Rebel Stakes Analysis
Finally we get a Kentucky Derby prep that seems to have more than one likely to compete in the Run for the Roses. Obviously favored Super Ninety Nine, trained by Bob Baffert, who eclipsed the field in the Grade 3 Southwest as an easy 12-length wire-to-wire winner is the one to beat but he could be severely tested, especially from the outside post.
He’s exceptionally quick from the gate but at least three rivals to his inside possess comparable speed and, with the fight to get the points necessary to earn a trip to Kentucky, there are no “gimme” races or races where a trainer can afford the luxury of a trying new running style so he’s probably going to have to fight for the lead. That this is only a mile and a sixteenth race certainly helps his chances but the same can be said for some of his speed-laden rivals.
Delhomme, the Todd Pletcher trained entrant, is one of those that possesses similar speed. He’s making his first start of the year but you know that Pletcher has them ready off layoffs. He was narrowly beaten in the Grade 2 Remsen at age two so the distance of this race shouldn’t pose any problems.
D. Wayne Lukas has a possible contender in Oxbow. He likes the lead also but showed in the Grade 2 Risen Star at Fair Grounds that he was capable of rating. Plus, though he never raced here, Oxbow has been based here since January and he’s had some sparking drills over the track.
However, this looks like a race where anything can happen and I would be tempted to take a chance on Carve. He was claimed from a win in his career debut by Steve Asmussen and he came right back to take allowance company. Both of his races have been on this track. Both have been at this distance. Plus, he owns a nice stretch move and the pace is surely to set up for him. He’s not going to the Kentucky Derby but could the stars might align for him in this spot.