Trainer Brad Cox already has three of the top seven horses in the Kentucky Derby points race, and he could add another to the battle when he sends out Verifying and Giant Mischief in the $1 million Grade 2 Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park on Saturday.
Verifying, who was a troubled sixth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile last year before winning a 1-mile first-level allowance at Oaklawn on Jan. 14, is the morning-line favorite at 2-1 in the horse betting odds. Giant Mischief (5) has won two of his three races and starts at 5-2 from the 5 hole in the 1 1/16-mile race, which goes off at 6:23 p.m. as the 11th race.
Angel of Empire won the Risen Star Stakes last weekend, Hit Show took the Withers on Feb. 11 and Instant Coffee was first in the Lecomte at Fair Grounds in January to give Cox three strong Derby contenders on the trail so far. The winner of the Rebel, like the Risen Star, gets 50 Derby points and second place awards 20.
Reincarnate, who was moved to the Tim Yakteen barn due to trainer Bob Baffert’s suspension at Churchill Downs so he can gain Derby points, is also scheduled to run in the Rebel.
Baffert will have two horses in a huge race this weekend as Taiba and Country Grammar start in the $20 million Saudi Cup on Saturday.
Let’s check the latest Horse Racing news, stats, injury reports, and Horse Racing lines for Saudi Cup. We’ve got plenty of Horse Racing picks for you to consider.
Reincarnate Among 3-Year-Olds Moving Away From Baffert https://t.co/pQzNeG8MrF @BH_FAngst #TC2023 pic.twitter.com/9NCfqFmBy5
— BloodHorse (@BloodHorse) February 20, 2023
Favorite Breaks from Rail
Verifying, the son of Triple Crown winner Justify, recently posted a sharp five-furlong workout (:59.4), and will have to break well from the 1 post to get position in a Rebel Stakes that could have plenty of speed.
Reincarnate, who won the 1-mile Sham Stakes at Santa Anita and has been in the top two in all five of his races, will want to be on or near the lead from the 6 post while Powerful (2), Talladega (8) and Frosted Departure (11), among others, could show speed.
Giant Mischief lunged at the start and was last early before rallying for second in the Springboard Mile at Remington Park on Dec. 17 and has worked well for his 2023 debut. Gun Pilot, one of three runners for Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen in the Rebel along with Powerful and Red Route One (3), was 5¼ lengths behind Verifying on Jan. 14 after being on the lead.
With the abundance of speed, you have to give Red Route One a chance in this race. The son of Gun Runner closed for second in the Southwest Stakes last month at Oaklawn and may be ready for a big score at 10-1. Confidence Game (7), third in the Lecomte, could also be a factor if you are betting online.
- Bet trifectas 1-6 with 1-6 with 3,4,5,7. Also, play exactas 1,6 with 3, and a buck or two on the 3 to win.
Taiba Leads Saudi Cup Field
Three-time Grade 1 winner Taiba goes after his biggest score in the 1 ¼-mile Group I Saudi Cup at King Abdulaziz Racecourse in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on Saturday.
Taiba won the Santa Anita Derby and was a close second in the Haskell Invitational before winning the Pennsylvania Derby and then taking the Malibu Stakes at Santa Anita in his last race on Dec. 26. He will break from the second post (wearing No. 10) in the 13-horse field as the favorite, according to Las Vegas Saudi Cup odds, with speedy Panthalassa on the rail.
“I think it’s good to have a speed horse (breaking) inside of him,’ Baffert told Horse Racing Nation. “He likes company, to run with another horse to get him into the race.”
Baffert’s Country Grammar, who finished second in this race a year ago before winning the Dubai World Cup, shipped in earlier for this one.
Emblem Road (No. 4), the son of Quality Road, won the 2022 Saudi Cup and will start from the 8 post while Country Grammar (No. 2) breaks from the 10 hole and 2022 Kentucky Derby entrant Crown Pride (No. 3) from Japan leaves from the 3 post. Jun Light Bolt (No. 6) won Japan’s Champion’s Cup in December and also has to be considered.
- Bet exactas 10 with 2,3,6
Forte Readies For 2023 Debut
Breeders’ Cup Juvenile champ Forte is set to start his 3-year-old campaign on March 4 in the Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream Park.
Forte, trained by Hall of famer Todd Pletcher, won four of his five races in 2022 and will come into the FOY off more than three months of rest as he continues his road to the Derby.
Pletcher told reporters recently that Litigate, the winner of the Sam Davis Stakes at Tampa Bay, is being pointed to the Louisiana Derby at Fair Grounds on March 25.
The Gotham at Aqueduct, the San Felipe at Santa Anita and the John Battaglia Memorial at Turfway Park also offer Derby points next Saturday.