Hoppertunity made the most of his Kentucky Derby 2014 prep opportunity in a rough renewal of the Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park.
Hoppertunity and Tapiture were doing their best impression of “the
bump”, and there was no change to the original order of finish despite
an inquiry and objection.
Bob Baffert’s Hoppertunity, unraced as a juvenile, came into the Rebel off a rallying 4th
in the Risen Star, but new pilot Mike Smith had him much closer to the
pace this time. Baffert owns Oaklawn Derby preps and the Rebel was no
exception. Hoppertunity’s sire, Any Given Saturday, was my Derby horse
Tapiture had a perfect trip in the Southwest but
took the worst of it in the Rebel. He was rank and unhappy with mud in
his face along the inside and behind horses. He bullied his way into
contention and ended up a fine 2nd.
Ride On Curlin mixed it up on the front end with
Strong Mandate and outfinished the latter for the show. The average
fractions allowed Ride On Curlin to hang in there.
I was expecting Strong Mandate to rate and finish,
but Rosario had him up close due to moderate fractions. I wish he would
have gone on with it like California Chrome did in the San Felipe. The
modest pace kept the top four bunched up from start to finish. He
remains on my list but drops a few spots.