Z Dager- FG- 4F- 50:60- B- 39/68
Class President- FG- 5F- 1.02:00- B- 24/63
Brown Eyed Jozi- OP- 5F- 1.01:00- B- 2/7
Discreet Dancer- PMM- 5F- 1.00:24- B- 1/9
Algorithms- PMM- 4F- 49:09- B- 7/21
Ender Knievel- PMM- 4F- 48:89- B- 5/21
Liberty Bound- PMM- 4F- 48:89- B- 5/21