Derby Hopefuls Line Up in Rebel at Oaklawn Park
The stakes get higher on Saturday with a field of 11 three-year-olds lining up in the $1 million Rebel (G2) at Oaklawn Park.
The Rebel is a Road to the Kentucky Derby points race and the first of the season to offer up 50-20-10-5 points toward entry into the Run for the Roses on May 7. The winner virtually assures earning a starting spot in the gate under the twin spires in the first jewel of the Triple Crown.
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The first five finishers of the Southwest (G3) on Jan. 29 return led by the winner Newgrange from the Bob Baffert barn.
Due to Medina Spirit’s failed drug test and subsequent disqualification from the Kentucky Derby, Baffert’s horses are not eligible to earn points or run in the Kentucky Derby this year and next barring an injunction.
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Here is a quick look at the Rebel field in post position order:
1 Kavod 12-1
This colt set the early fractions in the Southwest and weakened in the stretch to finish fourth, beaten 5 ½ lengths at 13-1. The Chris Hartman trainee has made twice as many starts as the rest of the field, his 12th career outing on Saturday. He draws the rail and will be the one to catch, but a fast early pace could be his undoing.
2 Newgrange 9-5
The favorite is sent out by Baffert who has a very good group of three-year-olds in his barn that are not eligible to run in the Kentucky Derby unless the owners hand them over to a new trainer. This colt is perfect in three starts and looks tough. Baffert has won this race a record eight times including the last two with Nadal and Concert Tour. His main knock is going to be his light price. He raced three or four wide throughout sitting in the garden spot last out and drew clear late in a good looking effort.
3 Cairama 15-1
The Steve Asmussen trainee exits the Smarty Jones where he has a tough post, was off last and made up some ground late to finish sixth, beaten four lengths. He draws better today and is going to be a generous price. He should get some pace to run at and looks as if he still has some upside.
4 Un Ojo 12-1
The gelding caught a muddy track in the Withers (G3) last out at Aqueduct going 1 1/8 miles. He was outrun early and came with a good late run to finish in the runner up spot. He was beaten just a neck two back in a New York Stallion Series race at seven furlongs. This guy is another that would benefit from a brisk early pace.
5 Texas Hot Red 12-1
The Randy Morse trainee makes his three-year-old debut. He was last seen checking in 10th in the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) at Churchill Downs. That was a strong field in which three came back to win stakes next out. The colt has been working sharply over the main track for a barn that can win off the bench.
6 Stellar Tap 10-1
The second of three that Asmussen ends out. The colt made his three-year-old debut last out in a third-place finish at fair Grounds against first level optional claimers. He was fifth and seventh in a couple of stakes efforts last year. His numbers are light but he figures to move forwards second off the break.
7 Ben Diesel 6-1
After a seventh in the slop in the Smarty Jones this guy bounced back with a much improved effort last out in a third-place finish in the Southwest. He got a good trip along the inside, the rail opened up turning for home and he just did not have enough punch left late while drifting out slightly. Not sure he will get a better trip today.
8 Chasing Time 8-1
This is Asmussen started number three. The colt makes his stakes debut after a smart win against five level allowance foes last out where he drew away to win by 7 ¾ lengths. It was not a real tough group he beat and was his first start around two turns. He has been showing steady improvement and needs another jump up to compete with this group.
9 Barber Road 9-2
Away near the back of the field in the Southwest, this colt race wide and came with a good late run to finish in the runner up spot. He was a decent second two back in the Smarty Jones behind Dash Attack. He needs a trip and some pace up front, but his best puts him right in the mix.
10 Ethereal Road 12-1
Trained by Hall of Famer D. Wayne Lukas, this colt broke his maiden last out in his fourth career start. The colt has shown improvement with each outing, but steps into much deeper waters here.
11 Dash Attack 8-1
After a sharp win in the Smarty Jones two back this guy regressed last out in the Southwest in a fifth-place finish. He raced mid pack and never really unleashed a run like he did in his first two starts. Now he draws a tough post but has come back with a couple of bullet works on the morning tab. He looks capable of bouncing back with a better effort in this spot.