When Santa Anita Park temporarily closed down for racing and training last week it left some horsemen in a bit of a bind. It is getting late in the Kentucky Derby Prep-Race season and there were some KD contenders who didn’t get to run last week when the San Felipe Stakes (G2) was cancelled.
Oaklawn Park didn’t feel that was right, so they stepped up and opened this Saturday’s Rebel Stakes (G2) to any of the horses who were entered in the San Felipe last week. The addition of a new batch of runners made the original field too large, so Saturdays race has been split into two divisions. This is an unprecedented move in the age of The Derby point system.
The Rebel originally carried a $1 million purse and awarded Derby qualifying points on a 50-20-10-5 scale. Oaklawn added another $500,000 of prize money, so now the flights will run with separate $750,000 purses, and the races will award 75% of the original points, on a 37.5, 15, 7.5 and 3.75 scale to the Top 4 finishers.
Horses with common connections were split — that means unbeaten Bob Baffert-trained 3-year-olds GAME WINNER and IMPROBABLE will not race against one another. The remainder of the entrants were sorted randomly into a flight. Here then a brief look at the line-ups.
On Friday the Daily Racing Blog will take a closer look at both these Divisions, and try (as we always do) to find some Value in this unique KD Prep-Race. So be sure to stop back.