Feb. 20, 2012
HOT SPRINGS, AR (Monday, Feb. 20, 2012) – It has been quite a three-day span for Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, who won 8 of 10 starts over this Presidents Day weekend, including both divisions of the $250,000 Southwest Stakes (G3) before a crowd of 29,313 at Oaklawn. Using similar stalking tactics, Castaway won the first division and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Sprint winner Secret Circle won the second division.
In the first division, Castaway broke sharply under jockey Rafael Bejarano from post 11 and quickly moved into second as Majestic Stride led the field through opening factions of 23 2/5 and 48 for the first half mile. The winner took a short lead rounding the turn for home and then shook off his competition for an easy 3 ¾-length win over Jake Mo. Reckless Jerry finished third. Winning time for the first division was 1:38 for the mile race over a fast track.
Ring It Up finished fourth in the first division and was followed by Majestic Stride, 3-to-1 favorite Longview Drive, Junebugred, No Spin, Unbridled’s Note, Laurie’s Rocket and Red Jack. Longview Drive, Junebugred and No Spin actually finished in a dead-heat for sixth.
Castaway, a Street Sense colt owned by Michael Tabor, John Magnier and Derrick Smith, returned $15.40, $9.40 and $7.20 at odds of 6-to-1.
Although he was the more highly regarded of the pair, Secret Circle appeared to have had to work harder for his half-length victory over Scatman in a race run a full-second faster than the first division. The final time was 1:37.
Breaking from post nine, Secret Circle, also ridden by Bejarano, stayed close to Scatman through fractions of the 23 1/5 and 46 4/5 for the first half mile. The pair continued to race side by side as they distanced themselves from the pack through the stretch and it wasn’t until the final jump that Secret Circle gained the advantage.
Adirondack King finished third and was followed by Pee H Dee, Cyber Secret, Z Rockstar, Chalybeate Springs, King Corral, Apprehender and Big Wednesday.
Secret Circle, an Eddington colt owned by Karl Watson, Paul Weitman and Mike Pegram, returned $3.20, $3.20 and $2.40 as the heavy 3-to-5 favorite.
The Southwest wins mark the third straight year that Baffert has won a graded 3-year-old race at Oaklawn. He won the 2010 Southwest with Conveyance, the 2010 Rebel Stakes (G2) with Lookin at Lucky and the 2011 Rebel with The Factor.