The Rebel (Grade 2) (KYD)- $900.000 Purse
OP- For Three Year Olds
One Mile and One Sixteenth on the Dirt
March 17, 2018
This St. Patrick’s Day, a full field of fourteen has been attracted by the green of a $900.000 purse, and the importance of the 50 KYD points that await the winner. It is the 13th running of the Rebel Stakes, a KYD prep race that has an interesting distinction of having produced two dead heats for the victory since 2012. It is also a race that has produced KYD winners, starting with Half Spirit in 2008, and including Commanding in 2013. So, if you want to go on that “every five years” trend, then things may be looking up for our winner today. The field appears consists of a couple well known entities and quite a few up and comers. Let’s take a run through it now.
#1- Secret To Success (Mb Stables, ridden by F Pennington)- On the rail, this Mb Stables’ entry does not have the same type of resume that others in the field will have, but from experience I have learned that those entries from this trainer tend to be dangerous. He has just one win in four starts, and comes off of two second place finishes in his last two starts, which were in optional claimers. The speed figures will not really jump out at you, but you can never count out the horse that starts on the rail in this game.
#2- Babalu Time (Night Rider Stables, ridden by R Maragh)- After a modest two year old campaign, Babalu Time has impressively stepped up this year to emerge as a very strong contender for the KYD. He likes this track, winning the Smarty Jones here in January, and then following it up with a big win in the Grade 3 Southwest here last month. You have to like a horse for the course, and there is no denying that Babalu Time and OP have been a fit. One thing that will probably not be the same as it was in the Southwest are those odds, he won’t be a 36/1 longshot this time out. Then again, who knows, because he won the Smarty Jones at 94/1 in the race right before that. Perhaps now, people here in the grandstands can show him a little love, because he is one of the top horses in this race.
#3- On The Spot (Mb Stables, ridden by J Talamo)- Acquired in the September auction for jsut $5.190, On The Spot has become quite a good value, and perhaps can be called a steal if he gets a big result. Right now, he is about as raw as his stablemate, Secret To Success, with two wins in three starts, all coming on the grass. None of those races have been at the stake level. I do think he stands a better chance in here then that stablemate, and I like how he has been working on the main track this month.
#4- Pink Cadillac (John Henry, ridden by J R Velazquez)- Won the first two races of his career for prior trainer Four Winds Racing, who then sold him off to John Henry in private sales for $210.000. So far, Pink Cadillac has not come through for the trainer, despite some very aggressive placement. He has been steady on the KYD trail, but the only finish in the money in those five starts was a runner up when he dropped down into a $100.000 ungraded stake. Needs to have improved since his last race, which was a flat performance in the Holy Bull.
#5- Motor City (First Class Stables, ridden by J S Rocco Jr)- Looks to rebound after a disappointing finish in the Southwest here last month. Perhaps the engine just did not fire that day for Motor City, because other then that race, he looked to be on great form. Prior to the Southwest, he won the Grade 3 Lecomte at FG, with a couple of solid in the money runs in graded events at AQU right before it. He did have an outside post in the Southwest, could that have made that much of a difference? Motor City should recover here and be a factor.
#6- Roger That (Mb Stables, ridden by L H Colon)- The theme with the three entries by Mb Stables in this race is that they are all, presumably, up and comers. Roger That has the most experience of the three, with two wins in five starts, though his only stake history was a small $75.000 event at CRC last November, a race in which he finished second. He’ll look to make his sire, Commanding, proud, as that one won this race five years ago.
#7- Wild Fame (Jive Inc, ridden by Alan Garcia)- This one has also been in the Mb Stables barn, but was picked up earlier this month by the current trainer with a hefty $650.000 price tag associate with it. That’s a gamble, but a shot that many of us will take when we want to chase the dream. Wild Fame has two wins in four starts, and most recently was victorious in the $100.000 El Camino at GG last month. He makes a step up here in competition as well, but the works seem to be pretty good.
#8- Simple Request (Saratoga Stud, ridden by B J Hernandez Jr)- On the exact same day that Jive Inc was buying Wild Fame for $650.000, Saratoga Stud spent 20% of that amount, just $130.000 to acquire Simple Request from Barcelona Farms. Quite frankly, when I look at these two horses side by side, I think Simple Request is the better of the two. He has just two wins in seven career starts, but was a regular participant in NY-bred stakes, which always prove to be tough races, and with just a little more luck, he could have had another win or two. His last start saw him make up ground late in the Mucho Macho Man, but miss out on a check with a fifth place finish. Any improvement off that makes him a threat here. The race within the race between he and Wild Fame is interesting.
#9- Yanoro (Blushing Meadows, ridden by D E Centeno)- We last saw this gelding finishing third in the Grade 3 Davis Stakes last month. Based on recent results by others that came out of that race, that may be a far better finish then it looks. That is the race where Storming Cobra and Lane Frost had a thrilling stretch duel. In that, Storming Cobra had the upper hand, but Lane Frost’s impressive win in the Fountain Of Youth put him up there as one of the stronger KYD contenders. A length or so behind them, was Yanoro. The work times will not stand out at you, but he showed he had heart that day, and that type of effort makes him also a strong contender here.
#10- Table Stakes (Pan Farms, ridden by A A Gallardo)- Back in October, I recall being amazed at his win in the Grade 1 FrontRunner Stakes, and I was not alone. Most expected him to be a strong threat to win the BC Juvenile off of that. It’s a little hard to believe, then, that Table Stakes has not won since that race. He was very close though, missing the headbob in the RP Springboard Mile. In 2018, he’s only made one start, and was not a factor in the Risen Star. Prior trainer, Barcelona Farms, decided then to cash out his table stakes, and gets a good price of $400.000 from Pan Farms. He will make his debut here for the new connections.
#11- Powerful Suit (Nakamura Stables, ridden by N Arroyo Jr)- Looks to win his third race in a row, and in particular, to follow up what was a very impressive victory at the Grade 3 Sham Stakes two months ago. It is a little surprising that he would then take six weeks off following that effort, and he did not get any favors with the post position draw here. Works show progress, but its been a while since his last public work as well. He’s able to win by coming off the pace a bit, as well as being on the lead.
#12- Neon Wolf (Smokey Stover, ridden by P Lopez)- This Condottieri colt has won three of seven career starts, and one of them was in his last start, the $200.000 CA Cup Derby at SA for CA-breds last month. Even though that was more recent, and for a better purse, I am actually more impressed by his win in the $100.000 Mucho Macho Man in January where he went to the lead soon after the start, and stayed there, against a better field. I like how consistent he is and think he is the type of horse that could win from this spot.
#13- Caydens Camel- Scratched
#14- Tsali (Team 7 Illusions, ridden by T Gaffalione)- This colt has been immaculately bred, being by Cherokee Sunset, one of the best young sires in the game, and being out of Lullaby Maker Tf, winner of the 2015 BC Distaff, and other highly respected Grade 1’s. So far, Tsali has spent much of his career on the grass, and did become a stake winner in a $75.000 ungraded race as a two-year old. He was last seen in late Feburary at TAM, running on the main track at nine furlongs, but only finishing fourth in an N1X allowance. The past performances are not going to jump out at you on this one. For Tsali, it’s all about believing in the pedigree and the confidence that the trainer is showing in him. And once you gain that confidence, then there’s the question of this outside post.
#15- First Class Male (Team 7 Illusions, ridden by J J Castellano)- Drew into the field following the scratch of Caydens Camel, and figures to have a tough assignment here. He is also out of Cherokee Sunset, and has two wins in five starts. However, neither of those wins are going to scare anyone in this field. The gelding ran well at the $100.000 Gander for NY-breds last month, and is a horse that is improving. I’ll look for him in his next start, though.