Rebel Stakes: Super Ninety Nine draws outside for Baffert
Trainer Bob Baffert has come east to win the last three titles of this $600,000 clash, bringing another pair of challengers this time around for the 1 1/16-mile battle.
No. 10 Super Ninety Nine is Baffert’s top chance for this year’s winners circle as the 3/2 money-line betting odds favorite. Rider Rafael Bejarano picked up his second straight victory aboard the colt last month in sloppy conditions, wiring nine rivals for an 11-length win in Oaklawn’s Southwest Stakes.
Super Ninety Nine’s stablemate Den’s Legacy breaks from the No. 6 hole for Baffert at 8/1, switching jockeys for this affair to Robby Albarado. The son of Medaglia d’Oro has hit the board in six straight outings, switching from turf to dirt throughout the stretch.
Baffert’s training rival D. Wayne Lukas also has a pair of entrants for Saturday’s arsenal, looking for his first Rebel Stakes win since Manastash Ridge crossed the wire in 1989. No. 7 Will Take Charge (15/1) keeps rider Jon Court after a dismal sixth-place finish in the Southwest, with the return to a fast track being key here. No. 9 Oxbow (4/1) switches riders for Lukas to Mike Smith, who is a three-time Rebel Stakes winner.
Trainer Todd Pletcher enters Saturday’s fray with No. 4 Delhomme (7/2), who returns to action from a lengthy layoff after three races last year in the NYRA circuit. The trio of outings saw the son of Dixie Union hit the board each time out, reaching career-high speed in Aqueduct’s 1 1/8-mile Remsen Stakes.
No. 2 Carve has won both of his career starts, with each coming at 1 1/16 miles on Oaklawn’s dirt. Trainer Steven Asmussen is 17-for-76 (22 percent) in the start of the track’s meet, while Corey Nakatani gets the mount here after hitting the board three times in his first four trips on Hot Springs’ oval.
Treasury Bill (No. 1) and Title Contender (No. 1A) make up a 5/1 entry, with each bringing their share of promise. Treasury Bill ships east and stretches out after a second-place finish in Santa Anita’s San Vicente Stakes, closing from four wide in the seven-furlong affair. Title Contender has raced at 1 1/16 miles in his last three affairs, hanging on for a second-place spot last month at Oaklawn.
No. 3 Texas Bling and No. 8 Stormy Holiday look to upset the field at odds of 30/1. Texas Bling flopped in the Southwest’s slop, but had sizable paydays prior to that - including a three-wide closing effort to capture December’s Springboard Mile at Remington Park. Stormy Holiday has three straight finishes in fourth place, returning to action after a six-furlong sprint at Oaklawn, two weeks ago.
No. 5 Hardrock Eleven rounds out the field as its darkest horse (50/1), finishing 39 lengths behind in last month’s Risen Star Stakes. The son of former Preakness runner-up Rock Hard Ten has gone five starts without a victory, since breaking maiden this past October at 7 ½ furlongs.
Selections: Treasury Bill/Title Contender, Will Take Charge, Stormy Holiday
I am backing the Treasury Bill/Title Contender entry as my top pick for this affair, while adding a few dollars on longer shots Will Take Charge and Stormy Holiday.
Treasury Bill has had increased speed each time out, with something left in the tank at the wire. The son of Lemon Drop Kid showed a closing kick in the San Vicente and could be helped from stretching out.
Title Contender inherits jockey Luis Quinonez, who has hit the board in 60-of-141 mounts at Oaklawn. The experience going 1 1/16 miles in three straight starts is always a plus come Derby-prep season.
Will Take Charge gets some value here at 15/1 after being a non-factor in the Southwest Stakes. Lukas and Court are a promising combination, building some momentum earlier with the colt that could regain itself here.
Stormy Holiday is the son of former Kentucky Derby favorite Harlan’s Holiday, while also having Derby and Belmont Stakes winner Thunder Gulch in his blood. Trainer McLean Robertson leads the Oaklawn’s meet with 19 wins, saddling 28 percent of his mounts for victories, and is worth a piece of your race bankroll at these long odds for your horse racing sports picks.All odds and lines are available at Bet365