Derby Prep Alert
Derby Prep Alert

February 20, 2015Sponsored by BRIS, our Preferred Past Performance Provider

Sponsored by BRIS, our Preferred Past Performance Provider

Did you miss us? We missed you and we’re happy to be back for our SIXTH year of the Derby Prep Alert! As we did last year, we’ll bring you free past performances and charts for every Kentucky Derby and Oaks race we cover, courtesy of our partner We’ll also post links to recaps and replays where available, so be sure to come back after the races!

What’s happened so far? Check out the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks prep schedules for a full list of winners to date, results charts for completed races, and upcoming scoring races.

We kick off our in-depth coverage with a whopping six races that includes over 50 entries. This embarrassment of riches is thanks in part to the rescheduling of the Southwest due to last weekend’s wintry weather in Arkansas.

Over the next 10 weeks, we’ll take you through all 32 prep races leading up to the first Friday and Saturday in May, so, prepare to immerse yourself in what we hope will be an exciting 2015 Kentucky Derby and Oaks trail!

Download Free Past Performances

News About the Contenders
Blood-Horse: Texas Red Recovering, SA Derby Still Target
Blood-Horse: Haskin – Welcome to the New Kentucky Derby
Blood-Horse: McLaughlin in Derby Pursuit With Full Hand
Blood-Horse: Dortmund Continues to Show Derby Qualities
Blood-Horse: Haskin’s Derby Dozen – February 17, 2015
Blood-Horse: Upstart Has Hopeful Evans on Derby Trail
Blood-Horse: Baffert Impressed by American Pharoah Work
Brisnet: Derby hopeful Khozan, comebacker Top Billing add spark to GP allowances
Brisnet: Will Maftool and Mubtaahij bring their rivalry to Churchill?
Brisnet: Baffert impressed with American Pharoah’s breeze
DRF: El Kabeir sneaks in a workout
DRF: Bob Baffert discusses race plans for American Pharoah
DRF: Ocean Knight works, Withers likely next
DRF: Souper Colossal works at GP West, Swale next
DRF: Fair Grounds: Keep an eye on track surface today
DRF: Daredevil to make 3yo debut in Swale, but no Competitive Edge
DRF: Eagle has injured knee, out indefinitely
DRF: Kentucky Derby: Who’s hot, who’s not for Feb. 18
DRF: Top Decile won’t go in Rachel Alexandra, to be freshened
ESPN: Projecting Kentucky Oaks field
TwinSpires Blog: Carpe Diem Seizes Top of Pugh’s Derby List
TwinSpires Blog: Let’s go to the videotape: One Lucky Dane
TwinSpires Blog: Scully’s Derby Top 10 – Texas Red in doubt
TwinSpires Blog: Kentucky Derby Points System Improved Qualifying And Debate

Busher Stakes Kentucky Oaks prep race
Aqueduct, Saturday Feb 21, post time: 2:18 pm ET
1 1/16 miles (8.5 furlongs)

On a weekend that features three prep races for the Kentucky Oaks, the Busher at Aqueduct lags behind, in both quantity and quality, the Grade 3 Rachel Alexandra at Fair Grounds in New Orleans and the Grade 2 Davona Dale at Gulfstream Park in south Florida, but how many horses are entered and how many races they’ve won before Saturday won’t affect the number of Kentucky Oaks points they’ll earn if they hit the top four, and with a total of 85 points on the line, the top two finishers will virtually ensure themselves a place in the starting gate on Friday, May 1 at Churchill Downs.

The main standout, and main question mark, is Condo Commando, one of only two graded stakes winners in the six-horse field. She’s won three of four lifetime starts by a combined 34 lengths, crushing her competition in both the Grade 1 Spinaway and the Grade 2 Demoiselle last year, zipping to the front and leading her rivals on a merry chase. Her loss came when she was unable to get the early lead, and one of several questions facing her is whether her far outside post and the speed of rival Overprepared will allow her to get loose on that lead she loves.

Condo Commando is also making her first start since the Demoiselle at the end of November. She’s already banked 11 Oaks points and may well already have all the points she’ll need to earn a spot in the Oaks; is she ready for peak performance off a nearly three-month layoff?

Joining Condo Commando among stakes winners is Grade 2 Matron winner Paulassilverlining, who won comfortably after being taken back early by jockey Jose Ortiz, whom she’ll be without on Saturday as he heads south to Gulfstream Park to ride Upstart in Derby prep Fountain of Youth. Her sire, the brilliant, speedy Ghostzapper, won the 2004 Breeders’ Cup Classic; out of a mare by 1996 Kentucky Derby winner Grindstone, she’s bred for distance top and bottom, and with a possible speed duel, she may well be the one coming late to get the 50 points that go to the winner.

Two years ago trainer Todd Pletcher got his first win in the Busher when he saddled a filly who’d won her way through allowance ranks to get a win in the listed Busanda Stakes at Aqueduct in January. Two races after her Busher win, Princess of Sylmar gave Pletcher his fourth win in the Kentucky Oaks, and on Saturday he’ll take Overprepared down that same path, hoping for that same outcome. Overprepared led for every step of her 1 3/4-length win in the Busanda—can she do that again, or will a speed duel with Condo Commando leave them both cooked before the finish line?

Hold Me Down, Sweet On Smokey, and Liberty Island bring only maiden wins to the race; Liberty Island, second to Overprepared in the Busanda and likely to be stalking the frontrunner(s), could be interesting at a more attractive price than the top three are likely to be.

Teresa Genaro

Download the Busher chart

2015 Busher Replay

News and Recaps
DRF: Condo Commando easily wins Busher
Brisnet: Condo Commando dominates Busher in seasonal bow

Davona Dale Stakes Kentucky Oaks prep race
Gulfstream Park, Saturday Feb 21, post time: 4:00 pm ET
1 1/16 miles (8.5 furlongs)

Trainer Todd Pletcher sends out a trio of fillies short on class but long on potential. Perhaps the most highly regarded is Eskenformoney, who will make her stakes debut after beginning the year with two impressive Gulfstream victories. From – the first crop by Grade 1 Wood Memorial winner (and one-time Kentucky Derby favorite) Eskendereya, this filly began her career on turf before finding success on dirt. Having already posted one of the fastest Brisnet speed figures among the race entrants going the one-mile distance, don’t be surprised if Eskenformoney steps up and wins big for her connections.

Like Eskenformoney, stablemates Enchantress and Genre face class questions. By far the most expensive auction purchase in the field (at $950,000), Enchantress hails from the same family as multiple Grade 1 winner First Samurai, yet she’s been victorious thus far only going six furlongs. In the one-mile Grade 3 Tempted, she was done halfway through the race, and most recently in the 7-furlong Grade 2 Forward Gal, she led early before weakening, finishing 10 lengths behind the winner. Her early running style doesn’t bode well for her, while stablemate Genre possesses the kind of stamina breeding that may bring her greater success at even longer distances. She was certainly no threat to Eskenformoney in her last start.

In addition to Enchantress, five other runners from the Grade 2 Forward Gal return, the most promising being the top two finishers, surprise 14-1 winner Birdatthewire and equally-surprising 11-1 runner-up Lassofthemohicans. Both entered that race off maiden victories, but it’s unlikely that they will slip under the radar here, as both have strong factors working in their favor. As a daughter of 12-furlong Grade 1 Belmont Stakes winner Summer Bird, Birdatthewire is certainly bred to go much further, and her proven ability to close strong late will come in handy with so much early speed in the race. Breaking from the advantageous rail post, Lassofthemohicans has yet to finish worse than second in five lifetime starts. Her unraced dam is a half-sister to 2-time Eclipse award-winning champion sprinter Housebuster, while her sire Indian Charlie is an acknowledged speed influence, which likely explains Lassofthemohicans’ strong Brisnet speed figures and notable 5-furlong bullet workouts. Although probably not a serious Kentucky Oaks contender, she certainly has the potential to win this one-mile event based on her strong late-closing effort in the Forward Gal.

Undefeated Grade 3 Tempted winner (and Triple Crown nominated) Jacaranda makes her 3-year-old debut for trainer Mike Hushion. Her half-brother, Grade 1 Florida Derby victor Constitution, began 2015 by capturing the Grade 1 Donn Handicap over this track; three bullet workouts in advance of this start signal that his little half-sister could follow suit. There’s plenty of class in her previous efforts: in addition to Enchantress, she defeated Grade 2 Matron winner Paulassilverlining in the Tempted, and that filly came back to win the Ruthless and starts in the Busher on Saturday.

Two other highly regarded and well-bred fillies making their first starts of the year also bear watching. Bill Mott sends out Triple Crown nominated Puca, a half-sister to Grade 1-placed Finnegans Wake. She broke her maiden in devastating fashion returning to dirt after a close-up third-place finish on turf behind subsequent Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf winner Lady Eli. Taking a major step up in class, Puca didn’t disgrace herself over the speed-biased Santa Anita dirt in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, closing from dead last to finish sixth, just three lengths back of wire-to-wire winner Take Charge Brandi. In last summer’s 6 1/2-furlong Grade 2 Adirondack, Cavorting defeated not only subsequent Grade 1 Chandelier winner Angela Renee and two-time Grade 1-placed Wonder Gal, but also eventual Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies winner and Eclipse Award champion juvenile filly Take Charge Brandi. Next out, after scooting out to an early lead over a sloppy Belmont track, she failed in the stretch, finishing dead last in October’s Grade 1 Frizette. With her stamina-rich pedigree (a daughter of Bernardini, out of the 10-furlong Grade 2-placed Carson City mare Promenade Girl), Cavorting is a serious Kentucky Oaks contender on paper. With a string of strong 5-furlong workouts posted in advance of this start, she could be a major factor.

The real question mark in the field is Skipalute, still a maiden, but also twice a juvenile graded stakes runner-up, in the Grade 2 Matron, behind Paulassilverling, and in the Grade 3 Delta Princess, behind champion Take Charge Brandi. Last out in the Forward Gal, she was eased in the stretch. Two strong workouts since then, in addition to top BRIS prime power and class rating numbers, signal this filly could rebound in a major way…or continue to disappoint.

Ekati’s Phaeton, Distinta, Silverpocketsfull, Danessa Deluxe (SCRATCHED) and Money’soncharlotte round out the field of 14.

Valerie Grash

Download the Davona Dale chart

2015 Davona Dale Replay

News and Recaps
Blood-Horse: Longshot Ekati’s Phaeton Wires Davona Dale
Brisnet: Ekati’s Phaeton guts out Davona Dale victory
DRF: Ekati’s Phaeton alters tactics to upset Davona Dale

Fountain of Youth Stakes Kentucky Derby prep race
Gulfstream Park, Saturday Feb 21, post time: 5:30 pm ET
1 1/16 miles (8.5 furlongs)

With 50 qualifying points for the Kentucky Derby going to the winner of the Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream Park on Saturday, the victor will likely secure a place in the gate for the big day at Churchill Downs on the first Saturday of May. If this year plays out like the first few years of the Kentucky Derby points system, 50 points would place the winner among the top 20 at the end of this year’s Derby prep season.

Two out of the last three winners of the Fountain of Youth Stakes have gone on to win one of the Triple Crown races for 3-year-olds in May and June. In 2011, Union Rags won the Fountain of Youth and later won that year’s Belmont Stakes. Orb, winner in 2012, went on to win the Kentucky Derby. A field of eight will line up in the 2015 Fountain of Youth on Saturday with the goal of repeating the recent success of winners in the 3-year-old classics this spring.

The top two finishers in the Holy Bull Stakes run at Gulfstream in January return as the favorites in the Fountain of Youth. The winner Upstart will attempt to repeat his impressive performance in the Holy Bull over second-place finisher Frosted. Upstart has three wins from five career starts and has never been worse than third in his three graded stakes attempts. As a 2-year-old, he ran second over a muddy track in the Grade 1 Champagne Stakes and ran third in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile after a slow start and rough trip. Upstart looks like the real deal and would vault to the top of Kentucky Derby contenders with a win on Saturday.

Frosted was the post-time favorite in the Holy Bull but never threatened the winner while finishing second. He has one win and four second-place finishes in five career starts. He lost the Grade 2 Remsen Stakes by half a length in his first graded stakes try last November. Frosted has been consistent in his brief career, but his speed figures and apparent preference for running second raises many questions about his ability to contend for the big prizes in the spring. He will need to improve off his last two efforts, and Upstart might need to regress, for him to reverse the order of the Holy Bull.

Two years ago, Orb won the Fountain of Youth in his graded stakes debut. Itsaknockout hopes to repeat the feat of the 2012 Kentucky Derby winner in his first attempt in graded company. The Fountain of Youth will be the third career start for the undefeated Itsaknockout, who won an allowance race at one mile over the Gulfstream surface in January. Elite trainer Todd Pletcher will send this colt to post with hopes of notching his third win in the Fountain of Youth.

Danny Boy is an intriguing longshot among the eight entries. Three of his four career starts have come over the turf, but he finished fourth, just three and a half lengths from the winner, in last year’s Grade 3 Iroquois Stakes, his only dirt start. His trainer Dale Romans has had success on the Derby trail running his prospects over turf. Both Dullahan and Paddy O’Prado competed in turf races prior to cashing checks in the Triple Crown series. All three colts ran under the ownership colors of Donegal Racing. Romans will look to repeat his winning formula in 2015 with Danny Boy.

Frammento, Juan and Bina, and Bluegrass Singer were all soundly beaten by Upstart in the Holy Bull. Bluegrass Singer set a moderate pace in the race but flopped in the stretch and finished third, nearly eight lengths back from the winner. He will likely set the pace again, but his past performances indicate that he would be better suited for shorter sprint distances. Juan and Bina is regally bred with both his sire (Indian Charlie) and dam (Caressing) having Grade 1 wins on their career resumes. However, he has disappointed in his two starts in 2015. He gets an upgrade in the saddle with jockey Javier Castellano aboard for the Fountain of Youth.

Gorgeous Bird, recent allowance winner at Gulfstream, rounds out the field of eight for the 2015 Fountain of Youth Stakes.

Kevin Martin

Download the Fountain of Youth Chart

2015 Fountain of Youth Replay

News and Recaps
Blood-Horse: Upstart DQ’ed in FOY, Itsaknockout Wins
Brisnet: Itsaknockout elevated to first in Fountain of Youth
Derbyologist: The Gallop Out – Fountain of Youth
DRF: Sneak peek at post-race analysis of Fountain of Youth
DRF: Violette comments day after Upstart DQ’d
DRF: Itsaknockout wins Fountain of Youth by disqualification

Rachel Alexandra Stakes Kentucky Oaks prep race
Fair Grounds, Saturday Feb 21, post time: 5:54 pm ET
1 1/16 miles (8.5 furlongs)

As the sole Grade 1 winner in the field, Angela Renee enjoys a clear class advantage. A full-sister to multiple Grade 1 victor To Honor and Serve, this Todd Pletcher-trained filly disappointed in her two races following her Grade 1 Chandelier win, finishing 13 lengths behind Take Charge Brandi on a speed-favoring Santa Anita track in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies and then 11 1/2 lengths behind Grade 1 Spinaway winner Condo Commando in the 1 1/8-miles Grade 2 Demoiselle in late November. Reunited with Chandelier jockey Rafael Bejarano, she makes her 3-year-old debut here with an interesting equipment change, blinkers off.

Forgive the pun, but much pre-race chatter has focused on listed Silverbulletday winner I’m a Chatterbox. No threat to West Coast Belle in last November’s Grade 2 Golden Rod, she appears to have blossomed with age and a barn switch from Ken McPeek to perennial top filly trainer Larry Jones. Drawing the far outside 10 post position may not be ideal for her early running style, given that the first turn comes up quickly with the mid-stretch start. In addition to apparent stamina breeding limitations, she also could bounce off her previous big effort in the Silverbulletday last month. It’s always hard to ignore Jones trainees, though, when they are proven over a track, and no one was catching her in that recent wire-to-wire 8-length romp.

Upon closer inspection, West Coast Belle endured a tough-luck fourth-place finish in the Silverbulletday. Impeded just enough to halt her usual late run in the stretch, she still managed to close within a half-length of runner-up Forever Unbridled. With better racing luck, this daughter of red-hot Tapit (sire of last year’s 3-year-old champion filly Untapable) should do better second-up off a two-month break. Moving forward, she could also be a serious Kentucky Oaks contender, especially considering that her third dam Dispute won the race in 1993.

Two other fillies in this race have strong (and, interestingly, intertwined) Kentucky Oaks roots in their pedigrees. Triple Crown nominated Forever Unbridled is the daughter of 2006 Oaks winner Lemons Forever and a full sister to last year’s third-place Oaks finisher Unbridled Forever, while maiden winner White Clover is a full sister to Ermine, who finished second to Lemons Forever in her Oaks. Both Forever Unbridled and White Clover are only maiden winners at this point, with the latter untested beyond a sprint distance for trainer Larry Jones.

Rounding out Jones’ trio of runners is last-out wire-to-wire allowance winner Lovely Maria; her recent Brisnet speed figure and a sharp 5-furlong bullet workout indicate that she may be ready to step up in class. Another speedy filly looking to overcome class limitations is Freudie Anne, who will make her first start outside of New York state-bred company with veteran jockey Mike Smith aboard.

While distance and class issues face Harbour Island, well-bred maiden winners Shook Up and Pleasant Tales have already won at the 1 1/16 miles distance. Whether or not they can step up successfully into graded stakes company is the question. The other Tapit filly in the field, Triple Crown nominee Shook Up is a daughter of Grade 1 winner Sugar Shake, while Pleasant Tales’ second dam is 2005 Breeders’ Cup Distaff victress Pleasant Home, so on pedigree alone they appear capable of doing so.

Valerie Grash

Download the Rachel Alexandra Chart

2015 Rachel Alexandra Replay

News and Recaps
Blood-Horse: I’m a Chatterbox Takes Rachel Alexandra
Brisnet: I’m a Chatterbox lives up to talk in Rachel Alexandra
DRF: I’m a Chatterbox displays versatility to win Rachel Alexandra

Risen Star Stakes Kentucky Derby prep race
Fair Grounds, Saturday Feb 21, post time: 6:24 pm ET
1 1/16 miles (8.5 furlongs)

While the West Coast Kentucky Derby preps have a defined solid duo of early contenders in Dortmund and Texas Red, the east and south regions remain wide open. That could change with Saturday’s Grade 2, $400,000 Risen Star at Fair Grounds.

Imperia is one contender in the 10-horse field who could vault to prominence in Derby rankings with a victory in the 1 1/16-miles test that is often used as a prep for the Louisiana Derby. Imperia was a late-closing second to El Kabeir in the Kentucky Jockey Club in his first race on dirt. His consistency is one of his top assets. The only poor effort of his four-race career was a 10th-place finish in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf. He also boasts a win at this distance against stakescompany in the Grade 3 Pilgrim on turf.

Jockey Mike Smith will travel from his California base to guide Imperia for the first time. With several early speed horses entered, Imperia will likely get the setup he needs to rally from off the pace.

Another runner who would move up substantially among Derby hopefuls with a victory is International Star, winner of the Grade 3 Lecomte over this surface on Jan. 17. This Mike Maker trainee has been in the mix in every race but one – an uncharacteristic ninth-place showing in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf – and he’s won on all three surfaces.

International Star must overcome post 10; two of his three wins were from the 1 post. In the Lecomte, jockey Miguel Mena and International Star stalked the pace in a perfect spot at the rail until late stretch. Hampered by traffic ahead, Mena wisely guided the colt four-wide to pass. Although International Star veered slightly as he neared the finish, he galloped out with energy ahead of foes War Story and Tiznow R J, who return in this race.

Tiznow R J is one who could rebound from a wide trip in the Lecomte. He’ll break from the same post – number 2 – with Robby Albarado returning to ride. Tiznow R J’s lone win was gate to wire against maidens in December, so he’ll need to answer the class question here.

War Story, who outdueled Tiznow R J for second in the stretch of the Lecomte, comes into the race off a bullet work at Oaklawn Park. The gelding will have Hall of Fame jockey Kent Desormeaux aboard for the first time. He’s tactically versatile; an improved effort from this Tom Amoss trainee would be no shocker.

Jockey James Graham, the current meet leader at Fair Grounds, moves from War Story to the intriguing late-closer Keen Ice, who ships in from Gulfstream Park off a fifth-place finish in the Grade 2 Holy Bull. Keen Ice boasts a running style similar to that of Golden Soul, fourth-place finisher in the 2013 Louisiana Derby and runner-up in the Kentucky Derby: he prefers to come from far, far off the pace.

Keen Ice will likely need every inch of the long Fair Grounds stretch to have an impact – this distance is a bit short for him – but he has the makings of a legitimate Kentucky Derby contender. He’s by two-time Horse of the Year Curlin, who was a master of route racing with wins in the Breeders’ Cup Classic and the Jockey Club Gold Cup, both at the Derby distance of 10 furlongs.

Two recent maiden winners jumping to stakes company are generating interest. J S Bach (SCRATCHED), a Todd Pletcher trainee who romped in his second start in a 1 1/16-miles test at Gulfstream Park, was diverted to this race after the Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn was rescheduled after being cancelled due to inclement weather earlier this week. It’s interesting to note that California-based Rafael Bejarano is slated to ride J S Bach. Although this colt will be trying the surface for the first time, he could make an impact despite his inexperience.

Fair Grounds-based Bluff, a son of Tapit, the current North American leading sire in earnings, put it all together and broke his maiden in his third start for trainer Larry Jones. This chestnut looks like a talented colt, and he has a home base advantage, but this is a major class hike. It’s also interesting to note that he is not Triple Crown nominated.

Along with Tiznow R J, trainer Steve Asmussen also has Big Big Easy entered off a nearly four-month layoff. This colt flashed talent when he beat graded stakes-placed Eagle in an allowance at Churchill Downs in September, but he’s faltered twice when testing stakes company.

After setting the pace and fading to sixth in the Lecomte, longshot Hero of Humor bounced back nine days later to win from a stalking spot in an allowance race at Fair Grounds. Trainer Gennadi Dorochenko is known for his high-odds surprises in “The Big Easy,” but this will be a tall task for this well-traveled but seemingly overmatched colt.

California shipper St. Joe Bay, fourth to Calculator in the Grade 3 Sham, drew the rail post and should play a major role in the early pace if he can obtain position on the inside. He’s had trouble getting off to a clean start in his last two races.

J.J. Hysell

Download the Risen Star Chart

2015 Risen Star Replay

News and Recaps
Blood-Horse: International Star Carries On in Risen Star
DRF: International Star shows heart in winning Risen Star
DRF: Sneak peek at post-race analysis of Risen Star
DRF: McLaughlin “licking his wounds” with Frosted, Imperia

Southwest Stakes Kentucky Derby prep race
Oaklawn Park, Sunday Feb 22, post time: 5:42 pm ET
1 1/16 miles (8.5 furlongs)

The Kentucky Derby Prep Season concludes with the $300,000 Southwest Stakes on Sunday at Oaklawn Park, which had originally scheduled the race for Monday, February 16, but which had to postpone it because of bad weather earlier this week.

The rescheduled race offers the Kentucky Derby trail a bit of trivia, as this is the first time a Derby Prep Season race follows the start of the Championship Series that begins on Saturday with the Fountain of Youth and Risen Star Stakes. There are 17 points (10 to the winner) available in the Southwest, whereas the Championship Series contests offer 85 points (50 to the winner) each, but neither the points nor the scheduling deterred horsemen from participating, as 11 entered this 1 1/16-miles contest.

Among those 11 are the top four from the Smarty Jones Stakes last month at Oaklawn: winner Far Right, runner-up Bayerd, third-place finisher (and beaten favorite) Mr. Z, and Private Prospect in fourth.

That quartet is most likely to face its biggest challenge from Hillbilly Royalty or Bold Conquest. Hillbilly Royalty has won both his starts, including a frontrunning allowance score on February 6 at Oaklawn in his 3-year-old debut. He did not enter the Southwest for its original date. Bold Conquest has not raced since finishing third in the Breeders’ Futurity on October 4 at Keeneland. Second in that race was the aforementioned Mr. Z.

In fact, Mr. Z. has faced notable competitors. The winner of the Breeders’ Futurity, Carpe Diem, was the favorite for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and finished second. Mr. Z finished fifth in that Breeders’ Cup, then went on to finish third in the Los Alamitos Futurity behind Dortmund and Firing Line, who both repeated their efforts in the Robert B. Lewis Stakes.

The biggest storyline of Mr. Z’s career, however, has not been where he has finished, but how he has finished. He has been erratic in the stretch, practically running diagonally late in the Smarty Jones when it appeared that he was going to be a sure winner. Racing Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas said recently that he has the issues figured out and that Mr. Z will deliver a more professional performance in the Southwest.

Firing Line is the only horse in the race to win a stakes last out, and the only other stakes winners in the field are Bayerd, who won a pair of stakes at Remington Park before finishing second to Firing Line in the Smarty Jones, and Private Prospect, who won a pair of stakes at Prairie Meadows before tailing off with a ninth-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.

Of the remaining hopefuls–Bold Animaux, Kantune, Majestico, Phenomenal Phoenix, and The Turth or Else–only Kanutne has not tried stakes company. The Truth Or Else is the most accomplished with a pair of third-place finishes in graded stakes last year while Bold Animaux, Majestico, and Phenomenal Phoenix have yet to place in a stakes race.

The Southwest winner has raced in the Kentucky Derby in 12 of the past 13 years with Smarty Jones completing the double in 2004 (with wins in the Rebel Stakes and Arkansas Derby between to boot).

Ed DeRosa

Download the Southwest chart

2015 Southwest Replay

News and Recaps
Blood-Horse: Far Right Rallies to Capture Sloppy Southwest
Brisnet: Far Right again takes inside path to Southwest success
DRF: Far Right rallies to capture Southwest