Two leading candidates for the $1 million Rebel Stakes (G2) for 3-year-olds March 14 completed major preparations for the 1 1/16-mile race on a sunny Saturday morning at Oaklawn.
Three Technique worked a half-mile in :48.80 for trainer Jeremiah Englehart, while Wells Bayou went the same distance in :48.40 for trainer Brad Cox. Both horses breezed over a fast track.
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Exercise rider Marquel Lemon was aboard Three Technique, who worked with stablemate Captain Bombastic – a 3-year-old New York-bred stakes winner – just after the break to renovate the racing surface. Clockers caught Three Technique, along the rail, galloping out 5 furlongs in 1:01 and 6 furlongs in 1:14.80.
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- Post Position Stats. 26, 2021) – Unbeaten Essential Quality, the country’s 2-year-old male of 2020, isn’t the only stakes entrant for global power Godolphin LLC Saturday at Oaklawn. 2021) – Oaklawn’s four-race Kentucky Derby points series, specifically the Rebel and Arkansas Derby.
Three Technique had recorded a swift half-mile bullet workout a week earlier, so Englehart said he was looking for something much less taxing Saturday.
“We wanted to do an easier work this time and then let him kind of continue on the gallop out to just get some air in him,” said Englehart, who trains Three Technique for Pro Football Hall of Fame Coach Bill Parcells. “Seemed like it went pretty well.”
Three Technique hasn’t started since a runner-up finish in the $150,000 Smarty Jones Stakes Jan. 24, Oaklawn’s first of four Kentucky Derby points races. The 1-mile Smarty Jones marked the stakes and two-turn debut for Three Technique, who has been favored in all five career starts. Englehart said Luis Saez will ride the son of Mr Speaker for the first time in the Rebel, the final major local prep for the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) April 11.
“Luis is one of the best,” Englehart said. “You don’t mind putting your cleats on with him. He’s a guy you want to have on your team.”
Wells Bayou, the runner-up in the $750,000 Southwest Stakes (G3) Feb. 17 in his last start, worked with stablemate Something Natural just after the track opened under Fernando De La Cruz. Clockers had Wells Bayou galloping out 5 furlongs in 1:00.60 and 6 furlongs in 1:13.60. Wells Bayou opened his 3-year-old campaign with a front-running four-length allowance victory over Something Natural Jan. 26. Something Natural returned to clear his first allowance condition Feb. 15 and is a candidate for the $250,000 Jeff Ruby Steaks (G3) March 14 at Turfway Park, Cox said.
The Oaklawn racing department listed eight probables for the Rebel late Saturday morning – American Theorem for trainer George Papaprodromou, Basin (Steve Asmussen), Nadal (Bob Baffert), No Parole (Tom Amoss), Silver Prospector (Asmussen), Three Technique, Wells Bayou and Winning Impression (Dallas Stewart). Two or three other horses are under consideration.
American Theorem hasn’t started since finishing second in the $300,000 American Pharoah Stakes (G1) Sept. 27 at Santa Anita. Basin will be making his first start since winning the $350,000 Hopeful Stakes (G1) Sept. 2 at Saratoga. Unbeaten Nadal (2 for 2) won the $200,000 San Vincent Stakes (G2) Feb. 9 at Santa Anita and will try to extend Baffert’s record for Rebel victories to seven. No Parole is unbeaten and untested in three career starts against Louisiana-bred competition. Silver Prospector exits a one-length victory in the Southwest.
2020 Rebel Stakes Post Positions
The Rebel will offer 85 points to the top four finishers (50-20-10-5) toward starting eligibility for the Kentucky Derby. Post positions will be drawn Wednesday, the same day a plane carrying expected Southern California-based runners is scheduled to arrive.
Baffert won the Rebel in 2010 (Lookin At Lucky), 2011 (The Factor), 2012 (Secret Circle), 2014 (Hoppertunity), 2015 (American Pharoah) and 2016 (Cupid). American Pharoah, who went on to sweep the Triple Crown, is the sire of American Theorem.
In addition to the Rebel, the $350,000 Azeri Stakes (G2) for older fillies and mares and the $350,000 Essex Handicap for older horses is March 14. Post positions for those 1 1/16-mile races will also be drawn Wednesday.
Rebel Stakes Post Position Draw
Seven horses recently arrived for trainer Valorie Lund, including multiple stakes winner Mr. Jagermeister, who was scheduled to run in Saturday’s $150,000 Hot Springs Stakes for older sprinters.
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Lund also brought a small string to Oaklawn late in last year’s meet and compiled an impressive 2-3-0 mark from eight starts. Mr. Jagermeister won an allowance race in April and Ship It Red scored a claiming victory two days later. Lund, who is based at Turf Paradise in Phoenix, said she was encouraged by Oaklawn racing secretary Pat Pope to send another small string to Hot Springs again in 2020.
“I wanted to run Jagermeister in the Hot Springs and I didn’t want to have to ship there and ship back,” Lund said during training hours Saturday morning. “Actually, Pat Pope’s the one that talked me into this. He said, ‘Come early. Come back.’ Well, I’m here.”
Lund said she plans to have a presence at Oaklawn until the meet ends May 2. She still has 16 horses at Turf Paradise and her two divisions will merge at Canterbury Park in suburban Minneapolis, where she regularly races in the summer.
Also stabled at Oaklawn is Rumpleminx, a 3-year-old full sister to Mr. Jagermeister who has won 2 of 3 career starts. Both horses are out of the Lund-trained Frangelica.
“We’re following the alcohol theme with the name,” Lund said. “I don’t think she’s mentally ready for stakes yet, so I’m just going to try and find allowance races for her. She’s not timid, but she doesn’t know what she’s doing yet. She needs time to figure it out before she steps into stakes.”
Lund said she also has a couple of unstarted 3-year-olds that are about ready to run. She said the major spring objective for Mr. Jagermeister is the $500,000 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap (G3) April 11. The Hot Springs was the final major local prep for the Count Fleet.
Tentwelvefourteen ($65) represented the 599th career Oaklawn victory for jockey Luis Quinonez in Friday’s seventh race, according to Equibase, racing’s official data gathering organization. Quinonez, Oaklawn’s leading rider in 2007, is named on two horses Saturday and Sunday. … Apprentice jockey Chel-c Bailey recorded her second career victory in Friday’s third race aboard favored Babadook ($4.40). It marked the third career training victory, and first at Oaklawn, for Chelsey Coady, wife of Oaklawn track photographer Kurtis Coady. … Serengeti Empress worked a half-mile in :48.60 Saturday morning at Fair Grounds in advance of the $350,000 Azeri Stakes (G2) for older fillies and mares March 14. Trainer Tom Amoss said the Grade 1 winner and unbeaten stablemate No Parole are scheduled to arrive Monday afternoon. Amoss said No Parole is scheduled to work Sunday morning at Fair Grounds in advance of the $1 million Rebel Stakes (G3) for 3-year-olds March 14. … Oaklawn-based Mylady Curlin worked a half-mile in :49 Saturday morning for trainer Brad Cox in advance of the Azeri. … The Cox-trained Night Ops, pointing for the $350,000 Essex Handicap for older horses March 14, went a half-mile in :48.80 Saturday morning. … Agent Ruben Munoz said in a text message Friday afternoon that he and perennial top 5 Oaklawn rider Ramon Vazquez have parted ways. “Wishing him the best,” Munoz said. Agent “Big Steve” Krajcir of Hot Springs said Saturday morning that he will represent Vazquez for the balance of the meet. Munoz also represents six-time Oaklawn riding champion Ricardo Santana Jr.