02/18/2013 8:34PM

Oaklawn: Super Ninety Nine's romp gives Baffert another Southwest win

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Coady Photography/Oaklawn
Super Ninety Nine, with Rafael Bejarano in the saddle, leaves his rivals behind in the Southwest over Oaklawn's sloppy track.

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - Super Ninety Nine continued the grip his trainer, Bob Baffert, has had on the 3-year-old stakes program at Oaklawn on Monday, when he took quick command of  the Grade 3, $300,000 Southwest and went on to an 11 1/4-length victory over Fear the Kitten. It was another 2 1/4 lengths back to Heaven's Runway in third.

Baffert swept Oaklawn's graded series for 3-year-olds last year, when he won both divisions of the Southwest with Secret Circle and Castaway, the Rebel with Secret Circle, and the Arkansas Derby with Bodemeister. The Southwest win Monday was his fourth score in the race, as he also won in 2010 with Conveyance.

[ROAD TO THE KENTUCKY DERBY: Prep races, point standings, replays]

Oaklawn's track was downgraded to sloppy for the Southwest after heavy rains hit, and Super Ninety Nine went right to the front at the start as he and jockey Rafael Bejarano doled out fractions of 23.33 seconds for the opening quarter, 47.49 for the half-mile and 1:12.29 for six furlongs. He began to open up on the field at the top of the stretch and was in hand nearing the wire, to cover the 1 1/16 miles in 1:44.84.

"The track was to our advantage with the speed and all," Baffert said. "I'm just glad it worked out. It was exciting."

Bejarano was aboard Super Ninety Nine ($4) for Tanma Corporation, one start after he won first-level allowance with the horse at Santa Anita. In the allowance, his two-turn debut, Super Ninety Nine tracked the pace, and won by four lengths with a Beyer Speed Figure of 100.

"My horse showed me a little more speed this time," said Bejarano. "I decided to keep him on the lead. It was a pretty good race for him."

Baffert said plans are to be determined for Super Ninety Nine, but he will look at the Grade 1, $1 million Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn on April 13.

The Southwest win was worth 10 points to Super Ninety Nine on the new Kentucky Derby system governing preference if the race is oversubscribed.

[ROAD TO THE KENTUCKY DERBY: Prep races, point standings, replays]

Bejarano has also been on a tear at Oaklawn, as he won both divisions of last year's Southwest, and also took the Rebel.

"Mr. Baffert always brings good horses," said the Southern California-based rider. "You always have a really good chance."

The remaining order of finish was Channel Isle in fourth, followed by Always in a Tiz, Will Take Charge, Big Lute, Brown Almighty, Texas Bling, and Officer Alex.

** The pick six paid $558,553 on a $1 ticket. There was one winning ticket, sold to an XpressBet account-holder, according to Bobby Geiger, an official with Oaklawn. The carryover into Monday's card was more than $300,000, and another $400,000 was bet into the pool Monday.

** Attendance at the track was a season-high 25,854.