Solid Derby contenders engage in Southwest Stakes

The Sports NetworkFebruary 14, 2014 

Hot Springs, AR ( - Strong Mandate and Bourbonize headline a field of 12 for Monday's $300,000 Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park.

Part of the Kentucky Derby points system, the winning horse will receive 10 points toward a start in the Run for the Roses on Saturday, May 3. Four points will be awarded to the second-place finisher followed by two and one.

Strong Mandate, trained by D. Wayne Lukas, will begin his 3-year-old campaign from post 8 with Joel Rosario riding. Owned by Robert Baker and William Mack, the colt is making his 3-year-old debut after a three-month break.

Strong Mandate finished fifth in his career opener at Saratoga last July, but followed with consecutive wins, including the Hopeful Stakes in the mud, at the upstate New York track.

The colt was seventh to Havana in the Champagne Stakes at Belmont Park in October before finishing third to New Year's Day in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile. He closed at 17-1 in last week's second Kentucky Derby Future Wager.

Strong Mandate has earned $432,900 from five starts and two wins.

Undefeated gelding Bourbonize will leave from the far outside post on President's Day with Ramon Vazquez in the saddle. The 3-year-old is coming off a win at Oaklawn last month by four lengths.

Owned by Bourbon Lane Stable and trained by Kellyn Gorder, Bourbonize won his career debut at Churchill Downs on Nov. 30 by two lengths as a 17-1 longshot.

Smarty Jones Stakes winner Tanzanite Cat has drawn post 3 with Corey Nakatani coming in to ride. Tanzanite Cat is trained by Cody Autry for James and Ywachetta Driver.

"Corey's a good friend and a world class rider," said Autrey. "He's ridden a lot of winners for me."

The Oaklawn-based colt won the Smarty Jones last month at 9-1. He finished third in his first start at Del Mar last August and won for the first time Nov. 2 at Santa Anita. The colt has won two of three starts for $123,000.

The Drivers and Autry will also start Paganol who will be ridden by Norberto Arroyo Jr. and break from post 6. The chestnut colt won his career debut last month at Oaklawn. Tanzanite Cat and Paganol will be coupled as an entry.

Here is the field for the Southwest from rail out: Tapiture, Ricardo Santana Jr.; Coastline, Shaun Bridgmohan; Tanzanite Cat, Corey Nakatani; Louies Flower, Luis Quinonez; Kendall's Boy, Leandro Goncalves; Paganol, Norberto Arroyo Jr.; Walt, Ken Tohill; Strong Mandate, Joel Rosario; Ride On Curlin, Calvin Borel; Son of Dixie, Cliff Berry; Fire Starter, Robby Albarado and Bourbonize, Ramon Vazquez.

Post-time for the Southwest will be approximately 6:09 p.m. ET.

Coming up for 3-year-olds at Oaklawn after the Southwest will be the Rebel Stakes on March 15 and the Arkansas Derby on April 12.

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