Trainer Bob Baffert can add to his record number of wins in the Southwest Stakes when he sends out Wynstock in the 2024 Southwest Stakes on Saturday at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Ark. The 71-year-old Baffert has won the Southwest a record six times, including the last two years. He goes for No. 7 with Wynstock, who has two wins in four career starts. Wynstock was originally second in the 2024 Southwest Stakes odds, behind 3-1 morning-line favorite Maycocks Bay. But on Friday Maycocks Bay’ trainer Michael Stidham said the horse would scratch from the Southwest, making Wynstock the de facto favorite. Carbone (9-2) follows Wynstock in the Southwest Stakes field.
Post time for the Kentucky Derby prep race is 5:50 p.m. ET. With an accomplished field set to enter the starting gate on Saturday, you’ll want to see what SportsLine writer Gene Menez has to say before making any Southwest Stakes picks or horse racing predictions.
A former reporter and editor at Sports Illustrated, Menez covered an array of sports, including horse racing, for the magazine and its website for almost 14 years. Between 2010 and 2012, he served as SI’s handicapper for the Triple Crown races and correctly predicted Super Saver to win the Kentucky Derby in 2010. In 2015, while writing for Sports on Earth, Menez accurately gave out the Kentucky Derby superfecta (American Pharoah, Firing Line, Dortmund and Frosted), which paid $1,268.20 for $2. Then in 2017, he tweeted out his Kentucky Derby picks, including Always Dreaming to win, and hit the Pick 4, which paid almost $6,900 on a $1 bet.
In a span of seven races last year for SportsLine, he cashed the winner of the Lecomte Stakes, the exacta in the Southwest Stakes ($468), the winner of the Holy Bull Stakes, the winner of the Sam F. Davis Stakes and the trifecta in the Jenny Wiley Stakes. In May, he nailed National Treasure’s win in the Preakness.
For Saturday, Menez has handicapped the 2024 Southwest Stakes field, made his picks and constructed his best bets. You can head to SportsLine now to see them.
Top 2024 Southwest Stakes predictions
One surprise: Menez is taking a stand against Wynstock. A $700,000 purchase in April, Wynstock has won back-to-back starts, including a win in the Grade 2 Los Alamitos Futurity in his last start. He is 4-1 on the morning line, behind only the favorite, Maycocks Bay.
Wynstock, however, won his last two races by getting an uncontested lead, and Menez does not believe Wynstock is fast enough to get to the front in a field filled with quick frontrunners. “He will have to win this race from off the pace, which he hasn’t done before,” Menez told SportsLine. He is not using Wynstock in any of his wagers. You can see all of Menez’s 2024 Southwest Stakes bets here.
However, Menez is bullish on 8-1 longshot Awesome Road. Trained by Brad Cox, Awesome Road started his career with an impressive victory at Ellis Park in August. Since then he has gone backwards, finishing seventh and fifth in two stakes races around two two turns.
But Menez likes that Cox, a two-time winner of the Eclipse Award as the nation’s most outstanding trainer, gave Awesome Road two months off to straighten things out. “Jockey Florent Geroux will need to work out a trip from the outside post, but the abundance of speed in the race should allow him to duck in at some point,” Menez told SportsLine. He is using Awesome Road prominently in his wagers. You can see all of Menez’s 2024 Southwest Stakes bets here.
How to make 2024 Southwest Stakes picks
Moreover, Menez’s top pick is a longshot who “could very well be the biggest beneficiary” on Saturday. He also is high on a double-digit longshot who “should thrive with the added distance.” He is including these horses in his wagers, and so should you. He’s sharing which horses to back at SportsLine.
So what longshot wins the 2024 Southwest Stakes? What double-digit longshot is a must-back? And how has Menez constructed his wagers? Visit SportsLine to see Menez’s picks for the Southwest Stakes, and find out.