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Rafael Bejarano celebrates aboard Castaway after winning the first division of the Southwest Stakes. He also rode second division winner Secret Circle.
On Saturday, two fields of three-year-olds went 1 mile in two divisions of the $250,000 Southwest Stakes (G3) at Oaklawn Park, a major local prep for the Arkansas Derby and an important race for graded stakes earnings to make the Kentucky Derby field. Condtions were excellent for this Presidents' Day feature, with 29,313 fans on hand enjoying the sunny skies and temperatures in the low 60's.
Castaway leads down the center of the track
Jockey Carlos Marquez Jr. sent 19-1 Majestic Stride to the lead first time by and he set fractions of 23.56, 48.08, and 1:12.60 over the fast track while pressed by 7-1 Castaway to his outside. Entering the lane, Majestic Stride tired as Castaway took over the lead through 7/8 in 1:25/53/ 23-1 Jake Mo, 7th early, put in a strong late rally but Castaway was long gone, cruising under the line 3 3/4 lengths in front in 1:38.09. It was another 1/2 length back to 9-2 fourth choice Reckless Jerry third. Favorite Longview Drive finished in a triple dead heat for sixth, beaten 6 3/4 lengths.
Pgm Horse Jockey Win Place Show 11 Castaway Bejarano 15.40 9.40 7.20 3 Jake Mo Berry 19.00 7.40 8 Reckless Jerry Laviolette 4.20 Winning Time: 1:38.09 $2 Exacta 11-3 376.00 $1 Trifecta 11-3-8 1,065.40 $1 Superfecta 11-3-8-9 10,240.60
Left: Castaway in the winner's circle. Jimmy Barnes, assistant to trainer Bob Baffert said, "Everyone said we drew bad when we got the 11, but I wasn't that bothered by it," said Baffert's assistant, Jimmy Barnes. "You put them in from the rail out, so they're not in the gate that long. Rafael (Bejarano) did a good job getting him out of the gate and getting over to the rail. I knew we brought two good horses and this one had been getting over the track great all week."
Right: Castaway in the post parade. Jockey Rafael Bejarano said, "I thought he won pretty easy. I was right where I wanted to be, especially at the end."
Left: Second place finisher Jake Mo in the post parade. Trainer Allen Milligan said, We had sort of a bad trip, got shuffled to the back. (Jockey) Cliff (Berry) did everything we could ask him to do."
Right: Third place finisher Reckless Jerry in the post parade. The 9-2 fourth choice stalked the pace 4th saving ground under jockey Shane Laviolette, then came out wide for the drive to get third beaten 4 1/4 lengths. The Kenny Smith trainee improved his record to 2 wins, 2 seconds, and 3 thirds in 7 starts, earning $145,515 for owner-breeder Dream Walkin' Farms and Lanita Davis.
Left: All the jockeys for the first division of the Southwest walking over to the outside saddling area before the race.
Right: The post parade for the first division of the Southwest showing all the horses.
Secret Circle (outside) and Scatman battle down the stretch in the Southwest Stakes
Jockey Luis Quinonez sent 10-1 Scatman to the lead immediately and he set fractions of 23.21, 46.81, and 1:11.25 while pressed by Secret Circle 1/2 length back and to his inside. The duel continued into the lane, but in the final strides Secret Circle was able to pull ahead for the 1/2 length victory in 1:37.08. It was a long 5 1/2 lengths back from Scatmn to late-running Adirondack King third.
Pgm Horse Jockey Win Place Show 9 Secret Circle Bejarano 3.20 3.20 2.40 3 Scatman Quinonez 6.40 4.60 2 Adirondack King Elliott 3.60 Winning Time: 1:37.08 $2 Exacta 9-3 23.20 $1 Trifecta 9-3-2 45.80 $1 Superfecta 9-3-2-6 334.40
Left: Secret Circle in the winner's circle. Co-owner Paul Weitman said, "This horse tries every time. I was a little nervous at the end, but he dug in and got there. It's always fun to come here. It's one of my favorite places. We'll leave his next start up to Bob (Baffert). He's the coach."
Right: Winning jockey Rafael Bejarano celebrates the win aboard Secret Circle. Bejarano said, "When I asked him to run, he had more left than I expected. He showed a lot of heart today and I'm very pleased with his effort."
Left: Second place finisher Scatman in the post parade. Trainer Mike Lauer said, "He ran a big race, but he just got beat. Turning for home I thought we were alive. We knew he'd have to step up to run well in here, but we wanted to stay here. There was no reason to really look elsewhere. We felt he had a big chance. Now we'll get him back and reevaluate to see what the next step is."
Right: Third place finisher Adirondack King in the post parade. The 6-1 third choice was unhurried nith 5 1/2 lengths back under jockey Stewart Elliott, then rallied 6 wide to get third beaten 6 lengths. The John Servis trainee improved his record to 3 wins, 1 second, and 3 thirds in 7 starts, earning $169,610 for owner Marchfore Thoroughbreds.
The post parade for the first division of the Southwest showing all the horses.
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