The Southwest Stakes is run in mid-February at Oaklawn Park Racetrack in Hot Springs, Arkansas. Although the distance of the race has changed over the years, since 2013 it has been run over 1 1/16 miles on the dirt course, and as of 2020 carries a purse of $750,000.
The odds for the Southwest Stakes 2021 are now available. The odds are subject to change and were last updated on August 10, 2020:
|2021 Southwest Stakes winners odds|
It is rated as a Grade 3 stakes race and is open to three-year-old colts, geldings, and fillies. For the past several years, it has been included as part of the Kentucky Derby qualifying series of races, the Road to the Derby, with the winner of the race awarded 10 points toward a spot in the Derby starting gate the first Saturday of May.
As one of the earliest major stakes races of the year, the Southwest often draws a diverse field of pretenders and contenders, which means there are often several live longshot choices to consider when you make your Southwest Stakes picks with an online racebook.
Southwest Stakes Odds
The Southwest Stakes has been won by horses with long odds several times recently. In 2019, 62-1 shot Super Steed won the race, one year after 8-1 My Boy Jack won it. Archarcarch was 14-1 when he scored in 2011, and Teuflesberg was 23-1 when he scored in 2007.
Only two favorites in the last 10 years have won, both hailed from the Bob Baffert barn. Other favorites that couldn't make the cut were Answer In (3rd), Cutting Humor (7th), Mr. Z (3rd), Collected (4th), Uncontested (6th), Mourinho (4th).
The Southwest Stakes is one of the major races at Oaklawn Park, a track in Hot Springs, Arkansas that runs from January through early May. The popular track is very important to the town of Hot Springs, which acts as a vacation destination during the meeting. Horse racing at Oaklawn Park and Oaklawn Park betting is very competitive. Oaklawn Park Race Track is now formally known as Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort following renovations in recent years.
Southwest Stakes Payouts
The last 20 Southwest Stakes payouts are:
- 2020: Silver Prospector - $11.40
2019: Super Steed - $126.60
2018: My Boy Jack - $19.60
2017: One Liner - $8.80
2016: Suddenbreakingnews - $10.20
2015: Far Right - $7.40
2014: Tapiture - $13.00
2013: Super Ninety Nine - $4.00
2012: Secret Circle - $3.20/Castaway - $15.40 (Run in divisions)
2011: Archarcharch - $31.00
2010: Conveyance - $5.60
2009: Old Fashioned - $3.00
2008: Dennis of Cork - $11.60
2007: Teuflesberg - $48.80
2006: Lawyer Ron - $3.00
2005: Greater Good - $3.00
2004: Smarty Jones - $3.00
2003: Great Notion - $8.00
2002: Private Emblem - $10.20/Paloma Parilla - $18.20
2001: Son of a Rocket - $9.80
2000: Afternoon Affair - $10.80
Favorites do not do well in the Southwest Stakes. It is better to play mid-range shots and the occasional longshot. There was a run on favorites from 2004 - 2006 with names such as Smarty Jones, Greater Good, and Lawyer Ron all winning the race. They went on to be prominent in their careers, especially Smarty Jones and Lawyer Ron. Greater Good would take the Rebel Stakes (G2) next out at Oaklawn Park. Then Old Fashioned became just the fourth favorite to win in that decade. Only five favorites have won in the last 20 years of the Southwest Stakes.
Southwest Stakes Tips
Trainers Steve Asmussen (Silver Prospector, Tapiture, Private Emblem) and Bob Baffert (Super Ninety Nine, Secret Circle, Conveyance, Castaway) do very well in the Southwest Stakes. As for jockeys, Rafael Bejarano has won three times since 2012 (Castaway, Secret Circle, and Super Ninety Nine), and Ricardo Santana Jr has been aboard the recent Asmussen winners.
This is a race that often draws both shippers thanks to the purse and local horses who have prepped over the track. The winners are evenly divided between both, with local runners such as Super Steed (2019), Archarcharch (2011), and Old Fashioned (2009) outrunning shippers, while horses like My Boy Jack (2018) succeeded coming in from California.
Weather can play a huge factor in the Southwest Stakes. Winter storms blow through Arkansas regularly, which can postpone the race, or leave the track in extremely muddy condition. In that case, look for horses that have run well over Oaklawn's surface or on muddy tracks, rather than new shooters that may not have encountered mud before.
Southwest Stakes History
The Southwest Stakes was originally the Southwest Handicap and first run in 1968. It was a six-furlong sprint until 1983, then was lengthened to a mile until 2013, when it became the current 1 1/16-mile distance.
The Southwest Stakes is part of Oaklawn Park's Road to the Derby series, starting with the Smarty Jones Stakes in January, the Southwest in February, then the Rebel in March, and the Arkansas Derby in April. This is a very popular route to the Derby, with Oaklawn runners taking the Derby in 2015, 2010, and 2004.
1992 was a very important year for the Southwest, with Lil E. Tee winning the race and going on to take the Kentucky Derby in a surprising win as A.P. Indy, the favorite was scratched the morning of the race. Second in the Southwest was Pine Bluff, who won the Preakness Stakes that year. A.P. Indy recovered to win the 1992 Belmont Stakes (G1).
The most famous horse to win the Southwest is Smarty Jones. The Pennsylvania-bred colt by Elusive Quality was unbeaten in three starts before he shipped to Oaklawn Park to take the Southwest, Rebel, Arkansas Derby, and then the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes. He finished second in the Belmont Stakes in his bid for the Triple Crown but packed the stands with fans that wanted to see him accomplish that feat.
In 1987, Demons Begone kicked off a three-race win streak in the Southwest and was one of the favorites going into the Kentucky Derby. In 1996, Ide won the Southwest in the midst of a seven-race win streak and went on to sire the likes of Ide Like a Double and Ide Ball.
Smoke Glacken, the Eclipse Award Champion Sprinter of 1997, won the Southwest during a campaign where he won six stakes races. He sired dual Grade, 2 winner, Smok'n Frolic.
2006 Southwest hero Lawyer Ron was nearly as good as Smarty Jones. The son of Langfuhr went on to be the 2007 Eclipse Award Champion Older Horse with 12 wins in 26 starts and $2.7 million in earnings. After winning the Southwest, he went on to take the Rebel and Arkansas Derby.
Another important winner of the Southwest Stakes is Tapiture. The son of Tapit won for Steve Asmussen in 2014 and went on to be second in the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile (G1). He earned over $1.5 million on the track.
Third in the 2017 Southwest was Lookin at Lee, who went on to run second in the Kentucky Derby. He went on to be fourth in the Preakness (G1) and seventh in the Belmont Stakes (G1), and has earned over $1.3 million.
Southwest Stakes Records
The Southwest Stakes records include the most by a trainer, 5, for longtime Oaklawn Park conditioner Robert Holthus. The most wins by a jockey is tied at three for both Rafael Bejarano and Larry Snyder, most recently in 1990. When the race was lengthened to 1 1/16-miles, One Liner holds the speed record of 1:41.85. The largest winning margin was 12 lengths. The purse was made $500,000 in 2016 and raised to $750,000 in 2020.
Southwest Stakes Field and Odds
The Southwest Stakes field, their odds, and the Southwest post positions are published 72 hours before the race, which historically takes place on President's Day in February. It was made a Grade 3 in 2008.
2020 winner Silver Prospector, by Declaration of War, had won the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (G2) at Churchill Downs in 2019 and was fourth in the Smarty Jones Stakes in January before his Southwest win. He went on to run sixth in the Rebel Stakes and seventh in the Arkansas Derby.
The 2021 Oaklawn Park meeting will start in January. The 2021 Southwest Stakes is tentatively scheduled for Monday, February 15. It is the first important race of the Oaklawn meeting, coming four to six weeks after the racing begins. The other major stakes races during the Oaklawn Park meeting are the Arkansas Derby (G1), Rebel Stakes (G2), Fantasy Stakes (G3), Apple Blossom (G1), Oaklawn Handicap (G2), and the Count Fleet Sprint (G3).