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2014 Rebel Stakes

Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn

Will Take Charge Winning 2013 Rebel Stakes Over OxbowThis year is truly flying right along as this weekend we prepare for the Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park. The first Rebel Stakes was in 1961 and in its time the race has seen many standout horses reach the winner’s circle. Past winners include Temperence Hill, Sunny’s Halo, Pine Bluff, Victory Gallop, Smarty Jones, Curlin, Lookin At Lucky and last year’s Three Year Old of the Year, Will Take Charge. In last year’s edition of the Rebel Stakes, Will Take Charge gunned down stable mate Oxbow to win by a head and pay $58.00 for the win! WTC skipped the Arkansas Derby and struggled throughout all three Triple Crown Races before finding his stride again and placing 2nd in the Grade 2 Jim Dandy. From there he has finished no worse than 2nd in 6 outings including wins in the Grade 1 Travers, Grade 2 Pennsylvania Derby, and Grade 1 Clark Handicap. As for the Rebel Stakes, this race is part of the Kentucky Derby Championship Series and will award points toward the top 4 finishers towards their chance to enter this year’s Kentucky Derby. For more info on the Kentucky Derby Points System, check out our info and leaderboard page here- 2014 Kentucky Derby Points System. Now let’s take a look at this year’s entries.

Oaklawn’s Rebel Stakes

Tapiture The $600,000 Grade 2 Rebel Stakes is the 10th race on the card Saturday at Oaklawn Park and will feature a field of 8 three year olds traveling 1 1/16 mile. The 9/5 morning line favorite is Tapiture. Trained by Steve Asmussen and ridden by Ricardo Santana, Jr., Tapiture is undefeated in his last 2 starts with a 4 ¼ length victory in the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes and a 4 ¼ length victory in the Grade 3 Southwest Stakes. Looking to give Tapiture some trouble is Strong Mandate at 2 to 1 on the ML.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again- I like Strong Mandate. He hasn’t shown me what I feel he is capable of just yet, but I believe he’s getting there and I look for another big finish from him here. Strong MandateTapiture beat him last time out in the Southwest, but looking at Strong Mandate’s works, I feel he is ready to redeem himself in the Rebel. But to play devil’s advocate, let’s look at the value plays. A little outclassed here, but definitely capable of a huge run is Street Strategy at 8/1 on the morning line. I look for him to stalk early while Ride On Curlin and Tapiture fight for the early lead and I believe he has the potential to hang close enough to pull off an upset.  It never hurts to have Calvin Borel in the irons, either. For a longshot, I’m going with Hoppertunity at 10/1 on the ML. He had a disappointing trip in the Risen Star placing 4th, but Mike Smith will get the mount here and he is very good at getting horses like Hoppertunity where they need to be when it counts. I look for him to improve here. Good luck everybody!

 

 

 

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Mike Jr, eldest son of Mike Lane Sr, is co-lead author at HandicapHorseRacing.com and was raised on thoroughbred horse racing and handicapping. Although father and son often butt heads on their selections, they both have much love and admiration for the sport. Mike Jr. brings a new, fresh perspective to horse racing and is often in search of new angles to try.

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