The $1 million dollar Rebel Stakes (G2), which will be run at a distance of 1 1/16 miles, is Saturday at Oaklawn Park. The race drew a field of eight 3-year-olds looking to earn 2020 Kentucky Derby qualifying points as the top four spots pay out on a 50-20-10-5 scale.
Since 2010 only one horse that has Won the Rebel Stakes has gone on to Win the Kentucky Derby. Five years ago it was AMERICAN PHAROAH who used the Rebel as a springboard to Victory in The Derby, as well as the Triple Crown.
Here then is a full-field analysis , along with Morning Line odds of the 2020 Rebel, which is slated as Race 10 on a card of 11 with a scheduled post time at 6:23.
1. NADAL [ML 5-2] Trainer: Bob Baffert. Jockey: Joel Rosario. He put together two impressive races with a January debut at Santa Anita and then a Grade 2 Victory in the San Vicente going seven furlongs. He was a heavy favorite in both of his starts and is likely to be the top betting choice again Saturday. He goes two turns for the first time, and the blinkers come off as he stretches out. He is a worthy favorite.
2. EXCESSION [ML 30-1] Steve Asmussen. Jockey: Tyler Baze. The first of three entries in the Rebel for Asmussen. This guy was no threat in two starts on the Derby trail in the Lecomte (G3) and the Risen Star (G2), both at Fair Grounds. Lifetime, he has only Maiden Win to his credit, and that victory came on a sloppy track at Churchill Downs back in November.
3. BASIN [ML 3-1] Trainer: Steve Asmussen. Jockey: Javier Castellano. He was one of the top 2-year-olds at Saratoga last summer when he broke his Maiden in his second start, beating Rebel rival THREE TECHNIQUE and followed that with a romp going seven furlongs in the Hopeful (G1) on a sloppy track.
4. SILVER PROSPECTOR [ML 7-2] Trainer: Steve Asmussen. Ricardo Santana Jr. He brings an extensive race record and the highest earnings in the field for his third straight Oaklawn start. Since breaking his Maiden in his fourth start, he has been right there at the finish in all of his races except when over the mud in the Smarty Jones. Despite that last local Win, he could go overlooked at the windows again.
5. NO PAROLE [ML 8-1] Trainer: Tom Amoss. Jockey: Joe Talamo. The unbeaten Louisiana-bred steps up to face open company for the first time after three dominant front-running Victories in state-bred races. His three Victories were by a combined 34 lengths as the odds-on favorite in each race. He will be a presence on the front end early in the race. But this is a significant class test.
6. THREE TECHNIQUE [ML 7-2] Trainer: Jeremiah Englehart. Jockey: Luis Saez. Owned by former NFL coach Bill Parcells, this colt has run 1st or 2nd in all five of his starts, always as the favorite. That includes a runner-up in the Smarty Jones back in January. His connections were waiting for this race and Arkansas Derby (G1) while working their way toward Kentucky.
7. COACH BAHE [ML 30-1] Trainer: Phillip Bauer. Jockey: Santo Sanjur. After two turf starts, he broke his Maiden in a seven-horse field on a muddy track at Fair Grounds in a race that was meant for the grass. He was a last minute addition to the field.
8. AMERICAN THEOREM [ML 6-1] Trainer: George Papaprodromou. Jockey: Tiago Pereira. His first start since October when he finished 2nd in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Stakes. He raced greenly down the stretch that day as he tried two turns for the first time. Six months later, he makes his 3-year-old debut on the Derby trail against a strong field. This is a big ask.
Summary: NADAL is squarely the one to beat, but he does bring question marks. He has Won both his starts, and hails from the very successful Bob Baffert barn… but he will be trying two turns for the first time, and got stuck on the rail in this eight horse field. So is he a solid favorite, or a vulnerable to defeat?
The Play: The Daily Racing Blog will be going Against NADAL, and use SILVER PROSPECTOR, and THREE TECHNIQUE on the top portion of our Trifectas. So we will use both the #4 and 6 on top of a Trifecta key, using the #1-3-5-8 underneath. The ticket will read: 4-6 with 1-3-4-5-6-8 with 1-3-4-5-6-8.