One Liner made it three in a row by winning the G3 $500,000 Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park on President’s Day and joins the list of contenders on the Road to Kentucky Derby 2017.
Breaking from post position eleven in the field of 12, One Liner was in contention from the start as he raced down the backstretch in fourth place under John Velasquez has been aboard for all three of his career wins for trainer Todd Pletcher.
On a day when the forecast called for an 80% chance of rain, it looked like the Southwest Stakes favorite, Uncontested, who won the Smarty Jones over the slop in his previous start, was going to have it all his way on the lead as the even money favorite. But the rain never came.
Under jockey Channing Hill, Uncontested broke alertly from the inside and led the field through fractions of 22.93 and 46.55 with Petrov, runner-up in the Smarty Jones, second a length back throught the first 1/2 mile.
Watch the race replay of One Liner winning the 2017 Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park
By the time they hit the top of the stretch Petrov had collared Uncontested, and One Liner, the eventual winner, was in hot pursuit. With Uncontested fading out of it they hit the 3/4 mile marker in 1:10.98. And from there it was a race to the wire with One Liner putting away Petrov at mid-stretch on his way to final fractions of 1:35.37 for the mile, finishing the 1 1/16 miles in a flashy 1:41.85.
One Liner hits the Derby trail running with 10 points. Petrov, clearly second best, added 4 points (giving him 8 to date). Third-place runner Lookin at Lee grabbed 2 more points bringing his total to 12, and Silver Dust gets a mention on the board with 1 point for finishing fourth.
The Road to the Derby continues at Oaklawn with the (G2) Rebel Stakes on March 18 and it will be interesting to see where One Liner will show up next for Pletcher.