Saturday is the Rebel Stakes @ Oaklawn Park, where these promising 3-year-olds will be going the distance of 1 1/16 miles, for $600,000 and the winner gaining 50 points toward the Kentucky Derby. Add to this, that five California jockeys are shipping in, to try their hand at gaining a Derby contender. Of the five, Corey Nakatani, Garrett Gomez, and Mike Smith, have ridden full meets at Oaklawn in the past. Let's meet the field, by post position:
#2 Carve(15-1) - Was claimed after breaking his maiden. He is 2-for-2 @ Oaklawn, and for his lifetime. Trained by Steve Asmussen.
#1 Treasury Bill(5-1) - Ships from California. Brings his regular rider, Joe Talamo. Displays closing ability, and is trying two turns for the first time.
#3 Texas Bling(30-1) - Last race was 1st effort against Graded competition, in his 12th race. Race was also in slop. He didn't take. Could it be the track condition, or was he simply overmatched?
#4 Delhomme(7-2) - First time to race outside of New York, for Todd Pletcher. Had been training in Florida last 8 workouts, but never ran in a race. Been off 16 weeks. Inherits Garrett Gomez as a jockey.
#5 Hardrock Eleven(50-1) - His last race was his first against Graded competition, in which he ran 5 wide through most of the race, and finished last.
#6 Den's Legacy(8-1) - Baffert-trainee in money 8 out of 10. Regular rider Gomez(last 6 races) ships in, opts to ride Delhomme for 1st time. Why? Also, this is colt's first trip outside of California.
#7 Will Take Charge(15-1) - Lukas charge hasn't fared well in two tries vs. Graded competition.
#8 Stormy Holiday(30-1) - Jockey Derek Bell won at first asking on this colt @ Canterbury Park. Bell is currently at Oaklawn Park. Did he bring his tack here for this colt? Colt has recorded bullet work up to this race.
#1A Title Contender(5-1) - Front-runner almost stole last race in 1st try @ Oaklawn. Possibly could either steal race, or, be rabbit for entrymate?
#9 Oxbow(4-1) - Records bullet work. Mike Smith ships in. Colt is hard-knocking. Should give good effort.
#10 Super Ninety Nine(3-2) - Romped in Southwest Stakes in slop. Is the favorite, despite breaking from outside. Raphael Bejarano ships in for return mount.
SELECTION - Bob Baffert has an incredible amount of luck racing at Oaklawn. If there is a hindrance, it might be the outside, but #10 Super Ninety Nine looks to own this race. I think #9 Oxbox could be tough, but also breaks outside. #1 Treasury Bill should like the additional distance. Play #10 5-10-20 WPS, and a $5 Exacta Box on 1-9-10. And, since he could be the stud muffin, we'll play a $3 Daily Double, 10-ALL.
May the horse be with you.