The Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve trail heads to Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Ark., this weekend where Saturday's Rebel Stakes features a talented group of 3-year-olds trying to earn a place in the run for the roses. The Grade 2 race has a strong history of producing Triple Crown success; learn about that history with the nine fun facts below.
1. Triple Crown winner American Pharoah launched his 3-year-old season in the 2015 Rebel Stakes, rolling to a 6 ¼ length victory on a sloppy track.
2. It’s a huge day of racing: Last year fans bet $10,752,313 on Rebel day races at Oaklawn and an estimated 36,000 people packed the track.
3. Since 2004, a remarkable five Rebel Stakes winners went on to be named champion 3-year-old: American Pharoah (2015), Will Take Charge (2013), Lookin at Lucky (2010), Curlin (2007), and Smarty Jones (2004).
4. The Rebel has been a spring staple at Oaklawn since 1961, making this year the 58th edition of the race.
5. Not only does the Rebel offer a $900,000 purse, but there are 85 Kentucky Derby qualifying points up for grabs. Of those totals, $540,000 and 50 points are reserved for the Rebel winner.
7. Twelve horses ran in the Rebel and later won a Triple Crown race. The most recent to do so was 2016 Belmont Stakes winner Creator, who finished third in that year’s Rebel.
8. The betting favorite has won just four of the last 10 editions of the race. All four of those winning favorites were trained by Bob Baffert.
9. The speed record in the race hasn’t been broken since 1967, when Betemight completed the 1 1/16 miles in 1:40 4/5.