The road to the Kentucky Derby winds through Arkansas this Saturday as a competitive group of 3-year-olds line up for a lucrative edition of the Rebel Stakes, at Oaklawn Park.
So read on for nine facts about the race, some helpful, others just interesting.
1. The Rebel was first contested in 1961, making this year the 60th edition.
2. In the last 11 contests, the Winner has gone off at odds greater than 4-1 just three times. WILL TAKE CHARGE (2013) was the biggest price to Win in that time frame at odds of 28-1.
3. This year’s Rebel features a purse of $1 million dollars, equal to that of the April 11th Arkansas Derby for which the Rebel (for most entrants) is a prep race. The Rebel Winner will take home 60% of that purse, amounting to a $600,000 top prize.
4. Eventual Triple Crown Winner AMERICAN PHAROAH launched his 3-year-old season in the 2015 Rebel, Winning by an impressive 6 ¼ lengths.
5. The betting favorite has finished in the top two, eight times since 2010, but only half of those were Wins.
6. Last year’s race was the first edition of the Rebel Stakes to have two Winners. It was split into two races due to a surplus of entries, with OMAHA BEACH and LONG RANGE TODDY each Winning their respective division.
7. Three Rebel runners have gone on to Win the Kentucky Derby, and all three Won both races: AMERICAN PHAROAH, SMARTY JONES (2004), and SUNNY’S HALO (1983).
8. Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert has a record six Wins in the race, most recently with CUPID in 2016. He has trained nine of the last 11 betting favorites. This year he brings Morning Line favorite NADAL to the race.
9. The Rebel Stakes offers 85 Kentucky Derby qualifying points for the top four finishers, including 50 for the Winner. A 50-point total has been more than enough to secure a spot in the Run For The Roses each year since 2013.
On Friday the Daily Racing Blog will take a close look at the field for this event, and hopefully find some Value that will prompt a Rebel yell down the home stretch. So stop back to see what we come up with.