Kentucky Derby 2019 Daily: O'Neill to 'roll the dice' in Rebel Stakes

March 16, 2019 06:41pm

Welcome to Horse Racing Nation’s Kentucky Derby Daily, which will each day leading up to the May 4 race at Churchill Downs detail all the news and notes related to contenders in one convenient space.

Two years after the late Irap won his first career race in the Blue Grass Stakes to qualify for the Kentucky Derby, the connections of trainer Doug O’Neill and owner Reddam Racing are trying another maiden in a big spot on the trail

Irap had made seven starts at various levels, including a Grade 1 stakes, before his breakthrough at Keeneland. Parsimony, who has shipped from California for Saturday’s Grade 2, $750,000 Rebel Stakes, has also run seven races, all in maiden special weight company.

“We know he’s going to be an outsider,” O’Neill told Oaklawn Park’s publicity staff, “but we’re excited to see how it goes.”


Paul and Zilla Reddam purchased Parsimony, a Pennsylvania-bred son of Dominus, for $400,000 this time last year at the OBS March sale for 2-year-olds.

“It’s one of those situations that he felt and acted like a special colt,” O’Neill said. “Obviously, Paul and Zillah wrote a serious check when we bought him because we thought he was this kind of horse.”

Now, he’ll get a serious chance, with the 37.5 points awarded to winners of both the Rebel’s split divisions likely enough to qualify a horse for the Derby. Parsimony, who will be ridden by the familiar Mario Gutierrez, drew post 3 in the flight headlined by champion 2-year-old Game Winner.

This will hardly mark the first time Parsimony has lined up against top-class runners.

In four of his races, including his last two, Parsimony finished second at Santa Anita Park. Among those who show up in his past performances: Stubbins, a stablemate who won the off-the-turf Pasadena Stakes; Rebel rival Gunmetal Gray; Santa Anita Derby-bound Roadster; and Sparky Ville, a recent Grade 2 winner of the San Vicente Stakes.


O’Neill was considering Santa Anita Park’s San Felipe Stakes (G2) before the track canceled that race amidst a temporary shutdown to training and racing.

“The split helped us here because we wouldn’t have got in, obviously, if they didn’t split,” the trainer said. “We thought long and hard about the expense of getting him there. He worked tremendous the other day at San Luis Rey Downs, and we thought we would roll the dice.”

The connections of Reddam Racing, O’Neill and Gutierrez have twice won the Kentucky Derby, in 2012 with I’ll Have Another and 2016 with Nyquist.

Rebel details

Given the split divisions, the Rebel Stakes offered a unique situation for a Derby prep given we’ve had to wait until Wednesday’s draw to handicap. Here’s a start:

 Division 1 Rebel Stakes odds and analysis

 Head to Head handicapping the field

 Analysis: Laughing Fox has an upset chance

Derby links

 Hoffa’s Union is officially a new name to know. Trainer Mark Casse said Thursday he’s pointing the colt to the Florida Derby (G1) off a 15 1/2-length debut win going two turns.

 The Daily Racing Form’s Jay Privman reports on a flub by Oaklawn Park in drawing for the Rebel Stakes, with four of Steve Asmussen’s six runners inadvertently placed in the same division. 

 Mihos, winner of the Mucho Macho Man Stakes, will not continue on the Derby trail. Centennial Farms’ Don Little Jr. spoke with us about what could be next. 

 In a new edition of the HorseCenter video show, hosts Brian Zipse and Matt Shifman run down their respective Kentucky Derby Top 10 lists. Warning: There’s much disagreement.

In case you missed it…

Wednesday’s Derby Daily report highlighted a shrewd move by Starlight Racing to invest in Rebel Stakes favorite Improbable at the right time.


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Horse Racing Nation's Kentucky Derby daily blog counts down to the May 4, 2019, race at Churchill Downs with a once-a-day update on all things Derby. Get the latest news and chatter, workout reports and a look at fields for upcoming preps all in once place.

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