The Grade 2, $1 million dollar Rebel Stakes is the third stop on the Oaklawn Park road to the 2022 Kentucky Derby.
A field of 11 will race 1 1/16 miles, and the top four finishers (if eligible) will earn a share of 50-20-10-5 Derby qualifying points
Here is a closer look this year’s contest. It is listed as race 11 on a card of 12 with a scheduled Post Time of 6:55.
1. KAVOD [ML 12-1] Trainer: Chris Hartman. Jockey: Francisco Arrieta. Most experience in this field with 11 starts, nine as a 2-year-old and two this year. He was a very early debut Winner in April at Belmont Park and finished 2nd in the Tremont in his next race. After four unsuccessful starts in Graded Stakes, KAVOD Won a $50,000 Claiming race at Churchill Downs in November and was taken by Hartman. Next out he Won the Advent at Oaklawn– a six-furlong Stakes for his new trainer. In two starts this year on the Kentucky Derby trail, he was 4th in the Smarty Jones and the Southwest (G3) after being part of the early pace in both.
2. NEWGRANGE [ML 9-5] Trainer: Bob Baffert. Jockey: John Velazquez. He brings a 3-for-3 record to the Rebel as Baffert goes after another Rebel Victory. After a debut Maiden score at Del Mar in November, NEWGRANGE Won a pair of Kentucky Derby preps, even though Baffert is currently banned from racing at Churchill Downs. He would have had 20 Derby points from his Victories in the Sham (G3) at Santa Anita and the Southwest at Oaklawn. In the Southwest he sat a stalking trip to beat several other 3-year-olds who are also in the Rebel.
3. CAIRAMA [ML 15-1] Trainer: Steve Asmussen. Jockey: Geovanni Franco. Won his first career start in September at Belmont with a front-end sprinting effort. From there he was 5th in the Nashua (G3), 3rd in the Advent and 6th in the Smarty Jones. Aside from his first race, CAIRAMA has broken from the gate poorly, doing so here will leave him too much ground to make up against a quality field.
4. UN OJO [ML 12-1] Trainer: Ricky Courville. Jockey: Ramon Vasquez. This New York-bred began his career at Keeneland in October but moved to Delta Downs to break his Maiden and then was 4th in a Stakes race. He came north to run second in a lucrative New York Stallion Series race, beaten by only a neck going seven furlongs. Then in the nine-furlong Withers (G3) he rallied from last to get 2nd behind the talented EARLY VOTING.
5. TEXAS RED HOT [ML 12-1] Trainer: Randy Morse. Jockey: Ricardo Santana Jr. Was 2nd in his debut at Churchill in June and then got his Maiden breaker at Ellis Park the following month. He was 4th in the Ellis Park Juvenile. He Won an Allowance with a late rally going a mile at Churchill but was never a factor in the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2). The Rebel is a tough spot for TEXAS RED HOT to make his first start of the year.
6. STELLAR TAP [ML 10-1] Trainer: Steve Asmussen. Jockey: Cristian Torres. He romped by more than five lengths in a seven-furlong Maiden special weight at Saratoga. He stretched out to two turns in the Iroquois (G3) at Churchill, finishing 5th, and then the Breeders Futurity (G1) at Keeneland, where he pressed the pace and then faded out of contention. STELLAR TAP was 3rd in a Fair Grounds Allowance in his first start of 2022. Are better results in a Graded Stakes in his future?
7. BEN DIESEL [ML 6-1] Trainer: Dallas Stewart. Jockey: Jon Court. Continues on the Kentucky Derby trail with his third start in the Oaklawn Park prep races. Most recently, he was 3rd in the Southwest (G3), which was a big improvement over his 7th in the Smarty Jones. He was well bet in those two races but is likely to come with higher odds in the Rebel.
8. CHASING TIME [ML 8-1] Trainer: Steve Asmussen. Jockey: Tyler Gaffalione. Of the three horses entered in the Rebel from the Asmussen barn, this guy looks like the top contender. It took him three starts to figure things out as he broke his Maiden at Churchill in November with a closing move going seven furlongs. CHASING TIME was a heavily bet favorite in all five starts, including a pair of Allowance races in his two most recent races. His last out he Won by nearly eight lengths going a mile at Oaklawn after pressing the pace.
9. BARBER ROAD [ML 9-2] Trainer: John Ortiz. Jockey: Reylu Gutierrez. He has piled up three 2nd-place finishes in a row, with the two most recent coming in Derby preps at Oaklawn Park. He earned eight qualifying points this year when he raced from off the pace in the Smarty Jones and then the Southwest (G3). BARBER ROAD will face several horses from those races again in the Rebel.
10. ETHERAL ROAD [ML 12-1] Trainer: D. Wayne Lukas. Jockey: Luis Contreras. The 86 year-old Hall of Fame trainer is back, looking for his third Victory in the Rebel having Won most recently in 2013 with WILL TAKE CHARGE. This colt broke his Maiden at Oaklawn last month in his fourth career start with a last-to-first rally at odds of 19-1. ETHERAL ROAD has a tendency to break slowly from the gate, which will not help his chances in this Grade 2.
11. DASH ATTACK [ML 8-1] Trainer: Kenny McPeek. Jockey: David Cohen. Began his career with a pair of Victories at Oaklawn. In December it was a Maiden score going a mile, and then the following month he Won the Smarty Jones on a sloppy track when he blew by the field with a late rally to prevail by two lengths. Was brought him back in four weeks in the Southwest, where he raced on a dry and fast track for the first time and finished 5th. His connections might be hoping that it rains at Oaklawn on Saturday.
SUMMARY: #2 NEWGRANGE is the likely Winner of the Rebel as Baffert looks for another big payday from the $1 million dollar purse.
But at the Daily Racing Blog we’re not big fans of betting the chalk, nor of Baffert for that matter, so we’re going to take our shot with #11 DASH ATTACK.
This will be the fourth career start for DASH ATTACK, all of which have come at Oaklawn Park. He started his 3-year-old season on a promising note with a come-from-behind Win (in the slop) in the Smarty Jones Stakes. Then, however, he was a disappointing 5th in the Southwest Stakes, never looking like a serious threat to Win. Since then, he’s been working very well, including two bullet five-furlong workouts on February 12th and 19th. Based on those drills, it looks like he’s rounding back into his best form, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see him rebound in the Rebel. And not for nothing, but there is a 62% chance of rain in Hot Springs Saturday.
Other horses to consider using in your exotic bets: #7 BEN DIESEL, #8 CHASING TIME, and #9 BARBER ROAD.