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Top three from Smarty Jones return in Southwest Stakes

Hot Springs, AR (Sports Network) - Will Take Charge goes for his second stakes victory this year at Oaklawn Park in the Presidents' Day running of the $300,000 Southwest Stakes. The 1 1/16-mile stakes has drawn a field of 10 3-year-olds with a chance to earn points leading to the Kentucky Derby.

Last year's Southwest was divided into two divisions with trainer Bob Baffert sweeping both heats. This year a win in the race will be worth 10 points in the new Kentucky Derby points system.

Trained by D. Wayne Lukas, Will Take Charge captured the $150,000 Smarty Jones Stakes last month as a 12-1 longshot. On Monday, the chestnut colt will start from post 3 with Jon Court again riding.

Owned by Willis Horton, Will Take Charge has won two of five starts for $184,171. The colt won in his second start last October at Keeneland after finishing fifth in his debut at Saratoga on Aug. 16.

He finished his 2-year-old season with a second in the Springboard Stakes on Dec. 9 at Remington Park after a 13th-place finish in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes on Nov. 24 at Churchill Downs.

Texas Bling, second in the Smarty Jones, will break from post 4 with Cliff Berry in the saddle. The colt lost by a head to Will Take Charge four weeks ago as an 18-1 longshot.

Trained by Danele Durham, Texas Bling won the Springboard Stakes by 1 3/4- lengths over Will Take Charge. The colt, owned by Lewis A. Hall, has two wins in 11 career starts for $239,483.

Defeated Smarty Jones favorite Always in a Tiz gets back into the starting gate Monday for trainer Dominick Schettino. The colt will be ridden by Paco Lopez for the second straight race and break from post 5.

Always in a Tiz finished third last month as the 9-5 favorite in the nine horse field. He won his debut start last Labor Day weekend at Saratoga and then finished second in a minor stakes at Aqueduct on Dec. 9.

With three starts, Always in a Tiz has earned $78,000 with a win, a second and a third.

Here is the field for the Southwest in post position order: Officer Alex, Luis Quinonez; Brown Almighty, Terry Thompson; Will Take Charge, Jon Court; Texas Bling, Cliff Berry; Always in a Tiz, Paco Lopez; Super Ninety Nine, Rafael Bejarano; Fear the Kitten, Rosie Napravnik; Heaven's Runway, Jareth Loveberry; Channel Isle, Israel Ocampo and Big Lute, Robby Albarado.

Monday's Southwest Stakes has an approximate post-time of 6:09 p.m. (ET).

Coming up next for 3-year-olds at Oaklawn Park will be the Rebel Stakes on March 16 with the Arkansas Derby on April 13.

02/16 16:15:39 ET


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