Rebel Stakes: Odds, analysis for Improbable's division

Saturday's Rebel Stakes (G2), the first Kentucky Derby prep race to be split into two divisions since the qualifying points system was adopted in 2013, will run separate flights with a number of West Coast runners in light of a temporary halt to racing at Santa Anita Park.

The mile and a sixteenth features carry purses of $750,000. Derby qualifying points will pay out to the Top 4 finishers on a 37.5 - 15 - 7.5 - 3.75 scale.

RELATED: Free Rebel Stakes past performances

This first division of the Rebel is carded as Race 8 out of 11 with post time scheduled for 5:57 pm ET. Here is a look at the field of nine with projected morning line odds by Horse Racing Nation.
 

Extra Hope [ML 12-1 – Shanghai Bobby– R. Mandella/M. Smith – 7: 2-1-2 - $128,400 – 2 Derby points] This homebred for owner Samantha Siegel ran third behind Improbable and Mucho Gusto in the Los Alamitos Futurity (G1) back in December. In his lone start this year, he romped in an allowance at Santa Anita on a sloppy track going a flat mile. Previously, he had been a horse that ran from off the pace. Use underneath.
 

Long Range Toddy [ML 4-1 – Take Charge Indy – S. Asmussen/J. Court – 6: 3-1-1 - $401,125 – 16 Derby points] This son of Take Charge Indy has experience on the Kentucky Derby trail with 18 Derby points earned in three consecutive starts in the Midwest. He won the Springboard Mile and then was a bit unlucky in his next two starts for trainer Steve Asmussen. Often, he's competitive down the stretch after stalking the early pace. Trifecta likely.
 

Corruze [ML 50-1 – Into Mischief – C. Hartman/S. Elliot – 4: 2-0-0 - $66,356 – 0 Derby points] Relocated to Oaklawn Park for a series of recent works, this one raced on the turf in his last two starts at Fair Grounds. He has either won or missed the board in his brief career, with both victories sprints. Toss.
 

Easy Shot [ML 15-1 – Trappe Shot – K. Desormeaux/R. Eramia – 6: 1-1-1 - $55,800 – 2 Derby points] Two tries on the Derby trail yielded third-place finishes, first behind Gunmetal Gray in the Sham (G3) and then again behind Mucho Gusto in the Robert B. Lewis (G3) at Santa Anita. He gets a bit of an excuse with some trouble in both races. His lone victory came in a maiden claiming race at Del Mar. Use underneath.

Proud Nation [ML 30-1 – Tapit – J. Sharp/D. Cabrera – 3: 0-1-0 - $15,616 – 0 Derby points] This Joe Sharp runner is a homebred campaigned by Gary and Mary West, who also have Game Winner in the other Rebel flight. Still a maiden, Proud Nation finished second in his first two starts as a 2-year-old but ran a distant ninth in his 2019 debut in February over this course. Toss.

Ninth Street [ML 30-1 – Street Boss – S. Asmussen/R. Santana Jr. – 8: 2-2-1 - $82,253 – 0 Derby points] Experience is foremost for this Asmussen runner with eight career starts. He has a first and a second in stakes races at Delta Downs, but he faded badly in the stretch when he stepped up to the Derby trail in the Southwest Stakes (G3). Toss.
 

Classy John [ML 20-1 – Songandaprayer – D. Stewart/D. Cohen – 5: 3-2-0 - $191,650 – 0 Derby points] While competing in state-bred stakes races at Fair Grounds and Delta Downs, he put together two wins and a second. Trainer Dallas Stewart has been known to get some longshot results in big races. Classy John was an odds-on favorite in his last three starts, but that isn’t going to be the case in this company. Live longshot.

Galilean [ML 2-1 – Uncle Mo – J. Hollendorfer/F. Prat – 4: 3-1-0 - $261,000 – 0 Derby points] It’s time for Galilean to step out of state-bred competition in California, where he followed a path similar the one that California Chrome took on his road to a Kentucky Derby victory. Impressive open-length victories in his last two starts make the son of Uncle Mo the likely second choice behind Improbable. There is very little early speed in this division, and jockey Flavien Prat should be able to get the early lead if that is what Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer wants. Win contender.
 

Improbable [ML 6-5 – City Zip – B. Baffert/D. Van Dyke – 3: 3-0-0 - $269,520 – 10 Derby points] Perfect in three starts as a 2-year-old, the Bob Baffert runner makes his 2019 debut just 49 days from the Run for the Roses. He sat a perfect stalking trip in those previous starts, which included a victory over a couple good horses in Mucho Gusto and Extra Hope. The smooth-striding son of City Zip was a $200,000 yearling purchase, and that now looks like a bargain. He comes into this race with four six-furlong works followed by a couple at 5/8 of a mile. Top choice.

Summary
: With only seven weeks until the Kentucky Derby, there is little margin for error for the top contenders to gather the required qualifying points, especially considering those were reduced 25 percent with the Rebel splitting. Fortunately for some, the split race also diluted the competition.

This flight looks like a race in which the top three contenders - Improbable, Galilean, and Long Range Toddy – prefer to race on or near the lead. Likely, the three of them will be forwardly placed and near each other throughout the earlier going, set to battle it down the stretch.

 

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