2019 Rebel Stakes Cheat Sheet

Racing
Champion Game Winner (left) and Improbable (right), two of the top-ranked horses on the Road to the Kentucky Derby, return to make their respective 3-year-old debuts on Saturday in divisions of the Rebel Stakes. (Eclipse Sportswire)

Saturday’s Grade 2 Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park traditionally holds high status as a key qualifying points prep for the May 4 Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve, but this year it’s become even more important.

After the Grade 2 San Felipe Stakes at Santa Anita Park, another major Derby prep, was canceled on March 5, Oaklawn officials announced that they would split the Rebel Stakes into two divisions in order to include horses originally slated to run in the San Felipe, which was scheduled for March 9.

Now, each division of the Rebel will be worth $750,000 and offer Kentucky Derby qualifying points distributed on a 37.5-15-7.5-3.75 basis to the top four finishers. The fields for the two Rebel heats are impressive in their diversity, as Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert sends his top two contenders, Game Winner and Improbable, to Hot Springs, Ark. for the chance to earn Derby points. Baffert’s duo joins several other West Coast horses as well as three returning from the Feb. 18 Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn.

The Rebel divisions are scheduled for post times of 5:57 p.m. and 7:06 p.m. ET, and will anchor a 2 ½-hour-hour telecast “Fox Sports Saturday At the Races” broadcast on FS2, from 5-7:30 p.m. ET.

Read on for information about all 19 Rebel Stakes contenders, presented in post-position order for both races:


Rebel Stakes, First Division, post time 5:57 p.m. Eastern

Extra Hope (Coady Photography)

1. Extra Hope (6-1)

Jockey: Mike Smith

Trainer: Richard Mandella

Owner: Jay Em Ess Stable

Career record: 7 starts – 2 wins – 1 second – 2 thirds

Career earnings: $128,400

Earnings per start: $18,343

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 105

Pedigree: Shanghai Bobby – Lotsandlotsofhope, by Tiznow

Color: Bay

Running style: Press the pace/stalker

Notable achievements and interesting facts: This son of champion Shanghai Bobby ships to Hot Springs along with Omaha Beach for Hall of Famer Richard Mandella, and Extra Hope is an intriguing longshot in the first Rebel division. He broke his maiden in his fourth start last fall going 1 1/16 miles at Santa Anita Park and then ran fourth and third in graded stakes to close out 2018, the latter coming against Improbable in the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Cash Call Futurity in which he was carried out in the first turn. After a six-week break, he romped by 3 ¼ lengths in a one-mile allowance/optional claiming race in late January, his first start at three, and has been training steadily since then in California. With a lot of speed in this race, especially drawn to the outside, look for Hall of Famer Mike Smith to get this horse out of the inside post position in good order and race just behind the leaders through the backstretch. Smith won his first of four Rebels way back in 1986 aboard Rare Brick; his most recent win came in 2014 with fan favorite Hoppertunity.


Long Range Toddy (Coady Photography)

2. Long Range Toddy (10-1)

Jockey: Jon Court

Trainer: Steve Asmussen

Owner: Willis Horton Racing

Career record: 6 starts – 3 wins – 1 second – 1 third

Career earnings: $401,125

Earnings per start: $66,854

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 102

Pedigree: Take Charge Indy – Pleasant Song, by Unbridled’s Song

Color: Dark bay or brown

Running style: Stalker

Notable achievements and interesting facts: This consistent, competitive runner is the most accomplished of the locally based horses entered in the Rebel’s first division. He began his career at Remington Park last summer and made his first four starts there, finishing fourth and then winning three races in a row, including two stakes races. Long Range Toddy’s last win in Oklahoma earned him 10 Kentucky Derby points, too, as he gamely held off Bankit to win the Remington Springboard Mile by a neck. Since moving to Oaklawn, he has finished second by a neck in the Smarty Jones Stakes and then a late-running third in the Southwest Stakes. This colt has adjusted his running style in his last three starts to become more of a stalker, and that strategy should serve him well in a race that includes several speed horses. Steve Asmussen has led the trainer’s standings at Oaklawn nine times and currently ranks first by wins and earnings at the 2019 meet. He has won the Rebel three times, most recently in 2007 with eventual Preakness Stakes winner and two-time Horse of the Year Curlin. Asmussen’s Combatant finished third in last year’s renewal. Owner Willis Horton won the 2013 Rebel with Will Take Charge, who competed in all three Triple Crown races without distinction but blossomed into a multiple Grade 1 winner later that year and was voted champion 3-year-old male. Jon Court was aboard Will Take Charge for his Rebel win. This week, Horton spoke with ABR correspondent Tom Pedulla about Long Range Toddy’s chances in the Rebel.


Corruze (Keeneland/Coady Photography)

3. Corruze (30-1)

Jockey: Stewart Elliott

Trainer: Chris Hartman

Owner: Chris Wilkins

Career record: 4 starts – 2 wins – 0 seconds – 0 thirds

Career earnings: $66,356

Earnings per start: $16,589

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 104

Pedigree: Into Mischief – Skygusty, by Skywalker

Color: Bay

Running style: Closer

Notable achievements and interesting facts: This colt enters the Rebel as an outsider and should vie with Proud Nation and Ninth Street for the longest post-time odds in this division on Saturday. Both of his wins in four career starts have come in turf sprints, earning triple-digit Equibase Speed Figures: a first-out maiden win at Keeneland last October and a score at Fair Grounds in January to begin his 3-year-old season. In his other two starts – a dirt sprint at Churchill Downs in November and a turf route at about a mile at Fair Grounds on Feb. 2 – he was defeated by a combined margin of 15 ¾ lengths. On the plus side, he is a closer who should have plenty of pace to run at in the Rebel, although Improbable and Galilean are horses of a much higher order than the ones he’s previously faced. Oaklawn-based trainer Chris Hartman is seeking his first Rebel win, while veteran jockey Stewart Elliott will be attempting to recapture some of the magic he and Smarty Jones made back in the spring of 2004, when they swept Oaklawn’s series of Kentucky Derby preps, including the Rebel, before winning the Derby in Louisville and capturing a $5 million bonus.


4. Easy Shot (15-1)

Jockey: Richard Eramia

Trainer: Keith Desormeaux

Owner: Calumet Farm

Career record: 6 starts – 1 win – 1 second – 1 third

Career earnings: $55,800

Earnings per start: $9,300

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 98

Pedigree: Trappe Shot – Daddy’s Dreamgirl, by Scat Daddy

Color: Bay

Running style: Stalker

Notable achievements and interesting facts: After breaking his maiden in his fourth career start last fall – in a maiden claiming race – this colt was ambitiously moved up to graded stakes company in his first two starts of 2018. He finished fifth of seven in the Sham Stakes and then third in the Robert B. Lewis Stakes, just a half-length behind runner-up Gunmetal Gray, who is entered in the Rebel’s second division. He has a shot to earn a minor award in this first division of the Rebel based on his improving speed figures and pedigree (he’s from the female family of prominent sire Distorted Humor) but seeing him in the winner’s circle would be a surprise as he’s lost ground late in both of his races held at a mile or longer. Trainer Keith Desormeaux and jockey Richard Eramia finished second in the 2017 Rebel with 112.30-1 shot Sonneteer, who is entered in Saturday’s Essex Handicap at Oaklawn.


5. Proud Nation (50-1)

Jockey: David Cabrera

Trainer: Joe Sharp

Owners: Gary and Mary West

Career record: 3 starts – 0 wins – 1 second – 0 thirds

Career earnings: $15,981

Earnings per start: $5,327

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 85

Pedigree: Tapit – Splendid Solution, by Unbridled’s Song

Color: Gray or Roan

Running style: Stalker

Notable achievements and interesting facts: This colt is one of two horses owned by Gary and Mary West to contest this year’s Rebel, along with champion Game Winner in the second division. Suffice to say, Proud Nation is no Game Winner and truthfully is still an unknown quantity as a racehorse through three career starts. He ran well in his debut in September 2018 at Ellis Park, finishing second by a neck, but was disqualified and placed ninth for interference. He then finished second again in October at Churchill Downs. In his only start at three and only race around two turns, he finished last of nine, defeated by 40 lengths at 9-5 odds, in a one-mile Oaklawn maiden on Feb. 18. His best Equibase Speed Figure to date is about 20 points lower that what will be needed to win the Rebel and, based on his limited sample size of races, his stalking style doesn’t bode well against the likes of Improbable, Galilean, and Long Range Toddy. He does have a good pedigree as a son of leading sire Tapit and a full brother (same sire and dam) to Grade 2 winner West Coast Belle. Jockey David Cabrera, currently third in Oaklawn’s rider standings, and young trainer Joe Sharp have yet to win the Rebel.


Ninth Street (Coady Photography)

6. Ninth Street (50-1)

Jockey: Ricardo Santana Jr.

Trainer: Steve Asmussen

Owner: H. V. Farms

Career record: 8 starts – 2 wins – 1 second – 1 third

Career earnings: $82,253

Earnings per start: $10,282

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 84

Pedigree: Street Boss – Plan Nine, by Mizzen Mast

Color: Chestnut

Running style: Closer

Notable achievements and interesting facts: The second Steve Asmussen-trained runner in the Rebel’s first division has more experience than any of the other 18 starters spanning both races, with eight career starts. But he still shapes up as a longshot on Saturday whose best chance of gaining Derby points figures to occur only if the early pace is exceptionally fast and he can navigate a trip to pick off some tiring horses in deep stretch. His two wins came in his final two starts of 2018, as he took a one-mile maiden special weight at Remington Park and then won the seven-furlong Jean Laffite Stakes at Delta Downs (a two-turn race at that track). He returned at three and posted a runner-up finish in another listed stakes at Delta but was then outclassed in the Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn on Feb. 18, finishing ninth of 11 at 104.20-1 odds. Interestingly, jockey Ricardo Santana Jr., usually Asmussen’s first-call rider, has the mount on this colt instead of stakes winner Long Range Toddy. Santana has finished as the leading rider at Oaklawn Park for six consecutive meets and is the current leader in 2019 as of March 13. He has yet to win the Rebel Stakes and finished third aboard Asmussen-trained Combatant last year.


Classy John (Hodges Photography/Amanda Hodges Weir)

7. Classy John (15-1)

Jockey: David Cohen

Trainer: Dallas Stewart

Owner: Valene Farms

Career record: 5 starts – 3 wins – 2 seconds – 0 thirds

Career earnings: $191,650

Earnings per start: $38,330

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 101

Pedigree: Songandaprayer – Kitty’s Got Class, by Old Forester

Color: Dark bay or brown

Running style: Pacesetter/press the pace

Notable achievements and interesting facts: This Louisiana-bred figures to be part of the early pace in the Rebel’s first division. He’s drawn to the inside of both Galilean and Improbable – two more accomplished racehorses who both have standout speed – and will need to break sharply and hustle out to the front to have any chance at earning a share of the race’s purse and Kentucky Derby points. Overall, Classy John has had a fine career through five starts with three wins and two seconds. He turned heads with a first-out win at Saratoga last summer and then ran well when second to eventual Lecomte Stakes runner-up Hog Creek Hustle at Churchill Downs before competing against fellow Louisiana-breds in his three subsequent starts, winning two restricted stakes at Fair Grounds and losing by a neck in his most recent race, another stakes restricted to state-breds at Delta Downs. That loss came in his only career start around two turns, which does not bode well for his win chances on Saturday. David Cohen, currently ranked second in Oaklawn’s jockey standings, is trying for his first Rebel win this year. So too is Fair Grounds-based trainer Dallas Stewart, who has enjoyed success in big races with longshots several times in recent years.


Galilean (BENOIT photo)

8. Galilean (3-1)

Jockey: Flavien Prat

Trainer: Jerry Hollendorfer

Owners: West Point Thoroughbreds, Denise Barker, and William Sandbrook

Career record: 4 starts – 3 wins – 1 second – 0 thirds

Career earnings: $261,000

Earnings per start: $65,250

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 111

Pedigree: Uncle Mo – Fresia, by El Prado

Color: Bay

Running style: Pacesetter/press the pace

Notable achievements and interesting facts: The return of Game Winner and Improbable is unquestionably the main headline for Saturday’s bifurcated Rebel Stakes, but this California-bred colt’s jump into open stakes company is an intriguing subplot to which many Derby prognosticators will be paying close attention. Galilean has excelled against state-breds in his four starts, winning three of them and losing by a neck in the other one. He won the King Glorious Stakes at Los Alamitos by nine lengths to close out his 2-year-old season in December, earning a 111 Equibase Speed Figure, and then returned on Feb. 18 and romped by 4 ½ lengths in the 1 1/16-mile California Cup Derby at Santa Anita. Now, this strapping colt will square off against some of the most highly regarded horses in his North American crop, but based on Equibase Speed Figures, forwardly-placed running style, and pedigree, he fits right in and looms as a win candidate in the first Rebel division. His sire, Uncle Mo, already has a Kentucky Derby winner in 2016 victor Nyquist, and on his dam’s side, he’s from the female family of Canadian champion Classy ‘n Smart, his fourth dam (maternal great-great-grandmother), who produced Hall of Famer Dance Smartly, leading sire Smart Strike, and several other notables. California-based jockey Flavien Prat finished second in last year’s Rebel Stakes aboard Solomini.


Improbable (Coady Photography)

9. Improbable (3-5)

Jockey: Drayden Van Dyke

Trainer: Bob Baffert

Owners: WinStar Farm, China Horse Club International and Starlight Racing

Career record: 3 starts – 3 wins – 0 seconds – 0 thirds

Career earnings: $269,520

Earnings per start: $89,840

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 104

Pedigree: City Zip – Rare Event, by A.P. Indy

Color: Chestnut

Running style: Press the pace

Notable achievements and interesting facts: As if Game Winner’s return wasn’t enough to spark interest in Saturday’s Rebel(s), Bob Baffert’s other marquee Derby contender is also set to begin his 3-year-old season in Hot Springs. Like his stablemate, Improbable is undefeated, taking his career debut by a neck last September at Santa Anita Park, shipping to Churchill Downs and romping in the Street Sense Stakes on the Breeders’ Cup Friday undercard, and then rolling again to a convincing win in the Los Alamitos Cash Call Futurity in late December. He ranks at or near the top of most Kentucky Derby contenders’ list based partly on his impressive visual appearance, as he’s shown a fluid and powerful racing action that is reminiscent somewhat of recent Baffert-trained Triple Crown winners American Pharoah and Justify. This son of City Zip from the female family of Kentucky Derby and Breeders’ Cup Classic runner-up Hard Spun has been training lights out in California. He drew the far outside post in the Rebel’s first division but has shown the ability to rate in the early stages of his races and just needs a clean break and smart decision-making from talented young jockey Drayden Van Dyke to secure a good position close to probable leaders Galilean and Classy John. Baffert has dominated the Rebel this decade, winning it six times in a seven-year span from 2010 to 2016, most memorably with American Pharoah in 2015. He finished second last year with Solomini.


Rebel Stakes, Second Division, post time 7:06 p.m. Eastern

Market King (Coady Photography)

1. Market King (30-1)

Jockey: John Velazquez

Trainer: D. Wayne Lukas

Owners: Robert Baker and William Mack

Career record: 6 starts – 1 win – 1 second – 1 third

Career earnings: $70,785

Earnings per start: $11,798

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 91

Pedigree: Into Mischief – Divine Presence, by A.P. Indy

Color: Bay

Running style: Pacesetter/press the pace

Notable achievements and interesting facts: This locally-based runner should be part of the early pace in the Rebel’s second division provided he breaks well from the inside post position. He did not reach the winner’s circle until his fifth career start and second as a 3-year-old, holding on to take a 1 1/16-mile race at Oaklawn on Feb. 9 by three-quarters of a length. He followed with a third-place finish at Oaklawn on Feb. 24, a race in which he set swift early fractions and kept a lead into the stretch before tiring. Based on pedigree, he should be able to handle 1 1/16 miles as he’s by top sire Into Mischief and from a female family that is highlighted by second dam (maternal grandmother), Divine Proportions, a French Oaks winner. But his race record to date is not encouraging when compared with this division’s other speed horses, Game Winner and Omaha Beach. Hall of Famer D. Wayne Lukas, a two-time leading trainer at Oaklawn Park, has won the Rebel twice, most recently with champion Will Take Charge in 2013. Fellow Hall of Famer John Velazquez has yet to win the Rebel; he finished fifth last year aboard Sporting Chance for Lukas and owners Robert Baker and William Mack.


Laughing Fox (Coady Photography)

2. Laughing Fox (10-1)

Jockey: Ricardo Santana Jr.

Trainer: Steve Asmussen

Owners: Alex and JoAnn Lieblong

Career record: 4 starts – 2 wins – 0 seconds – 0 thirds

Career earnings: $105,518

Earnings per start: $26,380

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 99

Pedigree: Union Rags – Saskawea, by Stormy Atlantic

Color: Chestnut

Running style: Stalker

Notable achievements and interesting facts: Aside from the California-based runners, this up-and-coming son of Belmont Stakes winner Union Rags figures to have the best chance of nabbing Kentucky Derby points in the Rebel’s second heat. He’s 2-for-2 as a 3-year-old, both wins coming at Oaklawn in two-turn races, and was especially impressive in his most recent start, winning a 1 1/16-mile allowance/optional claiming race on Feb. 18 by 1 ¼ lengths. His stalk-and-pounce style fits well against this field, although he’ll have to summon a career-best performance to topple Game Winner, Gunmetal Gray, and Omaha Beach. Laughing Fox is one of four Steve Asmussen-trained horses in this Rebel division, and retains Oaklawn’s leading jockey, Ricardo Santana Jr., who has been aboard for his three most recent starts.


3. Parsimony (30-1)

Jockey: Mario Gutierrez

Trainer: Doug O’Neill

Owner: Reddam Racing

Career record: 7 starts – 0 wins – 4 seconds – 0 thirds

Career earnings: $53,700

Earnings per start: $7,671

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 104

Pedigree: Dominus – Lil Cora Tee, by Lil E. Tee

Color: Gray or roan

Running style: Stalker

Notable achievements and interesting facts: Lost in the hullabaloo of more famous California-based horses such as Game Winner, Improbable, and Gunmetal Gray, this fellow West Coast shipper arrives at Oaklawn accompanied by two-time Kentucky Derby-winning connections but also winless through seven starts. In his defense, he has finished second four times and has been competing against some of the best horses in his California class dating back to last year, such as Gunmetal Gray, Roadster, and Sparky Ville. His most recent two races have been his best, as he finished second in a 6 ½-furlong dirt sprint on a sloppy track at Santa Anita and then second again in a 1 1/8-mile turf race at the same track on Feb. 16. Parsimony earned triple-digit Equibase Speed Figures in those two starts, but in his only dirt route start he was beaten by 18 ½ lengths and he has an uninspiring stamina pedigree to boot. Doug O’Neill, Mario Gutierrez, and owner J. Paul Reddam won the run for the roses in 2012 (I’ll Have Another) and 2016 (Nyquist), and O’Neill did have a string of horses at Oaklawn Park for the 2018 meet, when he tallied eight of his nine career wins at the track.


Jersey Agenda (Coady Photography)

4. Jersey Agenda (15-1)

Jockey: Jose Ortiz

Trainer: Steve Asmussen

Owner: Charles Fipke

Career record: 4 starts – 2 wins – 1 second – 0 thirds

Career earnings: $120,067

Earnings per start: $30,017

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 97

Pedigree: Jersey Town – Risky Agenda, by Dynaformer

Color: Dark bay or brown

Running style: Press the pace

Notable achievements and interesting facts: Steve Asmussen’s second of four entrants in this division enters off of his only subpar performance in four career starts. He began his 3-year-old season with a sharp 2 ¾-length win in a one-mile allowance/optional claiming race at Oaklawn but then tired in the stretch after taking an early lead in the Southwest Stakes when finishing eighth, beaten by 10 lengths. He did have to steady heading into the first turn in the Southwest when pace-pressing Gray Attempt bore out, so he’s eligible for an improved showing on Saturday. Jersey Agenda has a running style that is similar to that of champion Game Winner, and it will be interesting to see where he is placed by Eclipse Award-winning jockey Jose Ortiz in the early stages of this race. He’s got a decent stamina pedigree on his dam’s side, although sire Jersey Town was a miler, and attracting the services of Ortiz is a big plus. Ortiz has had mounts in the two most recent Rebel Stakes, finishing fourth in both races.


Game Winner (Coady Photography)

5. Game Winner (4-5)

Jockey: Joel Rosario

Trainer: Bob Baffert

Owners: Gary and Mary West

Career record: 4 starts – 4 wins – 0 seconds – 0 thirds

Career earnings: $1,496,000

Earnings per start: $374,000

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 111

Pedigree: Candy Ride – Indyan Giving, by A.P. Indy

Color: Bay

Running style: Press the pace

Notable achievements and interesting facts: The champion 2-year-old male of 2018 makes his debut in the Rebel’s second division, and anticipation has been building for months as Kentucky Derby forecasters await to see if this colt will build on his stellar juvenile season and remain in the discussion as a leading classic contender. He was a perfect 4-for-4 last year and wasn’t really tested in any of his races, showing a level of maturity and an ability to rate behind horses that is rare for a horse starting out his racing career. The Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner has been training steadily in California for Triple Crown maestro Bob Baffert, although according to most observers not quite as impressively as stablemate Improbable. He’s already won twice at the Rebel’s 1 1/16-mile distance and is bred to run all day as a son of Pacific Classic stakes-record holder Candy Ride and out of an A.P. Indy mare who is a half-sister to 2006 champion older female Fleet Indian. The intriguing Omaha Beach, drawn just to Game Winner’s outside, should provide an early and fast target, Gunmetal Gray could post a late threat, and a couple of Steve Asmussen’s locally-based horses have the potential to make some noise in this race – but if this colt returns off of the layoff firing on all cylinders, he’ll be very tough to beat. Regular rider Joel Rosario has only raced at Oaklawn 22 times in his career with four wins, all in stakes. Two of those were in 2014 aboard champion older female Close Hatches. Last week, owner Gary West spoke with ABR correspondent Tom Pedulla about champion Game Winner.


Omaha Beach (Coady Photography)

6. Omaha Beach (7-2)

Jockey: Mike Smith

Trainer: Richard Mandella

Owner: Fox Hill Farms

Career record: 5 starts – 1 win – 3 seconds – 1 third

Career earnings: $71,800

Earnings per start: $14,360

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 109

Pedigree: War Front – Charming, by Seeking the Gold

Color: Dark bay or brown

Running style: Press the pace

Notable achievements and interesting facts: This promising colt arguably poses the greatest threat to spoil Game Winner’s return on Saturday, as he ships to Oaklawn for Hall of Fame trainer Richard Mandella off of a visually impressive, nine-length romp in a seven-furlong maiden special weight race at Santa Anita Park on Feb. 2. He ran well in all three of his starts as a juvenile in 2018, finishing third in his debut, second by a nose, and then second by a neck, with each race held at a mile or longer. Omaha Beach made his 3-year-old debut in a one-mile race on Jan. 4 at Santa Anita and again finished second, this time by a half-length after stumbling at the start, but he put it all together in his next start for owner Rick Porter’s Fox Hill Farms and Mandella. Although his best race to date came when shortened up to one turn, he has a pedigree that is oriented toward longer-distance races. He’s a half-brother to Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies winner Take Charge Brandi, and his dam (mother), Charming, is a half-sister to champion Will Take Charge and Florida Derby winner Take Charge Indy. Multiple Grade 1 winner Take Charge Lady is his second dam (maternal grandmother). Look for Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith to send his mount to the lead early and attempt to control the pace through the backstretch, with the goal of getting the jump on a hopefully rusty Game Winner coming out of the far turn.


Our Braintrust (Eclipse Sportswire)

7. Our Braintrust (6-1)

Jockey: David Cohen

Trainer: Mark Casse

Owner: Gary Barber

Career record: 5 starts – 2 wins – 2 seconds – 1 third

Career earnings: $196,640

Earnings per start: $39,328

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 102

Pedigree: Freud – Caller Trust, by Trust N Luck

Color: Dark bay or brown

Running style: Stalker

Notable achievements and interesting facts: This Maryland-bred colt measures up a bit short against Game Winner, Gunmetal Gray, and Omaha Beach in terms of Equibase Speed Figures but has shown enough consistency and class to be a live longshot candidate in this division of the Rebel. He enters off of a good third-place finish in the 1 1/8-mile Withers Stakes at Aqueduct, where he finished a neck behind Tax and runner-up Not That Brady. In that race, he stalked Not That Brady’s pace and was bumped by that foe in the stretch but still battled on. That was his first two-turn race, and it came on the heels of another good effort in the one-mile Jerome Stakes on New Year’s Day at Aqueduct, where he ran second behind Grade 1 winner Mind Control. He’ll be cutting back a sixteenth of a mile in distance from the Withers on Saturday and figures to be in the second wave of horses turning for home under local jockey David Cohen. Whether he has the finishing kick to win against this tough field is another question. Trainer Mark Casse has yet to win the Rebel but has enjoyed success at Oaklawn in years past, including winning the 2017 Arkansas Derby with Classic Empire.


Gunmetal Gray (BENOIT photo)

8. Gunmetal Gray (10-1)

Jockey: Flavien Prat

Trainer: Jerry Hollendorfer

Owners: Hollendorfer LLC, Pearl Racing, and West Point Thoroughbreds

Career record: 6 starts – 2 wins – 2 seconds – 0 thirds

Career earnings: $247,200

Earnings per start: $41,200

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 104

Pedigree: Exchange Rate – Classofsixtythree, by Include

Color: Gray or roan

Running style: Closer

Notable achievements and interesting facts: This graded stakes winner ships from California a bit under the radar compared with Bob Baffert’s headliners and even with his own stablemate, buzz horse Galilean, but he profiles as one of the few stone-cold closers in either Rebel division and has run consistently well to stand a good chance at earning more Derby points on Saturday. After a solid juvenile season in which he won once in four starts and finished second behind Game Winner in the Grade 1 American Pharoah Stakes, Gunmetal Gray returned on Jan. 5 to win the Grade 3 Sham Stakes with a late rally and then closed again to finish second behind Mucho Gusto in the Grade 3 Robert B. Lewis Stakes in early February. He doesn’t have a stamina-oriented pedigree, but he’s already shown the ability to compete in route races … if he gets a swift enough pace to set up his finishing kick. The trainer-jockey combo of Jerry Hollendorfer and Flavien Prat has finished in the money at a 41-percent rate through their respective careers.


Kaziranga (Coady Photography)

9. Kaziranga (50-1)

Jockey: Richard Eramia

Trainer: Steve Asmussen

Owner: Calumet Farm

Career record: 6 starts – 1 win – 1 second – 0 thirds

Career earnings: $32,067

Earnings per start: $5,345

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 88

Pedigree: Candy Ride – Teammate, by A.P. Indy

Color: Gray or Roan

Running style: Stalker/closer

Notable achievements and interesting facts: This colt races for the same owner as Easy Shot from the Rebel’s first division, and like that Brad Kelley/Calumet Farm runner he’ll be a longshot on Saturday. After posing no threat in his first two starts as a juvenile last year in Kentucky, he showed improvement when shipped to Remington Park in the fall, breaking his maiden and then running second in a one-mile race. Since then, however, he regressed to finish eighth in the Remington Springboard Mile and then ran a troubled fifth (placed fourth) in his only 3-year-old start to date at Oaklawn on Feb. 18 – a race won by Rebel opponent Laughing Fox. He has one of the best pedigrees among all 19 Rebel starters as a son of Candy Ride and from a female family that includes elite sire War Front; his stakes-winning dam, Teammate; and several other stakes winners. But Kaziranga compares unfavorably against his second Rebel division opponents in every other category and would have to show a heretofore unseen level of talent to earn Kentucky Derby points on Saturday.


Captain Von Trapp (Coady Photography)

10. Captain Von Trapp (15-1)

Jockey: Ramon Vazquez

Trainer: Steve Asmussen

Owner: Phoenix Thoroughbred III

Career record: 5 starts – 2 wins – 2 seconds – 0 thirds

Career earnings: $126,480

Earnings per start: $25,296

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 93

Pedigree: Trappe Shot – Julie From Dixie, by Dixie Union

Color: Bay

Running style: Stalker/closer

Notable achievements and interesting facts: The final Steve Asmussen runner in this division enters on a two-race winning streak at Oaklawn and races for Amer Abdulaziz, principal owner of last year’s Belmont Stakes Presented by NYRA Bets runner-up Gronkowsi. Captain Von Trapp finished second twice in three races as a juvenile in 2018 but has improved considerably so far as a 3-year-old, breaking his maiden in a six-furlong race in February and then taking one-mile allowance/optional claiming race by a length on March 2. He faces a big class test in the Rebel and also has a pedigree that is oriented more toward sprints and one-mile races than routes. On the positive side, as a horse who prefers to rally from off the pace, drawing the outside post should not hurt his already slim win chances. Jockey Ramon Vazquez currently ranks fourth in Oaklawn’s rider standings.

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