Uncontested out for more in Southwest

The Grade III, $500,000 Southwest Stakes is the feature on President’s Day at Oaklawn Park. The 1 1/16th-mile event is worth 10 Kentucky Derby points to the winner down to one point for fourth place. The race drew 13 runners, including Smarty Jones winner and likely favorite UNCONTESTED. As always, feel free to check out FanXT’s Daily Fantasy Jockey game!

#3 UNCONTESTED (5-2, morning-line favorite) was last seen romping in the Smarty Jones over this course last month. The track was labeled sloppy that day, and will likely be sloppy again on Monday with a strong chance of rain in the forecast. UNCONTESTED appears to be the clear speed in the field once more, so Channing Hill should have no problem negotiating an ideal trip on this Wayne Catalano trainee. He’s also been prepping brilliantly for this in the mornings. The only knock is that he’ll spot his 12 rivals anywhere between three and seven pounds, but that shouldn’t make the difference between winning and losing.

#2 SILVER DUST (10-1) intrigues at a healthy price. He’s drilling sharply at Oaklawn as he prepares for his seasonal debut and his first start away from Churchill Downs. His unveiling was a disaster as he walked out of the starting gate, but he crushed the competition in his next start under Corey Lanerie (who ships in to ride on Monday). SILVER DUST would need someone like ONE LINER or COOL ARROW to take it to UNCONTESTED early and ensure a fast pace to have his best chance. I don’t see that happening, but I’ll gladly include him underneath.

#8 PETROV (5-1) took plenty of money in the Smarty Jones, his route debut, but had to settle for second behind UNCONTESTED. He lures Jose Ortiz once more, but it’s hard to envision him turning the tables in the Southwest.

#4 LOOKIN AT LEE (8-1) will be rolling late under Ricardo Santana Jr. as he makes his 2017 bow. He’s closed for minor shares in each of his last three starts, all in graded stakes. He’s a bit slower than the top choices on paper, but LOOKIN AT LEE is hard to leave out entirely.

#11 ONE LINER (7-2) is bound to attract attention shipping in for Todd Pletcher with John Velazquez aboard. However, I’ll be playing against him for the most part in his route debut despite a sharp last-out speed figure. He’s by Into Mischief, who is not a noted distance influence, and will likely be an underlay.

The play: $2 trifecta 3/2,8/2,4,8,11 ($12)

DFJ analysis: Jose Ortiz has eight mounts at 8-1 or below, but local leader Ricardo Santana Jr. has eight mounts as well, with all but two below 8-1 in odds. Take Santana as the more cost-efficient option, as both Ortiz and Santana rate approximately the same chance to hit the board in the Southwest with their respective mounts (PETROV and LOOKIN AT LEE).

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