Here's a link to the Rebel Stakes PP's for Sarturday.......11 horses, looks like a very competitve race.
Link is not working, you can easily find them at www.downthestretchs.com
California, Louisiana and Florida Shippers Converge
The Rebel Stakes drew a field of 11 with a diverse cast of characters including three shippers coming in from California, one from Florida, one that arrived early from New Orleans, several local contenders and a couple of surprises.
American Anthem is lightly raced and has been off since he finished second by short head to Gormley in the Sham Stakes on Jan. 7. He was on the inside of the two-horse duel, with the rest of the field far behind at the finish. Bob Baffert has sent American Anthem out for regular works since the Sham.
“This is a nice horse and he’s had two great races, so this will be a good race for him,” Baffert said. “He’s a bigger version of Bodemeister. Like father, like son. Actually, that’s caused him to pick up a lot of added pressure. We’re excited about him and he’s trained really well for this race. Hopefully, he’ll run well. But, we still need racing luck. I hope when we turn for home, he’s there.... Jimmy said he went over the track really well today. He’s running against some nice horses, but everybody at Win Star and the China Horse Club are excited about him.”
Royal Mo, a stablemate of Gormley trained by John Shirreffs, ships in for his first start since winning the Robert B Lewis Stakes on Feb. 4. Like American Anthem, he is likely to be forwardly-placed in the Rebel after dictating fractions from the rail in the Lewis
Most recently both horses faced stiff competition that, in their most recent races, disappointed. Gormley ran fourth, far up the track from Mastery, in the San Felipe Stakes last Saturday. Irap, who dueled outside of Royal Mo in the Lewis, finished second as the favorite in the Mine That Bird Stakes. That said, the winner was 6-5 second choice Conquest Mo Money.
“He shipped in great,” Sheriffs said today. “He ate good. The cold doesn’t bother him. Horses like it.”
Asked if there is any comparison between Royal Mo and Shirreffs' 2010 Kentucky Derby winner Giacomo, the trainer said pretty much not.
“Giacomo was a little different story,” Sheriffs said. “He was a closer. He always came from way out of it. He kept improving, but he didn’t win any of these preps, so we went into the Kentucky Derby a big longshot. These two colts (Royal Mo and Gormley) are a little more forwardly placed in their races, so they’ve found some success earlier.”
This is Shirreffs' first trip to Oaklawn Park since the Zenyatta era, and he said he's glad to be back.
“I’ve been waiting to get back to Oaklawn for so long,” Sheriffs said. “My experience here with Zenyatta was off the charts great. It was fabulous. Oaklawn just has a special place in the racing community. You feel like part of the community here. When we drove in with Zenyatta we saw all these signs for her. Everyone was so supportive. It felt like a big family.”
The third California-based shipper is Sonneteer, a relatively unknown eight-race maiden trained by Keith Desormeaux. His efforts so far have not been totally in vain. Sonneteer has hit the board five times, and he finished fourth in the California Derby at Golden Gate.
Malagacy arrived early this week from Florida for Todd Pletcher. Like American Anthem, he is only a two-race veteran, but unlike American Anthem, he hasn't raced two turns. Malagacy was a geared-down, seven-length winner in a 6 1/2-furlong allowance race at Gulfstream Park last time out.
“The ship was good, the horses all showed up here nice and healthy, and they absolutely love this weather,” said Pletcher assistant Adele Bellinger, who doubles as the exercise rider. “They are happy and they were all perked up out on the track today. Yesterday we just went straight off to let them see their surroundings without having too much time to think about stuff. Today, we got them out there to train as well as well as possible. They all had a regular gallop of 1 1/4 mile and backed up a few furlongs. We are just trying to keep them from being too happy out there.
“Malagacy is a surprisingly nice horse and it’s nice to have those,” Bellinger said. “He’s always done everything right, but that first race (winning gate-to-wire by 15 lengths) was a ‘Wow’ race. He hasn’t gone that far yet, but he hasn’t showed any desire to slow down. I think this will be a very telling race. We’re excited about him.”
Another out-of-towner comes from Fair Grounds, but he's been at Oaklawn Park for a couple of weeks preparing for the Rebel. Untrapped, trained by Steve Asmussen, ran second in both the LeComte Stakes and the Risen Star Stakes. The latter race came only three weeks before the Rebel, and Untrapped has put in one workout since arriving at Oaklawn Park. There is a jockey change with Irad Ortiz, Jr. booked to ride, replacing Ricardo Santana, Jr.
One Liner ran very fast to win the Southwest Stakes, and he is absent from this field, but second-place finisher Petrov is back for trainer and part owner Ron Moquett. Petrov was always prominent in both the Smarty Jones Stakes and the Southwest and figures to be prominent again on Saturday. He will try to extend his stamina a bit further in the Rebel, which is the same distance as the Southwest, 1 1/16 mile.
Lookin at Lee, also from the Asmussen barn, will retain the services of Santana. The colt was third in the Southwest, and Asmussen hopes he will continue to develop as time passes. He said after the Southwest that Lookin at Lee was right where he expected him to be at that time of year.
Lookin At Lee breezed four furlongs in 50 flat today under regular exercise rider Adolpho Garcia.
“He went nice and easy, looked good and remains right on track,” said assistant trainer Darren Fleming. “He's doing well.”
Silver Dust finished fourth in the Southwest, beaten a dozen lengths. It was his first race of the year and first at two turns. Connections of the Randy Morse trainee hope for a fast early pace for a closing Silver Dust.
Uncontested was the post time favorite in the Southwest, but after setting the pace he faded to finish sixth for trainer Wayne Catalano. Initially, connections we're going to wait for the Arkansas Derby. However, based on recent bullet workouts, the decision was made to go ahead in the Rebel.
“Uncontested is a speedball,” Baffert said. “That’s good drew the 2. I think the break is important, but I’ll let Mike do what he wants to do. My horse is pretty quick, too, and he’s fast. He’s got natural speed. I’m glad that Uncontested is inside of us. That gives us some options, but you never know what Mike is going to do because he just plays it by the race.”
Wayne Lukas has recent maiden winner Silver Bullion. Lukas recently said everyone has grandiose ideas about their 3-year-olds at this time of year, and he wants to see where Silver Bullion fits.
Appalachian Gem, an outsider trained by the iconic Jack Van Berg, rounds out the field. He broke his maiden going two turns at Oaklawn on Feb. 20 in his third career start. Van Bert is still weighing his options.
“Thinking about it,” Van Berg said. “I’m taking a long look or a long shot.”
A good beginning analysis off of downthestretchs.com........
GII Rebel Stakes Preview
“2017 GII Rebel Stakes Preview”
The 2017 GII Rebel Stakes drew a strong field of “11” top 3yos with probably more than half of them quite capable of winning as almost all of this field could find a home on the board or in that super winning ticket somewhere depending on how this race is run! So a good wagering race would seem to be in the offing here on Saturday at Oaklawn, so lets scope out these 11 runners for the 2017 edition of the $900,000 GII Rebel Stakes!
Silver Bullion, PP#1, by Pioneerof the Nile out of a Silver Charm mare, is last out placed in an Oaklawn Aoc 1x at 1 1/16 mile back on Feb 18th where he had the 2 call lead but ended up 3 back of that race’s winner at the line. Only 3 lifetime starts with a maiden win on this one’s resume and his Beyer’s/ Speed rating have not improved much over that time. D Wayne trains and Ramon Vazquez rides this Calumet Farms Derby Hopeful! He should be a big post time price here so if you believe in connections, blood lines and a 3yo that could bloom overnight here then this one might be a thought for you.
Uncontested, PP#2, is a Tizwonderful – Lil E Tee combo, with Channing Hill riding and Wayne Catalano training. This one gave not quite a good accounting of himself last time out here in the GIII Southwest Stakes with a distance 6th finish and 12 lengths back but did have it all his own way early on in that GIII test. 2 back however was much better here in winning the Smarty Jones Stakes in some January slop! He needs to find that early career stakes board hitting form again to pick up some of these derby points here on Saturday or start looking for a 2017 sub derby level trek, meaning a West Virginia Derby and Super Derby type campaign!
Sonneteer , PP#3, is a Midnite Lute – Half Ours mix, is Keith Desormeaux trained with Richard Eramia up, has yet to crack into the winner’s circle in 7 maiden tries but did seem to find the board in most of them and was 4th several races back in that CalDerby Stakes at G/G too. This one seems to be more of a closer type so no early speed here to speak of. He has no races here over this oval and his beyer/speed ratings are middling at best! We’ll be look elsewhere for our Saturday afternoon fun!
Petrov, PP#4, by Flatter out of a Bertrando mare, as Ron Moquett conditions and Jose Ortiz will catch the ride. This one has placed 2nd in both the Smarty Jones and GIII Southwest Stakes where he had have a brief stretch lead. He seems to like to stalk an early leaders then pounce, so look for this one with the ever improving Beyer/Speed figs to vie for at least a board spot as this one feels like a home cooking type to us.
Untrapped, PP#5, by Trappe Shot out of Giant’s Causeway mare is also twice graded placed in the GIII Lecomte and GII Risen Star both at the Fairgrounds this season. This one too has improving figs as Steve Asmussen does the training here and Irad Ortiz will ride this one for the first time here on Saturday. His running style is that of a closer type so we’d look for him late! Could be a break through race for him here on Saturday and could be a Oaklawn crowd favorite on Saturday!
Malagacy, PP#6, by Shackleford out of a Dehere mare, with Todd Pletcher – Javier Castellano teaming. Malagacy, has but 2 races on his resume but what a 2 race resume it is. Winning his maiden at first asking by 15 lengths then popping a 7 1/2 lengths win next out in a G/P Aoc 1x’d garnering triple digits figs for both wins. First time around 2-turns here everyone and is leaving the confines of Gulfstream Park too. He may not be a post time favorite but the Oaklawn faithful will be looking this one over with great anticipation!
American Anthem, PP#7, by Bodemeister out of a A.P. Indy mare, is a Baffert pupil with Mike Smith coming in for the mount. This one got into a pitched stretch run duel with Gormley last time out in the GIII Sham Stakes at Santa Anita and came out of it, a no shame, 2nd best by just a head but did pickup a triple digit fig for the effort. Baffert has owned these Oaklawn derby preps in recent years and this year’s pupil will get a ton of play come Saturday as he can sit or go early. With Mastery now sidelined with an ankle fracture for at least the next 3 months, American Anthem, could become Baffert’s top Derby horse with a big win here on Saturday!
Silver Dust, PP#8, is a Tapit – Hard Spun mare combo, with Randy Morse training and Cory Lanerie riding was 4th but back 12 lengths last time in that same GIII Southwest Stakes where a bit of a late move got him up for that 4th placing. A short resume here too with mid-80’s figs says he may not be ready for prime time just yet but he’s well pedigreed with a graded race over this strip already to his good. He’ll have jump up big time to be a factor in this one as he does tend to come late!
Appalachian Gem, PP#9, by Gemologist out of a Dixieland Band mare is conditioned by Jack Van Berg with the ancient one with the new bionic hip Gary Stevens said to be saddling up for this dance. This one is but a maiden winner last time out in only 3 Oaklawn lifetime starts but last time was at this 1 1/16 mile distance that he covered in 1:45 flat. Although he is well pedigreed, he’s not an early speed type and sports only low to mid 80’s type figs but this is a time for testing so lets see what he’s got here on Saturday!
Royal Mo, PP#10, by Uncle Mo out of a Saint Ballado mare and is a John Sherriffs trainee with Victor, Victor, Victor sitting in the pilot’s seat looking for another 2017 derby mount. This one won the GIII Bob Lewis Stakes last time out by 3 1/2 length but over a now semi-suspect field in a 1:43.2 garnering a mid 90’s fig and 10 derby points for the effort. He has gone to the early lead in both of his last 2 starts and was never headed in either so look for him up front early here on Saturday. Question is will he be able the stay with American Anthem all the way around this Oaklawn oval here on Saturday for a piece as he might be 2nd choice come post time?
Lookin At Lee, PP#11, is a son of Lookin at Lucky and a Langfuhr mare, Steve Asmussen trains, Ricardo Santana rides, Lookin at Lee is a well traveled graded runner coming a distance 3rd in that same GIII Southwest Stakes last time out. With starts in the GI B/C Juvy, GI Breeders Futurity and GIII Iroquois, all with on or near the board finishes, you might think it’s time for this one to score a big win. He is more of a closer type and a big pace meltdown could play to his advantage here on Saturday but he has got to step up and do it if all the early speeds faulted late. He could be a sleeper horse here on Saturday with probable high single digits to 1 post time odds, too. We’d look for a home for this one in our exotics thinking, as well!
Early Rebel Stakes odds are out.......a few of them surprised me. Adjusted ML lines have been added and are the 2nd row of numbers.
American Anthem 5/2 2-1
Malagacy 4-1 4-1
Royal Mo 9/2 9/2
Untrapped 8-1 8-1
Petrov 8-1 9/2
Uncontested 8-1 10-1
Lookin at Lee 10-1 15-1
Silver Dust 15-1 15-1
Silver Bullion 20-1 30-1
Appalachian Gem 30-1 30-1
Sonneteer 30-1 30-1
HorseRacingNation has a good update on the race:
Bob Baffert won’t be at Oaklawn on Saturday to witness what he hopes will be an auspicious step up into Grade 2 competition for American Anthem. Rather, he will be in the Los Angeles airport waiting to board a jet to Dubai.
Baffert saddles reigning 3-year-old champion and multiple Grade 1 winner Arrogate and 2014 Rebel Stakes winner Hoppertunity in the $10 million Dubai World Cup on Saturday, March 25. He’ll have to watch the Rebel on his mobile device.
“Hopefully, we can have some luck and I’ll be able to enjoy my long trip better,” he said by phone from his Southern California base.
Baffert is optimistic that the son of 2012 Arkansas Derby (G1) winner Bodemeister, who has only been out twice but won the Sham Stakes-G3 under Hall of Fame rider Mike Smith, will move forward. In the Sham, American Anthem dug down deep and fought back on the rail and down the lane like a seasoned pro to lose by a short nose to the John Shirreffs-trained Gormley.
“Mike was really impressed with his toughness last time when he ran against Gormley,” said Baffert, who engaged Smith to ride both the WinStar Farm, SF Bloodstock and China Horse Club’s colt and Mor Spirit. “He had every reason to give in. We know he’ll fight. He’s got a big heart.”
Jimmy Barnes, the assistant to the Hall of Fame trainer, said that he after he returns back to their Santa Anita base with American Anthem and Essex Handicap probable favorite Mor Spirit, he’ll take the 16-hour flight to Dubai to join Baffert.
Oaklawn-based Kenny McPeek said he is also headed to Dubai to run Vettori Kin in the United Arab Emirates Derby (G2). Gun Runner, the stunning winner of the Razorback Handicap (G3) here February 20, takes on Arrogate and Hoppertunity in the World Cup for Hall of Fame and Oaklawn’s seven-time leading trainer Steve Asmussen.
LOOKIN AT LEE AND UNTRAPPED
Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen has garnered three Rebel Stakes trophies, and on Saturday he takes a double shot to add another piece of hardware to the case with Lookin At Lee and Untrapped.
Jonesboro, AR native Mike Langford, who owns a home in Hot Springs, purchased Untrapped for $125,000 as a 2-year-old at the Ocala Breeders Sales April auction and was at the barn Thursday morning to visit his color bearer.
“I look for us to run really big,” he said. “He looks great and he’s been training really forwardly and is doing real good. After looking at the PPs (past performances), I feel even better. When you look at them and see names like Bob Baffert (American Anthem) and Todd Pletcher (Malagacy) coming in, and obviously they’ve got the top horses, it gets your attention. But those horses have a lot to prove also. So I feel real good. Our horse has grown and matured.”
Langford has yet to win the Rebel and even though his Torrid Sand ran third in the Preakness in the past, he hasn’t had a Kentucky Derby starter yet either. With 11 races on Saturday and Rebel post time slated for 6:06 P.M. (CDT), how will he manage to keep those nerves in check?
“That’s the million dollar question,” he answered. “I’m not sleeping real good now. I can only imagine what that day will be like. But, I’m also confident. Just by the way he’s training, and going back and watching those last two races, we’re not going in there with an empty wagon.”
Lookin at Lee, who worked an easy half-mile in 50 flat here the day before, just walked around the barn on Thursday morning while Untrapped, who has been stabled up until last week at Asmussen’s Fair Grounds division, went out to the track to gallop 1 ½ mile under Alphonso Garcia.
Sumaya US Stable's Malagacy, who is trained by Todd Pletcher, galloped 1 1/8 miles under assistant Adele Bellinger and then stood in the gate Thursday morning in preparation for his third start and first venture into graded stakes company.
In an interesting twist, owner Ossama Aboughazales also owns the first reported foal by American Pharoah, who won the 2015 Rebel Stakes and Arkansas Derby on his way to completing the Grand Slam of the Triple Crown, Breeders' Cup Classic and Horse of the Year Honors.
Pletcher also sends out Madefromlucky, who was second and fourth, respectively, in the Rebel and Arkansas Derby, in the Essex Handicap and Eskenformoney in the Azeri Stakes (G2) on Saturday's card. Both of those horses galloped 1 1/4 miles with Bellinger in the irons.
Trainer John Shirreffs has brought some big girls to Oaklawn – namely the iconic Zenyatta and Manistique for the Apple Blossom Handicap (G1) – but now returns to Hot Springs with a big boy in Royal Mo, who is entered in Saturday’s $900,000 Rebel Stakes for 3-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles.
A son of champion Uncle Mo, Royal Mo is “close to 17 hands,” Shirreffs said Thursday morning, and figures to keep growing. Zenyatta stood 17.2 hands, while Manistique, fourth in the 1999 Apple Blossom, was close to 17 hands.
“He’s just an early 3-year-old, so he’s really just going through a developmental stage,” Shirreffs said.
Royal Mo will represent the Southern California-based trainer’s first Oaklawn starter since Stanwyck ran third in the Apple Blossom (G1) for older fillies and mares in 2014. The colt, who has never raced outside California, has won his last two starts in front-running fashion, including the $150,000 Robert B. Lewis Stakes (G3) Feb. 4 at Santa Anita.
Shirreffs said he believes the Rebel will be a good gauge for Royal Mo because it has drawn the top locals, and shippers from the East Coast and West Coast.
“It’s a good race, with tough horses,” Shirreffs said. “We’ll just have to see how it ends up.”
Owners Jerry and Ann Moss purchased Royal Mo for $300,000 at the Keeneland September Yearling Sale. The couple also campaigned 2010 Horse of the Year Zenyatta, winner of Oaklawn’s Apple Blossom in 2008 and 2010.
Shirreffs said Royal Mo galloped 1 ½ miles Thursday morning under exercise rider Juan Jurado-Gutierrez.
Calumet Farm’s homebred Sonneteer has only raced in California, has never won in three shots at the 1 1/6 miles distance of the $900,000 Rebel Stakes (G2), and is the only maiden in the field of 11 sophomores. Nonetheless, trainer Keith Desormeaux has confidence in the dark bay son of champion sprinter Midnight Lute as he tries for the 50-20-10-5 (1st through 4th) Kentucky Derby qualifying points up for grabs Saturday.
“He’s an improving colt and he took a little bit more time to come around,” said assistant trainer Julie Clark, who is in charge of Sonneteer and Essex Handicap starter Dalmore until Desormeaux arrives for the races. “The owner (Brad Kelly) would love to see him on the Derby trail. Then there are points available, the money’s good, and he’s an easy horse to be around. He travels well. Why Not come? It’s getting down to the wire where we need the points and the experience. They have to move forward. This race will tell us not what kind of horse he is, necessarily, but it will tell us if he’s ready to stay on the Derby trail,”
Sonneteer will also get the chance for some sweet revenge on fellow Rebel runner Royal Mo, who is conditioned by Hall of Fame nominee John Shirreffs. Jerry and Ann Moss’s graded stakes winner got the better of him by 2/14 lengths when they matched up November 16 in a one mile maiden special weight at Del Mar in the last race of the juvenile season for both.
“We get another shot at him and maybe we can turn the tables this time,” said the veteran horsewoman, who is making her first trip to Oaklawn this week.
Should Sonneteer, who gets in at 115 pounds, including Richard Eramia, and gets a 7 pound break from the 122 pound co-highweighted Royal Mo and Uncontested, pull off the upset, it will be the first graded stakes win at Oaklawn for Desormeaux. Even better, it would be the first Oaklawn win for the Louisiana native. Desormeaux is 0-for-14 in Hot Springs to date.
On Thursday morning, Sonneteer walked the shedrow and before the races Clark brought him and Dalmore to the paddock and infield for a schooling session.
Uncontested galloped 1 ¼ miles under exercise rider Antonio Ramos Thursday morning for trainer Wayne Catalano in preparation for Saturday’s $900,000 Rebel Stakes (G2), which will offer the son of Tiz Wonderful a chance at redemption. Following a record-setting performance in the $150,000 Smarty Jones Stakes Jan. 16, Uncontested faded to sixth as the favorite in the $500,000 Southwest Stakes (G3) Feb. 20.
Co-owner Harry Rosenblum initially said Uncontested would likely make his next start in the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) April 15 at Oaklawn, but Uncontested is getting a shot in the Rebel after recording two bullet workouts this month. Catalano gave Uncontested the green light after he blazed 5 furlongs in :58.80 March 10 under regular rider Channing Hill, galloping out 6 furlongs in 1:10.60 and 7 furlongs in 1:24.80.
“That’s what I wanted to see,” Catalano, Hill’s father-in-law, said Thursday morning. “When he did that, we were ready. If he hadn’t, we would have waited.”
Uncontested was a wire-to-wire winner of the 1-mile Smarty Jones, setting a stakes records for time (1:36.32) and margin of victory (5 ¼ lengths).
Uncontested is scheduled to break from post 2 in the projected 11-horse Rebel field.
“I do like my post,” Catalano said. “I can go on about my business.”
Catalano won the 1997 Arkansas Derby with late-running Crypto Star.
Source: Oaklawn Park
Interesting and surprising that Bob Baffert horses have won the Rebel 6 of the last 7 years.........how much does that play into making American Anthem (his horse) the 2-1 ML favorite????
He lost by a head last race out to Gormly in the Sham Stakes in the slop, he looked great and raced with a lot of heart after being boxed in a bit and lost to a very good horse. So, why might he still lose?
1. He has only 2 lifetime races
2. Never raced at Oaklawn Park
3. Brisnet Prime Power has him ranked 3rd behind Uncontested and Malagacy
4. Never raced over 1 mile
5. Hasn't raced in over 2 months
6. Baffert doesn't appear overly confident on him in interviews I've seen
But he has 2 March bullet works, has the 2nd highest Beyer at 102, been the favorite in all his races, and likes a wet track (and of course the Baffert effect)...............
Last tidbit of the night:
In all 3yr. old races this year, with Graded Stakes or Handicap race conditions and $100K-$900K purses (41 races so far), 37% of the favorites have won and have been in the money 63% of the time.
Service picks up tomorrow..........
Service picks are up.........first, it does appear rain is in the forecast at the track with 40% chance of rain today, 60% chance tonight and 20% race day. This could have an impact so pay attention to the track conditions race day, as it could change things. It boils down to speed vs. closers basically, more on this later on. So, their picks are as follows:
1. Uncontested (10-1)
2. American Anthem (2-1)
3. Untrapped (8-1)
4. Petrov (9/2)
Honerable mention: He also mentioned if he were to lose, it would most likely be at the hoofs of Royal Mo (9/2).
I wanted to get these out there, more to follow later on, including picks by TimeFormUS and others.
TimeformUS has their picks up:
2nd. American Anthem
For those trip handicappers, enclosed is the following:
Want the lead: Silver Bullion, Uncontested, Malagacy, American Anthem
Trackers: Petrov, Untrapped, Royal Mo
Mid Pack: Silver Dust, Appalachian Gem
Closers: Sonneteer, Lookin at Lee