2015 Rebel Stakes Preview
The sole Road to the Kentucky Derby prep race on Saturday is the Grade 2 Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park. The Rebel marks the return of American Pharoah, the 2 year old champion in 2014.
The Rebel will be run at one mile and one sixteenth on Oaklawn’s main track. The purse is a whopping $750,000 with the top four horses earning points towards the Kentucky Derby Points Leaderboard. The winner of the Rebel will earn 50 points, the second place finisher will earn 20 points, third place will earn 10 points, and fourth place will earn 5 points.
The Rebel Stakes took a hit when Take Charge Brandi was ruled out of the race due to a chip in her right knee. She would have been heavily bet and now she will miss the Kentucky Oaks as a result of the injury.
A compact field of 7 horses will run in the Rebel with post time scheduled for 7:06 PM Eastern Time. The Rebel is scheduled as the tenth race on an eleven race program. Free past performances can be found here.
1. The Truth Or Else (4-1 Morning Line) – He needed four starts to break his maiden, but the first three came on turf. His first start on dirt saw him win by 2 1/2 lengths and he has since stayed on that surface with four straight graded stakes starts. He was third in both the Grade 1 Champagne and Grade 2 Nashua while not seriously challenging the top in those races. He ran a poor sixth in the Grade 2 Remsen stakes before taking a 3 month vacation. He resurfaced in the Grade 3 Southwest Stakes here at Oaklawn where he made a huge move on the far turn, but came up a half-length short to Far Right. He probably needed that race and is a prime contender here in the Rebel.
2. Madefromlucky (6-1 ML) – He started his career at Monmouth improving in each of his first three starts. He was fifth in his debut, third in his second race, and finished second by three-quarters of a length in his third start. He went to the bench for more than four months and won off the layoff at a mile and a sixteenth at Gulfstream Park. He was transferred to the barn of Todd Pletcher after his maiden breaking win and he made it back-to-back wins with a length and a half win in an optional claimer. He will be stalking the lead in this race and could definitely figure int he exotics.
3. Tizwonderfulcreek (30-1 ML) – He is the longest shot in the race based upon the morning line with a lifetime record of 1 for 5. He started at Prairie Meadows with a third place finish in his debut and a fourth place finish in his second race. He was then shipped to Remington Park for his third race and a try on turf, which he enjoyed as he won by a length. Nearly 5 months later he resurfaced here at Oaklawn where he ran by 8 3/4 lengths going 6 furlongs. Last time out he was fourth by 9 1/4 lengths in an allowance race at one mile and one sixteenth. This is not the spot for him to pull the upset and get his first win on dirt.
4. American Pharoah (1-2 ML) – We have reached the overwhelming favorite to win the Rebel Stakes. His debut was a poor one when he finished fifth by 9 1/4 lengths going 6.5 furlongs at Del Mar. He improved in his second start, which just happened to be the Grade 1 Del Mar Futurity at 7 furlongs. He went gate-to-wire that day and then did the same thing three and a half weeks later at Santa Anita. In the Grade 1 Front Runner, a race aptly named on that day, American Pharoah went wire-to-wire again. He was going to run in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile but a bruise to his left front foot precluded him from running. His workouts leading up to this race have been excellent and he probably does not even need to be 80% to win this race. The one to beat.
5. Bold Conquest (8-1 ML) – Just like The Truth Or Else, he too is coming out of the Grade 3 Southwest Stakes won by Far Right. He had some trouble in the stretch as he tried to close from way back, but he ended up fourth by 3 1/2 lengths. The Southwest was also his first in four and a half months, which he may have needed. He could certainly hit the board in this race.
6. Paid Admission (15-1 ML) – He started his career with three straight off the board finishes before winning his fourth start by 5 lengths at Delta Downs. He tried the Smarty Jones Stakes here at Oaklawn after that win, but once again was well beaten. Last time out he finished second by 4 1/2 lengths in an optional claimer going a mile and a sixteenth. The waters get deeper once again and he will need some help to hit the board.
7. Sakima (20-1 ML) – This guy started his career at Churchill Downs on the final day of November. He ran an even race throughout while finishing fifth by 11 lengths. Six weeks later he came here to Oaklawn under the care of trainer Ron Moquett and was placed first following a disqualification to break his maiden. His third start was in an allowance race where he was fourth by 1 3/4 lengths while he had trouble finishing in the stretch. He will need to step up here to make an impact.
This race comes down to #4 American Pharoah and how he handles the 5 month layoff. His workouts suggest he is ready and this field is hardly imposing, which makes him the heavy favorite. #1 The Truth Or Else should improve in his second start off the layoff while the same could be said for #5 Bold Conquest. #2 Madefromlucky is the only other pace horse outside of American Pharoah and could definitely hang around for second or third. As it happens sometimes on the Road to the Kentucky Derby, it could be a chalky finish in the Grade 2 Rebel Stakes.
1. American Pharoah
3. The Truth Or Else
Be sure to check back on Saturday night for a recap of the Grade 2 Rebel Stakes.