Kentucky Derby 2015 - Rebel Stakes

March 15, 2015 11:01am

In 2004 through 2007, colts who won the Rebel also hit the board in the Kentucky Derby. However, overall, the Oaklawn prep is more indicative of Preakness and Belmont Stakes success.  Since 2004, six horses that ran in the Rebel won or placed in Maryland and New York. Ashley Tamulonis of From Coast to Coast and I have differing opinions on the Rebel.




THE TRUTH OR ELSE  (Yes It's True - Lakenheath, by Colonial Affair) made a huge move from last place in the Southwest Stakes. He took the long way ‘round and hung slightly in the stretch.  It was a strong effort for his first start of the season and should set him up for a nice run in the Rebel.  The Truth Or Else is a half brother to multiple stakes placed Fighter Wing. Their dam won the G-3 Silverbulletday, Arlington Matron and Truly Bound Handicaps. She’s the most accomplished runner in two generations of this distaff line.  The Truth or Else had a nice pre-race breeze.  Contender.


The Truth Or Else—Seriously improved over the winter. He was a distant 3rd in both the G1 Champagne and the G2 Nashua, granted those show placings came at the hooves of some serious buzzsaws. A distant 6th in the Remsen ended his debut season, but he evidently learned a few things during his break. A strong second indeed, Laurie! Perhaps if he hadn’t taken the scenic route that 2nd by ¾-length might have been a win. He doesn’t seem to mind “off going,” which is great at this time of year when Mother Nature can be so unpredictable. Contender.

MADEFROMLUCKY (Lookin At Lucky - Home From Oz, by Pulpit) captured his maiden win in December after stretching to two turns. An interest was sold in the colt and he transferred to the barn of Todd Pletcher. The son of Lookin at Lucky will attempt to emulate his sire in the Rebel while cutting back in distance.  Madefromlucky is a half-brother to Japanese stakes placed A Shin Gold, who placed in the Japan Dirt Derby. Madefromlucky’s dam is a full sister to the leading sire Tapit.  Contender. 


Madefromlucky—The way I see it, Madefromlucky either liked the stretch out to two turns or really liked Gulfstream. Seeing as how both happened at the same time, it could go either way. I’m inclined to believe it was the distance that did the trick. I really like this colt’s pedigree, and in Todd Pletcher’s barn, he becomes a legit threat. Contender.

TIZWONDERFULCREEK  (Tiz Wonderful - Ginger Creek, by Allied Forces) failed to hit the board against allowance types in his two-turn debut. The colt has a pedigree better suited to the lawn and his sole victory was on turf. His dam was a claiming level sprinter/miler over dirt and turf.  She’s a half-sister to multiple G-1 winning turf router Take the Points. Damsire Allied Forces was also a graded stakes winner over the lawn.  Pass.


Tizwonderfulcreek—Laurie, I have to agree with you here. Tizwonderfulcreek does seem better suited for the turf, and I can’t make heads nor tails of why he has been entered in this spot with little to indicate that he’ll be competitive against this group. Pass.

AMERICAN PHARAOH (Pioneerof the Nile - Littleprincessemma, by Yankee Gentleman) is the speed and class of the race.  He had to go to plan “B” after a foot bruise last year. Bob Baffert has won four of the last five Rebel Stakes and looks primed to add another Rebel Stakes win to his resume.  Contender.

Read his pedigree profile.

American Pharaoh—On paper, American Pharaoh is certainly the one to beat. We were all hoping for a battle of the 2-YO Champions, but alas, that fell through thanks to a knee chip. Off since September with a pesky injury of his own, now is the time to try to beat the heavy favorite. I agree, Laurie, that by all rights, this is Pharaoh and Baffert’s race to lose, but if he isn’t quite sharp enough, there will be a contingent waiting in the wings to pounce. Contender.

BOLD CONQUEST (Curlin - One for Jim, by Distorted Humor)   raced along the inside over a sloppy track in the Southwest Stakes.  He made a mild move to pass tiring horses late to finish fourth.  Bold Conquest’s sire Curlin has already sired a Classic winner when his son Palace Malice won the Belmont Stakes.  Bold Conquest’s dam One for Jim is a multiple stakes miler. His second dam by Belmont hero A. P. Indy is an unraced half sister to Cigar Mile hero Jersey Town.  Bold Conquest’s third dam Jersey Girl won the Test, Acorn and Mother Goose Stakes, all Grade 1 events.  Bold Conquest has a classic pedigree and should improve with maturity and distance.  Bold Conquest had a string of pre-race breezes and he should improve over in his second start off of a long layoff, if he can stay closer to the pace. Contender.


Bold Conquest—I think the Southwest was a better effort from Bold Conquest than what it initially looked. Just like The Truth Or Else, he was far back in the early stages of the game; but where The Truth Or Else made an aggressive middle move and slightly hung, Bold Conquest did not get moving soon enough. I believe he will do better with longer distances, too, but I also think he will be sharper in the Rebel than he was in the Southwest. Ricardo Santana, Jr. stays aboard for trainer Steven Asmussen, and those two are a powerful force at Oaklawn. Contender.

PAID ADMISSION (Candy Ride (ARG) - Seal of Approval, by Vindication) was a distant second, beaten by over four lengths against optional claimers in his previous start. The colt has a miler pedigree and a classy female family.  His unraced dam is a half-sister to the G-3 winning turf miler Gulch Approval and stakes winners Approval Rating and Rusty Slipper. Another half-sister bore Wood Memorial hero Wicked Strong. Paid Admission appears to be a cut below these. Pass.


Paid Admission—Faced a similar group in the Smarty Jones and could do no better than 7th. With the addition of champion American Pharoah to the fray, his task just became a lot tougher than the one he faced back in January. A distant 2nd to Hillbilly Royalty, who in turn finished 5th in the Southwest, in his last outing did nothing to improve his standing against this field. Pass.

SAKIMA (Curlin - Queen of Kills, by Unbridled's Song) won his maiden in his second to last race via DQ. He followed up with a one-paced fourth place finish against optional claimers next time out. So far, he isn’t living up to potential. His sire won the Rebel Stakes and his dam is a half-sister to G-1 winning turf miler Mr. Sidney.  Second dam Tomisue’s Delight won the Ruffian and Personal Ensign Handicaps and she’s a half-sister to HOY and sire Mineshaft. Sakima may be slowly improving, but slow is the key word here.  Pass.


Sakima—As a son of Curlin, I really want to like Sakima, but there is just nothing to recommend him to me. I don’t like his breeze pattern. I don’t like his race efforts. And I don’t like his chances here. He has a lovely pedigree, but genetics will only take you so far. Pass.



Laurie: Who can run with American Pharoah?  Maybe Madefromlucky, but if he does, the son of Lookin at Lucky likely won’t be around to brag about it at the finish.  The Rebel Stakes sets up as a Chalk Eating Weasel specialty. 

Ashley: I’m taking a stand against the chalk fest here. If anyone is going to beat American Pharaoh, it will be in this race. I think Madefromlucky will force American Pharaoh’s hand and set things up for Bold Conquest and The Truth Or Else’s late runs.


Laurie:                                              Ashley:

#4  American Pharaoh                    #1 The Truth Or Else

#2  Madefromlucky                         #5 Bold Conquest

#1  The Truth or Else                      #4 American Pharaoh

#5  Bold Conquest                          #2 Madefromlucky



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Through hands-on work at barns, I learned valuable lessons about Thoroughbred conformation, gait, and temperament and later worked withThoroughbred rescue/re-train organizations. I have committed my passion for horses to the intensive study of pedigree and breeding theory for the last 20 years. 

I support clients with all aspects of pedigree/breeding analysis, research, sales, catalogue review, and recommendations on claims or private sales. Clients include national leading owners, racing/breeding syndicates, the little guy with one mare, and everyone in between. 10-20% of all proceeds are donated to Thoroughbred rescue & retraining groups. Check out my website, Iron Maidens Thoroughbreds, and the IMTBreds blog.

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