2023 Southwest Stakes Odds & More Oaklawn Stakes Races

This Saturday, Oaklawn Park hosts three exciting races in the form of the G3 2023 Southwest Stakes, King Cotton Stakes, and the Martha Washington Stakes.

The pick of the action will come in the Southwest Stakes where Arabian Knight looks set to start as the overwhelming favorite. Eight horses will compete in the King Cotton Stakes whereas a field of six will battle it out in the Martha Washington. Ahead of what is bound to be an excellent card, here is everything you need to know.

Southwest Stakes

Grade 3, 1 1/16 miles, Dirt, open to horses aged three. Total prize pool: $750,000

The road to the Kentucky Derby starts here with the Southwest Stakes. An important race, it is seen as a viable steppingstone on the way to Kentucky Derby success, with previous winners of this race including the likes of Essential Quality, Secret Circle, and Lawyer Ron.

Looking to add their name to the list of prestigious winners is Arabian Knight. Likely to start as the heavy favorite, Arabian Knight is making his Stakes debut after winning his maiden in a truly dominant style. This will be only his second start and will be the first time he has run over two turns. Baffert, a winner of this race last season with Newgrange has won this race five times and knows what it takes to win this contest. He clearly has no concerns over his charge’s ability to win this race and it will be fascinating to see how he handles the occasion.

Looking to take advantage of any chinks in the Arabian Knight armor will be Jace’s Road who is trained by Brand Cox. Jace’s Road responded nicely to a disappointing effort in the Street Sense Stakes when running an out a convincing winner of the Gun Runner Stakes. The speed figure that day was impressive and with experience over two turns, he looks set to be a likely contender.

Flavian Prat will be skipping this weekend’s Pegasus World Cup to take the ride on Corona Bolt. A stablemate of Jace’s Road, Corona Bolt looks to be a horse going places. Like Arabian Knight, this will be his first effort in Graded Stakes competition and the first time he runs over two turns. He arrives unbeaten having won his last two starts and if he can handle the extended trip, he could be one to keep an eye on.

Steve Asmussen knows what it takes to win the biggest races and in Red Route One he looks to have a live contender. Likely to start at a double-figure price, he was disappointing last time out when only finishing fourth in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes. Since then, he has had two months off and has reportedly been working really well at home. For those looking for a horse to back at a bigger price, he could be the sensible play.

Southwest Stakes Odds & Betting Prediction

Heading into this contest, the buzz horse is Arabian Knight with many believing he could be a generational talent. Whilst there are live dangers throughout the field, Arabian Knight could be a real sensation and should have too much raw ability for the majority of this field to handle.

HorseJockeyOdds by Jazzsports
Sun ThunderDavid Cabrera+1000
Corona BoltFlavien Prat+600
Jace’s RoadJoseph Talamo+400
Western GhentCristian A. Torres+2000
Frosted DepartureFrancisco Arrieta+1500
Arabian KnightJohn R. Velazquez-100
Red Route OneRicardo Santana, Jr.+1000
Hit ShowManuel Franco+1000
El TomateOrlando Mojica+3000

Martha Washington Stakes

Listed, 1 1/16 mile, Dirt, open to three year old fillies. Total prize pool: $200,000

The Martha Washington Stakes is a key step towards this year’s Kentucky Oaks. Secret Oath won this race last year and would go on to win the Kentucky showpiece. Each of the six runners in the field will have high hopes for success.

Likely to head off as the favorite is Defining Purpose. Trained out of the Kenny McPeak yard, she heads into the contest fresh off the back of a victory in the Years End Stakes. That victory came over this course and the nature of her victory would suggest that there could be plenty more to come here.

Hot on the heels of Defining Purpose is the unbeaten Olivia Twist. She rounded out 2022 in great style when a taking winner of the Trapeze Stakes. Whilst her win was more workman-like than Defining Purpose’s breathtaking performance, she will arrive at Oaklawn fit and ready for battle.

Whilst the race is expected to be a battle between the top two in the market, Take Charge Briana will hope to play the role of spoiler. She finished third behind Defining Purpose in the Years End Stakes. Although it looks like she has plenty to find on the winner she will be hopeful of finishing closer than the 6-length defeat she suffered at the end of the year.

Wet Paint is another horse who is looking to cause an upset. This race represents a huge step up in class from her previous efforts but she has the benefit of the inside rail to help her cause here. Impeccably bred, she could take another step forward and her connections will hope she can play a part in proceedings.

Martha Washington Odds & Betting Pick

This should be a contest between the top two in the market but the nature of Defining Purpose’s victory in the Years End Stakes is impossible to ignore. With the promise of more to come, she has to be the smart play here.

HorseJockeyOdds by Jazzsports
Wet PaintFlavien Prat+450
Key to SuccessTyler Baze+2000
Defining PurposeDavid Cabrera+120
Take Charge BrianaMickaelle Michel+600
Olivia TwistCristian A. Torres+200
TaxedJoseph Talamo+1500

King Cotton Stakes

Six furlongs, Dirt, open to horses four and over. Total prize pool: $150,000

Eight horses are due to line up for this year’s renewal of the King Cotton Stakes and the betting for the race looks tight.

Likely to start towards the top of the market is Flash Of Mischief which is trained out of the Karl Broberg yard. Whilst he found the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Sprint too hot to handle, he bounced back nicely to win the Ring The Bell Stakes. A real speedball of a horse, he has three wins out of his last five starts over six furlongs and if able to break cleanly will take some real pegging back.

Looking to give Flash Of Mischief a race will be Gunite. Gunite has excelled over seven furlongs winning a combination of Stakes races and placing in the Grade 1 H.Allen Jerkens Memorial Stakes. Cutting back to six furlongs shouldn’t prove to be a problem as he has won over the distance on his one and only previous try. Seemingly in great form at home, he has posted impressive speed figures in the pre-race breeze-ups and should give Flash Of Mischief plenty to think about.

Trainer Chris Hartman boasts an impressive 37% strike rate with his runners at Oaklawn and in Tejano Twist he has a horse arriving at the contest in red-hot form. A winner of his last three starts over the distance, he has been handed the plumb inside draw. Stepping up in class he will be confident of mixing it in this class and could be a real danger to all in the field.

King Cotton Stakes Odds & Betting Prediction

In what promises to be a fast and furious race, the smart money for the contest could well be on Gunite. A classy performer, he boasts some of the best form and speed figures in the field and should be tough to beat.

HorseJockeyOdds by Jazzsports
Tejano TwistFrancisco Arrieta+500
Miles AheadMartin Garcia+600
Flash of MischiefCristian A. Torres+180
Long Range ToddyRafael Bejarano+2000
Gar HoleJohn R. Velazquez+1200
Radical RightFlavien Prat+1200
GuniteRicardo Santana, Jr.+140
UltimateDavid Cabrera+2000

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