Super Ninety Nine looks like another serious Kentucky Derby contender after a blowout, 11 1/4-length win in Monday’s $300,000 Southwest S. (G3) at Oaklawn Park. The Pulpit colt is Bob Baffert's fourth winner in the race, following Conveyance in 2010 and a sweep of both divisions last year with Castaway and Secret Circle.
Super Ninety Nine floats home in G3 Southwest S.
Super Ninety Nine, the even-money favorite ridden by Rafael Bejarano, went right to the lead while setting a sensible pace of :47.49 for the first half mile. Turning for home he began to separate himself from the field with Bejarano keeping him under a snug hold in the final sixteenth. He completed the 1 1/16 miles in 1:44.84 over a track rated sloppy from the heavy rain that hit shortly before post time.
“Rafael (Bejarano) called me before the race and I just told him to let him get away from there and do his thing,” said Baffert. “Turning for home, I could see he had plenty of horse. It’s exciting. This is the time of year when these 3-year-olds start getting exciting.”
The Southwest was the third victory in five starts for Super Ninety Nine, who has now earned $266,480 for Tanma Corporation.
The next step in Oaklawn’s series leading to the April 13, $1 million Arkansas Derby is the $600,000 Rebel Stakes (G2) Saturday, March 16.
“We’ll get him back home (to southern California) and see how he does,” said Baffert. “We know he likes the track now. I don’t like to plan ahead and with these young horses, you just never know. We’ll definitely have something for the Rebel.”