Rebel Stakes 2022 Entries: Asmussen-MyRacehorse runner chases victory

A major stop on the Kentucky Derby Trail is this race, the Rebel Stakes. Run at Oaklawn Park, this $1 million contest boasts 'Points' worth 50-20-10-5 ... Who has drawn-in for Saturday? Check out this guide below!
A major stop on the Kentucky Derby Trail is this race, the Rebel Stakes. Run at Oaklawn Park, this $1 million contest boasts "Points" worth 50-20-10-5 ... Who has drawn-in for Saturday? Check out this guide below!

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Race 11: 1 1/16th (Dirt), Rebel Stakes (G2), Purse $1 Million, 3 (Saturday)

Traditionally, Oaklawn’s Grade 2 Rebel Stakes has served as a key stop on the "Road to the Kentucky Derby," with “Points” at stake … 50-20-10-5, to be exact. This year is no exception … The roll call of celebrated horses like Smarty Jones, Curlin, American Pharoah, Omaha Beach, Nadal, and most recently, Gary and Mary West’s Concert Tour, have enjoyed a trip to the Larry Snyder Winner’s Circle at the conclusion of the race. The long shadow of trainer Bob Baffert (who cannot garner any KYD Points due to the Churchill ban) has cast itself over this particular race. Coupled with that prospect again, the dirt oval in Hot Springs is a handicapping challenge to be sure. With a full field assembled once again, a salty group of colts look to take home a major piece of that $1 Million pie!

Now, let’s find out about this field…

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#1 Kavod (Jky: F. Arrieta/Trn: C. Hartman):

The Chris Hartman establishment continues to have a solid Meet, and when it comes to the cream of the crop, this son of Lea is near the top. A claim off Jim Chapman, Hartman took a chance, entering his new charge in the Advent S. $150k at Oaklawn back on 3 Dec. That win continues to be his top placing. However, in both the Smarty Jones $250k, and last time in the Southwest S. (G3), his colt clearly outran his odds against large fields (4th in both). I think the waters just keep getting deeper. Even with top jockey, Francisco Arrieta aboard, it is hard to see this one pulling an upset. Maybe ending up 4th, yet again, is the best we can expect.

Grade: C+

 

#2 Newgrange (Jky: J. Velazquez/Trn: B. Baffert):

HOF trainer Bob Baffert’s woes continue, and I doubt that we can call him the “face of this sport.” Still, he keeps entering despite the Churchill ban, and is undeterred by the mass criticism that seems to be heaped upon him. Once again, he sends this talented son of Violence back to Hot Springs. In the Southwest S. (G3), legendary rider John Velazquez (the only one to pilot him in 3x), re-rallied his mount when all seemed in jeopardy. It was a masterful performance. Coming into this spot, this 3-yr-old has to be considered the favorite once again. If he runs like he did last time though, he might get beaten. The race shape in this spot has a much more dangerous set of power runners. Also, Oaklawn’s track can promote late-running, off-the-pace types … Be warned Mr. Baffert … on all counts.

Grade: B+

 

#3 Cairama (Jky: G. Franco/Trn: S. Asmussen):

Here is one of 3 … count ‘em … 3 entries from leading trainer Steve Asmussen. When we say he is loaded on the Derby Trail … we mean it. This son of Cairo Prince took time off after the Smarty Jones $250k, a race in which he placed 6th. His conditioner thought the rest would do him some good for HRH Prince Sultan Bin Mishal Al Saud-owned runner. Honestly, this is one of those young colts that cost a fortune ($525k @OBS March ’21 Sale), and might not be up for stakes company. Jockey Geovanni Franco is going to take over the riding duties, and try to deliver a win … something this one has not done since he broke his maiden back in mid-September at Big Sandy (Belmont). I would be very surprised if he gets close to hitting the board.

Grade: C+

 

#4 Un Ojo (Jky: R. Vazquez/Trn: R. Courville):

The folks at Cypress Creek Equine made a swtich back to Ricky Courville from Tony Dutrow after the running of the Grade Withers S. at Aqueduct. That is not unheard of in horse racing because not every trainer has the ability to ship not only the horse, but their services. This gelding by Laoban really showed some mettle at “The Big A,” in a pair of stakes races (the other being a NY Stallion Series $500k). Ending up 2nd in both of those attempts was incredible, and the odds reflected that sentiment—over 20+ each time. Now, he comes back to the South a different horse than when he left in late November. This one is a true wild card, and he is getting a talented jockey in Ramon Vazquez. His numbers are solid, especially considering this is a robust colony chock full of talent. I would not write these connections off … what we do know is that this 3-yr-old will be a nice price come post time.

Grade: C+

 

#5 Texas Red Hot (Jky: R. Santana/Trn: R. Morse):

The conditioning talent of Randy Morse is undeniable. Though his stock does not get the opportunity to run in races like this one—G2—that does not mean he does not belong here. Morse is an expert horseman, and you can bet that this son of Texas Red will be raring to go come Saturday. Though he has not seen competition since he was a 2-yr-old, when he did run, starting in the summer into the fall, he flashed some talent. A big price in the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) at odds of 30/1, he was never competitive against Smile Happy, Classic Causeway, and White Abarrio. Still, leaning on Morse and his experience is not a poor idea. Plus, do not forget that Ricardo Santana gets aboard (who is not riding Barber Road #9) … as in the Meet’s leading rider … What a long shot this one would be! I am considering betting him … not kidding.

Grade: B+

 

#6 Stellar Tap (Jky: C. Torres/Trn: S. Asmussen):

This well-bred colt by the famous sire Tapit, was considered to be the top pick back in mid-September in the 1st KYD148 Points race, the Iroquois (G3). Folks saw that he had broken his maiden at Saratoga first-out, and that he was living up to that $250k price tag. At even money, he did not live up to that honor—5th. After being blown out in the Breeders’ Futurity (G1) at Keeneland in October, Asmussen sent him to the pasture to mature and take some time off. When we saw him next … it was late January at the Fair Grounds in an OC50k event. Ridden by Joel Rosario, he did not show poorly, especially considering it was his ’22 debut. Now, the people behind Winchell and L&N Racing are looking for a spark. I am sure there is talent somewhere inside this one, but whether Cristian Torres can find it in the saddle is going to be a guess at this point.

Grade: B-

 

#7 Ben Diesel (Jky: J. Court/Trn: D. Stewart):

Willis Horton Racing invests in some quality runners, and I am sure they are thinking that this homebred of theirs by Will Take Charge is ready to visit the Snyder Winner’s Circle. The best comment that can be said about Dallas Stewart’s charge is that he improved greatly from a 7th place finish in the Smarty Jones $250k to a 3rd place finish in the Southwest Stakes (G3). Some of that has to do with the post position that he had in the former (far outside going 1 mile), and maybe the improved track conditions during the latter. Veteran Jon Court gets the mount for the 5th time, and obviously he knows this colt’s tendencies quite well. If he can catch a break early, and lay 1 or 2 lengths off the front, maybe he can have enough to get the job done … a possibility.

Grade: B

 

#8 Chasing Time (Jky: T. Gaffalione/Trn: S. Asmussen):

In 2020, as the Pandemic took hold, a new concept for Thoroughbreds fans broke through—MyRacehorse. Once again, Michael Behrens and his crew have another runner that was up for investment. This colt by popular sire Not This Time is looking to make investors swoon. In a pair of preps at the OC80k level, Steve Asmussen’s 3rd entry in the Rebel really shinned brightly. The last attempt at the OP oval, ridden by Joel Rosario, he won convincingly by 7+ lengths. Taking over the lead in that race at the top of the lane, he romped home for the black and white silks … legions cheered. Rosario is over in Saudi Arabia for “the world’s richest horse race,” but his sub is no slouch in Tyler Gaffalione. This runner will be one of my top picks for sure, and he looks to be in love with this racetrack. A $250k purchase back at the OBS Spring Sale last year, his fitness level looks to be spot on.  

Grade: A

 

#9 Barber Road (Jky: R. Gutierrez/Trn: J. Ortiz):

The pairing of John Ortiz and Reylu Gutierrez seems to be a match made in heaven. These 2 are racking up the wins, and with this son of Race Day, they certainly have a good one in their midst. I tabbed this colt as my top pick in the Southwest S. (G3), and even though he could not catch Baffert’s SoCal shipper, it was another steady performance from the Ortiz Barn. Now, it is time to get over the hump, and the WSS Racing connections are looking to Gutierrez to replace Ricardo Santana. The pressure will be on to deliver a signature OP score. Stepping up in class and distance every time he hits the track, it should not surprise anyone that this 3-yr-old comes home with the victory. The only obstacle in his way … positioning … Can he make a late push in time with that style of his, without running out of real estate? Rematch time …

Grade: A-

 

#10 Ethereal Road (Jky: L. Contreras/Trn: W. Lukas):

It wouldn’t be Oaklawn or even Hot Spring without the HOF-er … The Coach … D. Wayne Lukas. He is not going to sit this Rebel out, and that is probably because he still is one. Coming into this race, if there is a class climber, then it is this colt by Quality Road. Owned by Aaron Sones, this MSW Co. runner finally broke through, scoring at odds of 20/1 against a tough field of 11. That ‘W” in late January made the connections think that the Rebel S. was on the table. Working well of late, Lukas is going to try again to test the Derby Trail. He already has a KYOaks possibility … could this be his Derby shot? Once again, Luis Contreras has the mount, and even though his numbers are not quite up to scratch, he is capable. Never count out Lukas … he is a HOF-er … but this one is going to have to run the race of his life. Tough ask …

Grade: B-

 

#11 Dash Attack (Jky: D. Cohen/Trn: K. McPeek):

Drawn to the extreme outside, the reigning Smarty Jones S. winner is going to have to break well. Manned by David Cohen, his regular rider, the choice is simple … try to wrestle the lead away from a bevy of comers, or sit back and take up a position towards the back of the pack. It will not be easy, whatever this colt by Munnings’ pilot decides to do. Back in the “Smarty,” Cohen was masterful down the lane … coming from well off of it to get up in time. He tried some of the same tactics next out in the Southwest S., and came up with little to show for it. That was a crowded stage, and it was going to be a monumental chore to replicate what he did in the slop. Depending on the track conditions on Saturday, maybe that can play a factor in him winning again? I am not so sure … Even though latest work tab looks promising (19 Feb 5f ft 1:00, 1/53; 12 Feb 5f ft :59, 1/51), he is going to have to prove it again.

Grade: B

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Join us Saturday for all of our selections! Should be a great set of races from historic Oaklawn Park! Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter … Horseracing_USA !!!

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