Rebel Stakes: Odds, analysis for Game Winner's division

A number of West Coast shippers have added significance to Saturday’s Rebel Stakes (G2) with the race splitting into multiple divisions to accommodate horsemen needing a race in light of a temporary cancellation of racing at Santa Anita Park.

Champion Game Winner heads up the second division of the 1 1/16-mile Rebel, which runs as Race 10 of 11. Both flights will award $750,000 purses and Kentucky Derby 2019 qualifying points on a 37.5-15-7.5-3.75 scale to the Top 4 finishers.

RELATED: Free Rebel Stakes past performances

With post time set for 7:06 p.m. ET, here's a look at the 10-horse field with projected morning line odds by Horse Racing Nation:

1. 
Market King, 30-1 (Into Mischief – D. Wayne Lukas/John Velazquez – 6:1-1-1 – $70,785): Market King broke his maiden fifth out on Feb. 9 over this course and at the Rebel distance. Though he debuted in June, the colt's first promising start came in November when he ran second at Churchill Downs. Market King raced mid-pack throughout in his next race before earning his first win. He has mostly come off the pace so far and he tried to lead last out on Feb. 24 when third, beaten a length sprinting in allowance optional claiming company. Toss.

2. 
Laughing Fox, 15-1 (Union Rags – Steve Asmussen/Ricardo Santana Jr. – 4:2-0-0 – $105,518): With some racing experience, Laughing Fox broke his maiden at third asking Jan. 25 at Oaklawn.  He settled in fourth before running down the pacesetter by a neck at 1 1/16 miles. His second start at that distance was even more eye-catching. In a Feb. 18 optional claiming race, Laughing Fox hopped and was impeded at the start, settled near the back and still rallied to victory. He’s an improving colt that should be closer in the Rebel. Note that Santana Jr. chose this one over the rest of the Asmussen crew. Use underneath.

3. 
Parsimony, 30-1 (Dominus – Doug O’Neill/Mario Gutierrez – 7:0-4-0 – $53,700): Parsimony has gone up against some big West Coast names, running in the same maiden special weight in which Sparky Ville, Roadster and Gunmetal Gray all broke their maidens. He faces an even tougher challenge here, still as a maiden himself, but did show signs of improvement in his last two. On Feb. 2, Parsimony ran 6 ½ furlongs over Santa Anita’s dirt and failed to catch the pace. He was back on turf Feb. 16, dueled for the lead in a 1 1/8-mile race, and was passed by a late runner. Toss.

4. 
Jersey Agenda, 12-1 (Jersey Town – Steve Asmussen/Jose Ortiz – 4:2-1-0 – $120,067): Jersey Agenda gets a chance at redemption here following Oaklawn's last Derby prep, the Southwest Stakes (G3). Though he was a game second on debut at Kentucky Downs, he took to dirt next out and led every step of a 6 ½-furlong maiden special weight Nov. 24 at Churchill Downs. He drew away by four over the sloppy track that afternoon. Jersey Agenda stretched out to a mile on Jan. 26 in allowance optional claiming company at Oaklawn, went to the lead while dueling with Jack Van Berg, was passed near the quarter pole and fought back for a 2 ¾-length victory. His one bad effort came in the Feb. 18 Southwest when he again took the lead but was steadied in the first turn and faded to eighth. Board hitter.

5. 
Game Winner, 6-5 (Candy Ride – Bob Baffert/Joel Rosario – 4:4-0-0 – $1,496,000): The undefeated juvenile champion is clearly the one to beat. To their advantage, Game Winner has been away since winning the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile on Nov. 2., but he tuned up with a quick five-furlong work last Sunday at Los Alamitos. He’ll be a threat from a comfortable spot off the pace. Others from the Juvenile, namely Knicks Go and Signalman, have faltered in recent weeks. Will Game Winner restore order Saturday? The top choice.

6. 
Omaha Beach, 6-1 (War Front – Richard Mandella/Mike Smith – 5:1-3-1 – $71,800): Omaha Beach has never missed board and showed potential in his first three starts on turf. He switched to dirt fourth time out before breaking his maiden Feb. 2 by an impressive nine lengths going seven furlongs over Santa Anita’s main track -- that day sloppy and sealed. Omaha Beach also turned in an impressive final work at Los Alamitos, timed in 1:10.60 for six furlongs last Saturday. With an off-the-pace style of running, Omaha Beach could find himself close to Game Winner early. Smith picked up the mount while Flavien Prat, who has been aboard every start, took the assignment on Gunmetal Gray. Win contender.

7. 
Our Braintrust, 8-1 (Freud – Mark Casse/David Cohen – 5:2-2-1 – $196,640): Our Braintrust is another entry who likes to sit off the pace. The Rebel will mark his second start with Casse since privately purchased by Gary Barber. The Maryland-bred won his first two starts, including Belmont Park’s Tremont Stakes back in June. Since then, he has finished second to front-running Alwaysmining in the Dec. 8 Maryland Juvenile Futurity off the layoff, then ran second to Mind Control, also on the lead, in the Jan. 1 Jerome. He was third, beaten only a neck in a highly rated edition of the Withers (G3) when going two turns for the first time on Feb. 2. Simply, Our Braintrust has been able to hang with some tough horses. Live longshot.

8. 
Gunmetal Gray, 4-1 (Exchange Rate – Jerry Hollendorfer/Flavien Prat – 6:2-2-0 – $247,200): Gunmetal Gray, after rallying to win the Sham (G3) on Jan. 5 and then a closing second on the slop in the Feb. 2 Robert B. Lewis (G3), should face a stiffer test here. Gunmetal Gray was said to have grabbed a quarter in his last race and returns for a third matchup with Game Winner following finishes behind the champ in the American Pharoah (G1) and Breeders' Cup. Board hitter.

9. 
Kaziranga, 30-1 (Candy Ride – Steve Asmussen/Richard Eramia – 6:1-1-0 – $32,067): In his two on-the-board finishes at Remington Park, Kaziranga got involved early. He pressed the pace when breaking his maiden at a mile on Oct. 31 and came off the pace for second in optional claiming company on Nov. 23. He settled far back again in Remington's Springboard Mile on Dec. 16 and finished eighth. Last time, Kaziranga didn't factor for the win while running in the same event as Asmussen stablemate Laughing Fox. Toss.

10. 
Captain Von Trapp, 15-1 (Trappe Shot – Steve Asmussen/Ramon Vasquez – 5:2-2-0 – $126,480): After two runner-up efforts, and a mild rally after being bumped hard at the break, Captain Von Trapp earned his diploma on Feb. 8 at Oaklawn going six furlongs. He passed Monomoy Girl’s brother, Cowboy Diplomacy, in the stretch to do it. The colt stretched out to a mile facing winners on March 2 and showed a new dimension by sitting off the pace, dueling for the win. He takes a big step up here wheeling back quickly, but seems to be heading in the right direction for solid connections. Live longshot.

Summary
: Game Winner looms large here, and Baffert is known to have his big horses ready off the layoff. If the champion is anywhere close to his best, he looks to make a big season debut. Of the ones stepping up into stakes company, Omaha Beach looks poised for the test. Meanwhile, Asmussen will look to hold down one of his bases. With a cleaner trip, Jersey Agenda has the advantage of being the only horse that really wants the lead here and should be able to dictate up front.

 

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