(Bit of a typo/error on my part with the original post title: Archarcharch paid $31.00 to win but obviously wasn't 30/1 on the board, he was 14/1. Anybody want to be my copy editor?)
Long shot Archarcharch outlasted favorites J P's Gusto and Elite Alex in the stretch to win the Grade 3 Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park on Monday. The Southwest is the first of three graded stakes races during the spring meet for three-year-old colts. The Rebel and the Arkansas Derby will follow over the next two months.
J P's Gusto put in a spirited run to grab the 2nd spot, while Elite Alex spent too much time racing wide (3 wide into the 1st turn, 6 wide into the stretch) to do much more than finish 3rd.
It's debatable as to whether the Southwest is going to produce much going forward for the Derby. The early part of the race started off fine by the final quarter mile was brutally slow, coming in at over 26 seconds. That won't get it done on the first Saturday in May. Any horse coming out of this race with Derby aspirations will probably need to take a big step forward to catch those at the top of the division.
Archarcharch is a son of Arch (oddly enough), out of a Woodman mare (Woodman's Dancer). He is trained by William Fires and ridden by John Court.