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Rebel with a Cause: Produce a Kentucky Derby Winner


Ninety-five (95) three-year-olds were nominated for the 54th running of the $600,000 Rebel Stakes (G2) at Oaklawn Park. Yet only eight (8) will head postward on Saturday, traveling the 1 1/16 miles over the dirt oval vying for precious 2014 Kentucky Derby points. Fifty (50) points to the winner with twenty (20) points to the runner-up, third is worth ten (10) points and five (5) points awarded to the fourth place finisher.

The facts are the winner of this race has a less than 4% chance of winning the Kentucky Derby. In 53 runnings of the Rebel, only twice has the winner gone on to win the Kentucky Derby. They are Smarty Jones (2005; 4-1 favorite) and Sunny’s Halo (1983; 5-2 2nd choice slightly behind a Lukas 3-part-entry who went off 10 cents on a dollar lower, at 2.40-1).

Therefore, unless you are one to buck trends, the 2014 winner of the Rebel Stakes might have to continue to progress forwardly so that he goes into the Derby as the favorite or 2nd choice. Sorry, that’s just how my brain works when it comes to the Kentucky Derby.

Here’s how these 3-year-olds will break from the gate for Oaklawn Park’s 10th race on Saturday’s card….

#1 - Jet Cat (20-1) J. McKee / E. Frederick

#2 - Ride on Curlin (4-1) K. Desormeaux / W. Gowan

#3 - Tapiture (9-5) R. Santana, Jr. / S. Asmussen

#4 - Strong Mandate (2-1) J. Rosario / D. W. Lukas

#5 - Hoppertunity (8-1) M. Smith / B. Baffert

#6 - Sheltowee’s Boy (15-1) J. Navarro / B. Cox

#7 - Street Strategy (12-1) C. Borel / R. Morse

#8 - Kobe’s Back (6-1) J. Lezcano / J. Sadler

HOW I SEE IT There’s enough early speed in the race to setup for one that can make a sustained late run and that one appears to be Street Strategy. Look for Borel, who opted for him v. Ride On Curlin, to revert back to his debut race ride on the son of Street Sense. Love the 6f work from Mar. 2nd as a tighter for this 8½ furlong contest.

THE PLAY: $10 WP #7 and $2 Ex Box 3-4-7


Recapping previous blog posted selections at Laurel Park from rough Saturday, March 8th, that had just 4 winners from 10 races (1 Top Selection; payoffs in BOLD) having $2 WIN pay-offs of $6.00 (4th), $6.60 (5th), $10.40 (8th) and $3.00 (9th).

The BEST BET of the Day (8: 2-2-2) Addison Run (6th race: 5-2 M/L; 9-5 PT) close up between rivals early, moved to the rail around the turn, came under a ride nearing the stretch, got through along the inside leaving the furlong grounds and steadily closed the gap, coming up a neck short, returning $3.00 to PLACE and $2.20 to SHOW.

The LONGSHOT PICK (8: 3-3-0) Kid Cruz (8th race: 6-1 M/L; 4-1 PT) broke a step slow then was content to lag well off the pace while removed from the inside, was roused sharply right handed entering the far turn, gathered momentum leaving the three eighths pole, entered the stretch five wide, altered out from behind a rival soon after, closed sharply under left handed coaxing, surged to command nearing the sixteenth pole and pulled away under mild urging late to returning $10.40 to WIN, $5.60 to PLACE and $3.80 to SHOW.

FYI – the BEST BET of the Day selection will never be a M/L favorite and the LONGSHOT PICK will simply be the runner having the highest M/L odds among my top picks for an entire card.

PLEASE NOTE: Statistics provided for the BEST BET and LONGSHOT PICK in parentheses represent the Number of Picks: Wins-Places-Shows. For example, the BEST BET (10: 1-2-3) was picked 10 times resulting in 1 winner, 2 places and 3 shows. In the past, I would reset these numbers at the start of each meet. For 2014, I reset these numbers on Jan. 1st in order to chart results on a yearly basis.

Selections for Saturday, Mar. 15th at Laurel Park posted below are based on a FAST dirt track as the forecast calls for sunny skies with temps in the mid-50’s. Selections posted were handicapped based on making multi-race wagers such as DOUBLE’s, Pick-3’s and Pick-4’s using all three (3) listed for each race in each leg.

1st race – $5,000 Claiming N3L for 4 y.o. and up – 1 mile
#4 – Irish Beau (9-2)
#4 – Freud’s Debut (8-5)
#2 – Wildhaassseee (4-1)

2nd race – $15,000 Claiming N2L for F&M 4 y.o. and up – 1 mile
#5 – I’m Smokin Hot (7-5)
#2 – Friday’s Gift (3-1)
#4 – Without Virtue (15-1)

3rd race – $5,000 Claiming N3L for 4 y.o. and up – 6 furlongs
#7 – Deployingresources (7-5)
#1 – New Technology (10-1)
#2 – Son of the Sun (6-1)

4th race – $40,000 Maiden for 3 y.o. – 5½ furlongs
#3 – Road Boss (5-1)  $$$ LONGSHOT PLAY $$$
#1 – Otokogi (8-1)
#7 – Miners Quest (3-1)

5th race – $25,000 Claiming N2L for 4 y.o. and up – 1 mile
#2 – Game Effort (2-1)
#1 – Chambers Bay (5-1)
#3 – Ski Pole (5-1)

6th race – $5,000 Starter Allowance 4 y.o. and up – 1 1/16 miles
#3 – Singing My Way (4-5)
#5 – Shamroge (5-1)
#4 – Minnie Punt (8-1)

7th race – $42,000 Allowance N1X for F&M 4 y.o. and up – 1 mile
#7 – Before You Know It (2-1)
#5 – Silver Frame (5-2)
#3 – Perique (8-1)

8th race – $50,000 Optional Claiming N1X for 3 y.o. fillies – 5½ furlongs
#4 – Jump Two (5-2)  *** BEST BET ***
#1/1A – Knit One Purr Too / No Makeup (7-5)
#7 – Princess Marcela (3-1)

9th race – $100,000 Caesars Wish Stakes for 3 y.o. fillies – 1 mile
#6 – Tupancy Links (3-1)
#1 – Brown Rice (5-1)
#4 – Steady N Love (1-1)

10th race – $5,000 Claiming N2L for F&M 4 y.o. and up – 6 furlongs
#4 – Running From Love (7-2)
#7 – Light of My Life (6-1)
#2 – Cotton Won (4-5)

Good Luck!


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                Meet Gary Quill

  I am the most passionate person on the planet when it comes to thoroughbred horse racing! One sunny summer day in 1964 at Timonium Race Track is where my Dad and mentor introduced me to “The Sport of Kings”. Since that day, I have had the pleasure to visit over 40 different tracks across North America. Though an IT professional by trade, I’ve had a part-time gig with the Maryland Jockey Club since 1988.

here are thousands of rail-birds who claim to be great handicappers. Well, I don’t claim to be the best… just the most passionate and one that won’t tout “chalk”. Like a savvy stock broker, I look for value and often find it. Unlike the talking heads on horse racing television networks and the dozens of websites featuring handicapper’s opinions, I’m ACCOUNTABLE. That is, good or bad, you’ll always know how my previously posted picks performed along with a running record of my BEST BET and LONGSHOT Play of the Day selections for Maryland tracks (Laurel and Pimlico) at TheRacingBiz, see "The GQ Approach".

   In addition to focusing on the Maryland thoroughbred racing circuit, each year I follow the Derby Trail and post “GQ’s Derby Double Dozen” in early February. 

   My personal mission is to rejuvenate interest in thoroughbred horse racing. Being able to share my energy, thoughts and opinions on this sport via HRN will certainly help the cause.


"I lost $2 at Santa Anita and I've spent $3 million trying to get it back." - Mickey Rooney

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