The Rebel - Got Speed?

March 17, 2011 07:08pm

The 2011 Rebel Stakes is shaping up to be the most contentious Kentucky Derby prep field to date.  You can make an argument for as many as six or seven in here for the win spot.  In terms of quality, it rates right up there with HRN’s top-rated San Felipe and Risen Star stakes preps.


In favor of The Factor is the general lack of horses with a decided early distribution of energy.  It is clear that D Wayne Lukas’s Saratoga Red will be sent to challenge The Factor directly to his outside.  An absolute key to the outcome of this race is just how much The Factor will be harassed early on.  Though he’s not the ratable type, if left on a lone, controlling lead, he’s a clear win contender despite his running a route for the first time in the Rebel.


Sway Away, the fast closing runner-up to The Factor in the San Vincente, also tries a route of ground for the first time. He’s bred to go long but I can’t help but think that he’ll do his best running sprinting or going one-turn miles.   This will be a great test for this lightly raced sprint closer.


If you watch the replay of the Southwest Stakes, you could make the case that J.P.’s Gusto was clearly the best.  Coming into the stretch, he had to wait behind a wall of horses and then, once free, steady along the rail as the winner drifted in a bit.  While very competitive among these and at this distance, I still have big questions about J.P.s Gusto ability to get the classic distances.


This one has the feel of a chaos race in which unlikely sorts step up.  Celeb’s Posse and Bluegrass Jam strike me as bomber types that could have the fans tearing up a lot of tickets.


Let’s breakdown the Rebel and assign our exclusive HRN Super Screener Quality Rating:


Oaklawn Park – G2 Rebel Stakes 1 1/16 Miles Dirt

Field Size = 13

Number of Graded Stakes Winners: 3

Number of Graded Stakes Placed: 6

BRIS Pace Par:  First Call = 94; Second Call = 104

Projected Pace:  First Call = 96; Second Call = 103

Energy Distribution Profile of Field: Stacked toward off-the-pace and closer types

Morning Line Favorite:  J.P.’s Gusto (CURRENT HRN RANKING: #18)

Shutty’s Top Three Picks: J.P.’s Gusto, The Factor, Alternation

Hit-the-Board Bomber Pick:  Celeb’s Posse


Notes: Top finishers of the San Vincente and Southwest Stakes face off in a deep, tough-to-separate field.  The Factor owns the pace.  Can he rate and get the distance?  Will we see the devastating late turn of foot from Sway Away or does he flatten out as he tries a route for the first time?



Come back to this blog Tuesday and we’ll take a look at this prep to see if trips, biases and pace/speed rating outcomes will alter our HRN SUPER SCREENER QUALITY RATING.


Go now to HRN's 2011 Kentucky Derby Contenders Power Rankings to see how the fans are rating contenders and cast your own votes!  Kentucky Derby 2011 Contenders.


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Older Comments about The Rebel - Got Speed?...

Alternation/Sway Away/J.Ps Gusto/Arch3 . Lukas and Baffert jets malfunction after 3/4mi. Arch3 comes out a star with win while carring 5-7lbs more, or Quinonez brothers end up aboard TOP 2 contenders this side of Oaklawn?!?! Go Alternation/Pre Peg!
The Factor will fizzle if someone hooks him, if you let him go uncontested they could all be in trouble.

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About Me

Mike has been a passionate horseracing fan for over 30 years. He received his “handicapping education” through countless hours of deciphering the mystery that is embedded in every race. It was the tough beats at the window, however, that propelled him to never make the same mistake twice (well, maybe three times).

As Managing Partner of Horse Racing Nation, Mike serves as investor, business advisor, staff handicapper and developer of handicapping content.

Handicapping the Derby has always been one of Mike's favorite endeavors.  He spends weeks compiling notes, speed figures and analysis in preparation for the big race.  In 2010, his HRN pals pushed him into packaging his time-tested methods into what became the 2010 Kentucky Derby Super Screener, an e-book that became extremely popular with HRN readers and was downloaded over 3,000 times.   

In preparation for the 2011 Derby, Mike will be "Rating the Preps" each weekend on the Derby trail.  The goal will be to build a good picture for which prep races are most likely to produce the 2011 Kentucky Derby winner.   

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