The Road to the Kentucky Derby is up and running, and the stakes only get bigger over the next few weeks.
This Saturday, Oaklawn Park plays host to perhaps the most important prep race to date, when a field of eleven 3-year-olds will square off in the $1 million dollar, Grade 2 Rebel Stakes.
The race is contested at a distance of 1 1/16 miles (8.5 furlongs) on the Oaklawn Park dirt main track.
It is the second of three legs in Oaklawn’s 3-year-old Stakes program, the first being the Grade 3 Southwest Stakes, Won by NEWGRANGE on January 29th and the third is the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby to be held April 2nd.
The Winner of the Rebel will receive 50 Derby qualifying points, the runner-up 25, the 3rd-place finisher 10, and the 4th-place finisher 5 points.
In recent years, the Rebel has become a springboard to Triple Crown success.
Two Rebel Stakes Winners have gone on to Derby glory: In 2004, the Rebel was Won by the popular SMARTY JONES, who then went on to Win the Arkansas Derby, Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes. He came up short in his bid for the Triple Crown finishing 2nd in the Belmont Stakes.
In 2015 the Rebel was Won by AMERICAN PHAROAH, the 2014 Champion 2-year-old who went on to Win the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes to become the first Triple Crown Winner in 37 years.
Other Winners of the Rebel that have gone on Win a Triple Crown race include PINE BLUFF (Preakness 1992), VICTORY GALLOP (Belmont Stakes 1998), CURLIN (Preakness 2007), and LOOKIN AT LUCKY (Preakness 2010).
On Friday the Daily Racing Blog will take a look at the field for this year’s edition of the Rebel Stakes. So stop back and see who we like.