One Liner made a successful step up to stakes company in his first route attempt with a runaway victory in Monday's $500,000 Southwest (G3) at Oaklawn Park, a Road to the Kentucky Derby Series qualifier which awarded 10 points to the colt owned by WinStar Farm, China Horse Club, and SF Racing.
The 3-1 second choice in a field of 12, One Liner rated kindly in fourth under John Velazquez as 11-10 favorite Uncontested set a quick pace of :22:93, :46.55, and 1:10.98. Moving up to third approaching the stretch, the son of Into Mischief was full of run as Petrov took over from Uncontested and opened up a one-length lead with an eighth to go. However, One Liner soon zoomed past and kicked clear to win by 3 1/2 lengths in a time of 1:41.85 for 1 1/16 miles on a fast track.
Trained by Todd Pletcher, One Liner paid $8.80 in moving his career mark to three wins from three starts for earnings of $373,800. The bay had previously won a maiden at Saratoga last July and an allowance at Gulfstream on January 26, both around one turn.
"We had to give him some time after that race because of some baby issues, but he came back very good and has been training good, so we were confident in him," Pletcher said. "At this point I'd say everything is in play (for next race). We'll discuss it with the connections. We still have time for two more races if that's the path he continues on."
Petrov, runner-up to Uncontested in last month's Smarty Jones, earned another four points toward the Derby for his second-place finish in the Southwest. He was 8 1/4 lengths ahead of Lookin At Lee, who earned two points. Fourth-place finisher Silver Dust earned one point. Smarty Jones winner Uncontested disappointed in finishing sixth.
From the family of U.S. Grade 1 winners Albertus Maximus, Race the Wild Wind, and Here Comes Ben, One Liner was produced by Cayala, a daughter of Cherokee Run. He was a $150,000 Keeneland January yearling buy and was bred in Kentucky by Kingswood Farm.