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Aaron Halterman previews the field for the Southwest Stakes (G3) at Oaklawn Park, then gives his free picks and longshots for this Kentucky Derby (G1) prep race worth 10-4-2-1 points to the top four finishers – unless they’re trained by Bob Baffert, who ships the undefeated 2/1 morning line favorite Newgrange in from California to face a stiff field.
#1 Ben Diesel – Last time out in the Smarty Jones Stakes, this horse drew the far outside post of 13, which is a death trap when going 1 mile at Oaklawn Park. Now, he draws the rail, which still isn’t great but much better than last time out. This horse has talent, and 2 starts back, he finished ahead of Call Me Midnight, who won the Lecomte Stakes (G3) at Fair Grounds last weekend.
#2 Dash Attack – We’ll see if this horse can win his third race in a row after dominating the Smarty Jones Stakes over this track last time out. Both of his wins have come at Oaklawn as well; however, both came over sloppy tracks. Can he reproduce those big efforts on a dry surface? That’s the major question mark as we head into this race, while his pedigree suggests this might be the farthest he wants to run.
2022 Kentucky Derby Contenders: Dash Attack
#3 Don’tcrossthedevil – He stepped up in class last time out in the Smarty Jones Stakes and proved no match for those tougher horses. Look for an improved effort today with a better trip, but it might not be good enough.
#4 Kavod – This horse had a two-race win streak snapped last time out in the Smarty Jones Stakes, but still ran well, finishing a close fourth. There is no doubt the horse has found new life after being claimed by Chris Hartman, and with a similar effort he will be in the mix again today.
#5 Costa Terra – He will be making his 3-year-old debut in this spot after last being seen at Keeneland, running fifth in the Breeders’ Futurity (G1). He outran his odds that day, and could do the same here if Asmussen has him ready to run off the bench. He does not attract a top jockey for this one, though, which is a concern.
#6 Osbourne – This Ron Moquett trainee has showed solid class in 3 races, never finishing worse than second. Two starts back he broke his maiden nicely at Churchill Downs before shipping to Remington Park and running a close second in the Springboard Mile Stakes last time out. This is a great spot for him today, as he fits in well from a class and speed figure standpoint.
#7 Ignitis – We saw this horse run third last time out in the Smarty Jones Stakes for the legendary D Wayne Lukas, who will look to get this horse to the Kentucky Derby by any means necessary. He still looks to have a ways to go form a speed figure standpoint, but Lukas has been known to pull off big upsets.
#8 Barber Road – This horse has been very impressive in his last 4 starts, including a solid second in the Lively Shively Stakes 2 starts back at Churchill Downs before running second last time out at Oaklawn Park in the Smarty Jones Stakes. His consistency will certainly be to his advantage today, and he looks to be in with a big shot once again.
#9 Classic Moment – We’ll see if this colt can bounce back from a poor effort last time out in the Springboard Mile Stakes at Remington Park. Two starts back he broke his maiden at Churchill Downs against a pretty solid horses; however, he just came up flat at Remington last time out. This one could go either way today.
#10 Newgrange – Is this Bob Baffert’s next big horse? The Violence colt has been flawless in two starts so far, breaking his maiden impressively at Del Mar, before earning an equally sharp victory last time out in the Sham Stakes (G3) at Santa Anita. With plenty of pace signed on today, we might see if this colt can win without getting the lead, especially from this outside post. That might be tough for him; however, he does look to be the most talented horse in the race.
2022 Kentucky Derby Contenders: Newgrange
#11 Call Me Jamal – After a couple of lackluster effort, this horse got the job done last time out in impressive fashion over this track. This is big jump up in class today, though, and this trainer usually doesn’t run horses at this level.
#12 Vivar – Brad Cox looks to be a little light in the 3-year-old department this year, but will give this horse another try today after missing the board in two previous attempts on the Kentucky Derby Trail. It’s hard to see him turning it around today, though, especially with this far outside post.
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