The Hot Springs, Arkansas, track draws sophomores being pointed for the classics by offering some rich opportunities in the Midwest for its three major preps, the Southwest Stakes, Rebel Stakes, and Arkansas Derby. Today, Oaklawn Park presents the Rebel Stakes offering a purse of $500,000, up $200,000 from last year’s Rebel.
This rich pay day attracted 13 sophomores, nine of the Rebel starters competed in the Southwest, whose winners were Secret Circle and Castaway, both trained by Southern California-based Bob Baffert.
Secret Circle returns for an encore performance, having won his division faster than Castaway, who won his division. Castaway will sit this one out. The Southwest was a major hurdle for the brilliant Secret Circle, who won last year’s inaugural six-furlong Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Sprint, as it was his first start around two turns and his first since suffering his only career loss when finishing second to the since-injured Out of Bounds in the one mile Sham Stakes at Santa Anita Park. Secret Circle won the Southwest by a half-length over Scatman. Secret Circle will have to contend with Scatman again in the Rebel, as well as Adirondack King, third in the Southwest.
One of the new faces is Steve Asmussen-trained Sabercat, who won the $1-million Delta Downs Jackpot Stakes on November 19 and earned $600,000 in graded earnings in the process. The Rebel marks Sabercat’s first start since that victory and he has been training forwardly at Asmussen’s winter base at Santa Anita. The Bluegrass Cat colt has won three straight, but does not need to win the Rebel, just move forward, as he has plenty of earnings to qualify for the Kentucky Derby if it comes down to that.
2005 Kentucky Derby winner Giacomo is the sire of Jake Mo. Reckless Jerry is owner by country western singer Toby Keith.
Post Position Horse Sire Jockey Trainer
1. Unbridled’s Note, Unbridled’s Song, Channing Hill, Steven M. Asmussen
2. Scatman, Scat Daddy, Luis S. Quinonez, Michael E. Lauer
3. Cyber Secret, Broken Vow, Robby Albarado, Lynn S. Whiting
4. Optimizer, English Channel, Jon Court, D. Wayne Lukas
5. Jake Mo, Giacomo, M. Clifton Berry, Allen Milligan
6. Sabercat, Bluegrass Cat, Corey S. Nakatani, Steven M. Asmussen
7. Secret Circle, Eddington, Rafael Bejarano, Bob Baffert
8. Atigun, Istan, Terry J. Thompson, Kenneth G. McPeek
9. Reckless Jerry, Cactus Ridge, Joseph Rocco, Jr, Kenny P. Smith
10. Ring It Up, Toccet, Lindey Wade, Chris Richard
11. Pee H Dee, Tale of the Cat, Israel Ocampo Chris Richard
12. Najjaar, Jazil, Calvin H. Borel Daniel C. Peitz