The traditional feature at Oaklawn Park on Presidents' Day Monday is the $300,000 Southwest Stakes (G3), a major prep for the Arkansas Derby (G1) and ultimately the Triple Crown. The 25,854 fans braved the chilly 60-degree weather as heavy rain started before the feature race and quickly downgraded the track to sloppy. A field of 10 three-year-olds contested this 1 1/16 mile trip around the historic Hot Springs oval, with Super Ninety Nine sent off as the even-money choice off his win in an allowance race at Santa Anita Park. In to challenge him included 7-2 second choice Always in a Tiz, a close third in the Smarty Jones Stakes at Oaklawn last out, and 5-1 third choice Big Lute, off his debut romp by 4 3/4 lengths at Oaklawn.
Jockey Rafael Bejarano sent Super Ninety Nine to the lead first time past the stands and he was allowed an uncontested lead of 1 1/2 lengths setting easy fractions of 23.33, 47.49, and 1:12.29, while chased by Big Lute and Always in a Tiz. On the far turn, Bejarano tapped Super Ninety Nine with his stick and the favorite quickly opened up an 8 length lead over the tiring Big Lute. Super Ninety Nine cruised past the post 11 1/4 lengths in front of late-running 23-1 Fear the Kitten in 1:44.84 over the sloppy, sealed track. It was another 2 1/4 lengths back to 60-1 longest shot Heaven's Runway third.
Results Chart from Daily Racing Form