Solid Rebel Stakes Field Set Saturday with Winner Earning a Spot in the Kentucky Derby
The Rebel Stakes is set for Saturday, March 17 at Oaklawn Park in Hotsprings, Arkansas, and the 58th edition looks like a good one with some solid contenders on the Road to the Kentucky Derby. Who will get lucky on St. Patrick’s Day? Along with a hefty $900,000 purse and $540,000 to the winner, the top finisher will also earn 50 Kentucky Derby points; enough to qualify for a spot in the starting gate May 5 at Churchill Downs. The Rebel Stakes is also the last major Derby prep contested at 1 1/16 miles.
Here are the five contenders to consider when wagering on the Rebel Stakes.
Oaklawn Race Meet Betting Guide
Solomini (3-2) is trained by Bob Baffert, who has won six of the last eight editions of the Rebel. Solomini resumed training just about a month ago and has submitted a pretty impressive series of works leading up to this so he should run a good one off the bench. Solomini crossed the finish line first in his last race in December but was disqualified in the Los Alamitos Cash Call Futurity. He posted a strong 109 Equibase Speed Figure in that race. Solomini finished 2nd in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) and FrontRunner Stakes (G1). This massive colt is very talented and has shown great resolve against stronger runners. If he runs near his A game, he’ll win the Rebel.
Magnum Moon (7-2) is the latest Todd Pletcher-trained horse on the Derby trail and makes his Stakes debut. Pletcher won the Rebel last year with Malagacy, and his latest runner Magnum Moon is lightly raced and 2-for-2 with both wins in 2018. He’s been dominant in victory and tried two turns last time out scoring a solid 98 Equibase Speed Figure in victory. Similar to last year’s Kentucky Derby Winner by Pletcher, Always Dreaming, Magnum Moon is on the improve and we’ll find out if he’s ready against tougher competition.
Sporting Chance (5-1) is the Derby hopeful for Legendary trainer D. Wayne Lukas. This talented Tiznow colt is 2-1-1 in four starts winning the Hopeful (G1) last September and then running 3rd in his 2018 debut at Oaklawn in the Southwest Stakes. He’s been burning up the track in morning workouts, and is likely to sprint to the lead in the Rebel. An erratic runner who has to show he can carry the momentum down the lane.
Title Ready (8-1) is trained by Steve Asmussen, who last won this race in 2007 with Curlin. Asmussen has three entered in the Rebel, and Title Ready appears more mature and ready to run a good race breaking from the rail. Off a 3rd place finish in November at Churchill Downs which followed his maiden win in his third start, Title Ready won his 2018 debut last month at Oaklawn impressively by 3 ½ lengths with an Equibase Speed Figure of 98. He wore blinkers in that race around two turns, and Title Ready should improve in his second start off the layoff over the same track. Jockey Jose Ortiz comes in from Florida to take the mount, so Pletcher has clearly let him know he has a strong improving 3-year-old ready to become Derby eligible.
Combatant (8-1) is another Asmussen colt with a shot in the Rebel, as he’s finished 2nd in three straight races including the Southwest Stakes over the Oaklawn oval last month. He’s posted at least a 99 Equibase Speed Figure in those three races, so he completes the list of five solid contenders in the Rebel.
Check out the full card at Oaklawn Saturday, March 17 and the Rebel Stakes is Race 10 with post time at 7:09 ET.