The $1 million Rebel Stakes is the must-see race at Oaklawn Park on Saturday and it features some scintillating thoroughbreds.
Leading the charge is undefeated Bob Baffert colt Newgrange, who is ineligible to earn points for the Kentucky Derby because of his current trainer.
Horse racing betting markets have the colt at the top of the market, but the likes of Chasing Time, Barber Road and Dash Attack are hot on his heels.
Newgrange Beating all Comers
Baffert has a plethora of Kentucky Derby types, but none of them can earn qualifying points. However, that won’t stop bettors from potentially cashing in with Newgrange in the Rebel Stakes.
The 3-year-old son of Violence has yet to taste defeat from three starts, including last time out in the Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park.
Having winning experience on the track is ideal and Madaket Stables representative Sol Kumin is excited about his prospect.
“Newgrange breezed very well last weekend,” Kumin told BloodHorse. “He’s a horse Bob is excited about moving forward and he’s comfortable shipping him for the race. We hope he runs well Saturday.”
His 1½-length victory in the Southwest Stakes came over Barber Road, who has been specked at each-way odds. Therefore, Newgrange looks like a good bet with the sportsbook.
The +120 odds are well worth taking and we see that price shortening on race day. We expect most of the money to come for the high-profile Baffert runner, so he could firm to around -110.
Pick: Newgrange +120
Dash Attack Ready to Run
Trainer Ken McPeek admits to not having Dash Attack at 100% for the Southwest Stakes, so bettors should expect a better effort.
The son of Munnings kicked off his career with two wins at Oaklawn Park, including in the Smarty Jones over Barber Road, which subsequently placed in the Southwest Stakes.
McPeek is expecting a better effort for his Derby hopeful.
“I thought we went a little soft on him before the last race. We missed some training because of the ice and frozen racetracks,” McPeek said. “He’s had two strong breezes since then and I think you will see him run better.”
Betting online markets have Dash Attack at +800, which is a value price for a runner with a stack of improvement. Bettors shouldn’t have a bet on the Rebel Stakes without including Dash Attack.
Pick: Dash Attack +800
Asmussen Excited by Chasing Time
There is a confidence in the Steve Asmussen camp about Chasing Time, who owns two wins and two placings from five starts.
The son of Not This Time won by 7¾ lengths at Oaklawn Park last start, and although the level of opposition wasn’t as strong, he demands respect.
The winning time was a good sign and he wasn’t asked for much in the run home, which excites Asmussen.
“He’s obviously got plenty of speed, plenty of pace, and he showed that early,” Asmussen said. “But going two turns, the separation and the ease in which he did it, plus his last eighth of a mile of his first two-turn race in :12 2/5 under minimal encouragement, and how he has trained since, it has us very excited.”
He has firmed onto the second line of betting at +500 and he’s another runner who can’t be left out of selections.