After rolling to a convincing victory in the January 16 Smarty Jones, Uncontested will try to carry his momentum forward in Monday’s $500,000 Southwest (G3) at Oaklawn Park The front-running colt heads a field of 13 in the President’s Day feature.
The 1 1/16-mile Southwest is the final race in the “Prep Season” portion of the Road to the Kentucky Derby series, offering a total of 17 points to the top four finishers (10-4-2-1 scale). Point values increase to 50-20-10-5 for the February 25 Risen Star (G2) at Fair Grounds.
Uncontested sped forward at the break and was never challenged leading wire-to-wire in the one-mile Smarty Jones, vaulting into the Kentucky Derby conversation with a 5 ¼-length decision. Trained by Wayne Catalano and ridden by Channing Hill, the son of Tiz Wonderful easily captured his career debut at Keeneland last October before finishing fourth in his juvenile finale, the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) at Churchill Downs.
He relished sloppy conditions while making his third career start in the Smarty Jones and Uncontested may receive another favorable set-up Monday, with the advance forecast calling for a 90% chance of precipitation. The dark bay drew well in post 3 and figures to set sail for the lead at the start.
Lookin at Lee, who ranks eighth on the Kentucky Debry Leaderboard with 10 points, will make his first start since finishing fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) at Santa Anita. A non-threatening second in the Breeders’ Futurity (G1) and Iroquois (G3), the Lookin at Lucky colt will try to show more at age 3 after displaying a touch class last year for trainer Steve Asmussen. Ricardo Santana Jr. rides.
Other new faces include One Liner, who invades from Gulfstream with a 2-for-2 record and makes his stakes debut for Todd Pletcher; multiple stakes victor Cool Arrow, who was last seen posting a 3 ½-length victory in the Springboard Mile on December 11; Chief Know It All, who will have to overcome post 13 and makes his stakes bow off a local two-length allowance tally; and last-out Oaklawn maiden winners Dilettante and Hence.
Petrov, Rowdy the Warrior and Warrior’s Club, the respective 2-3-4 finishers in the Smarty Jones, will all return for the Southwest. Rounding out the field are expected longshots Cu Rahy, P C Cowboy and Silver Dust.