We’ve already visited the Big Easy and the City by the Bay this weekend — but with Presidents’ Day on Monday, the Derby trail winds to Oaklawn Park for the Grade 3 Southwest Stakes, the second of four preps during this winter’s Hot Springs meet. Though the Kentucky Derby points haul isn’t huge — it’s the final 10-4-2-1 — the $500,000 purse is massive for a Grade 3.
The Southwest Stakes will be run for the fifty-third time this year. The race was run in 1959, 1962, and then every year from 1968 to the present day. Originally a sprint, the race was extended to a mile in 1984, and then to its current 1 1/16 mile distance in 2013. The first year in which it was a key Derby prep was 1992: though 17/1 D. Wayne Lukas bomb Big Sur wired the field that day, second-place Pine Bluff won the Preakness, and third-place Lil E. Tee took home the roses on the first Saturday in May.
Head over to Picks and Ponderings, read my preview of the Southwest Stakes, and let me know your thoughts in the comments!