Derby Prep Alert
Derby Prep Alert

March 13, 2015Sponsored by BRIS, our Preferred Past Performance Provider

Sponsored by BRIS, our Preferred Past Performance Provider

Last weekend saw several solid performances, including San Felipe victor and buzz horse Dortmund bringing his record to 5 for 5. Most of last weekend’s foes will face each other in their next round of preps, so be sure to check last week’s edition for replays, Brisnet charts and links to all the recaps.

This week juvenile champion American Pharoah makes his 3-year-old debut in the Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn, the only points race on deck, but sadly, the biggest news is that Take Charge Brandi, the juvenile filly champion, will not be joining him due to an injury.

Take Charge Brandi had won four straight races, going back to last November’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, and her trainer D. Wayne Lukas’ decision to run her in the Rebel suggested that he was thinking that she might be Derby-worthy–and he would know, having trained the filly Winning Colors to a Kentucky Derby win in 1988.

In the Kentucky Derby points system established in 2012, the only way that a filly can qualify for the Run for the Roses is by earning points in a designated qualifying race. No races restricted to fillies would have earned Take Charge Brandi those necessary Derby points, so Lukas decided to take a shot with her in the Rebel, where last year’s two juvenile champions would have faced each other for bragging rights…and for Derby points.

Unfortunately, Take Charge Brandi’s injury means that both the Derby and the Oaks are off the table for her, but on the bright side, her injury is not career ending.

Check back after the Rebel for a replay, Brisnet chart and links to recaps!

Download Free Past Performances

News About the Contenders
Blood-Horse: Firing Line Drills for Sunland Derby
Blood-Horse: Bathtime for Mr. Z (Video)
Blood-Horse: Mid-March Debut Can Work for American Pharoah
Blood-Horse: Take Charge Brandi Out of Rebel With Chip
Blood-Horse: Haskin’s Derby Dozen – March 10, 2015
Brisnet: Bold Conquest likely for Arkansas Derby
Brisnet: Upstart, Frosted highlight Palm Meadows worktab
Brisnet: Texas Red scheduled to breeze at Santa Anita Park
Brisnet: American Pharoah tours Oaklawn Park ahead of Rebel
Brisnet: Ami’s Flatter tabbed as early favorite for Queen’s Plate
Brisnet: Knee chip knocks Take Charge Brandi out of Rebel
Brisnet: Texas Red on comeback trail at Santa Anita
Brisnet: El Kabeir on course for Wood; Upstart to Florida Derby
Brisnet: ‘Ocho’ cut up in San Felipe, headed for SA Derby rematch with top three
DRF: Spiral entries are in Turfway Park
DRF: Bourbonette, sister race to Spiral at Turfway has 12 plus two AEs; posts draw wed
DRF: Brilliant work for Firing Line
DRF: Mike Smith to ride Bolo in SA Derby
DRF: Sweet Opportunity flatters Pangburn
DRF: Three Spiral favorites work; Spiral/Bourbonette fields for Turfway taking shape
DRF: Constitution, Khozan updates
DRF: Upstart Works for Florida Derby, Frosted and Imperia Make Tab As Well (Video)
DRF: Lukas update on champion Take Charge Brandi
DRF: Kentucky Derby: Who’s Hot, Who’s Not for March 11
DRF: Joe Talamo to ride War Story in Louisiana Derby
DRF: Take Charge Brandi to miss Rebel Stakes, Kentucky Oaks
DRF: Far Right in first breeze since winning Southwest
DRF: Mr. Z, Majestico breeze for upcoming stakes engagements

Rebel Stakes Kentucky Derby prep race
Oaklawn Park, Saturday March 14, post time: 7:06 pm ET
1 1/16 miles (8.5 furlongs)

The connections of champion 2-year-old American Pharoah hope their colt takes his next successful steps toward Kentucky Derby glory on Saturday in the $750,000 Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park.

American Pharoah would have been the favorite to win the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, but he missed that race because of an injury that has kept him sidelined since he won the FrontRunner Stakes on September 27 at Santa Anita Park by 3 1/4 lengths; still, his accomplishments as a 2-year-old were enough to garner him the Eclipse Award for 2-year-old male champion.

The third-place finisher in the FrontRunner, Texas Red, actually did win the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, and runner-up Calculator came back to win the Sham Stakes. Only Street Sense has won the Kentucky Derby as champion 2-year-old in the past 35 years (he also is the only horse to complete the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile-Kentucky Derby double).

Still, even as a big favorite in the Rebel, overcoming a more than 5-month layoff is no cinch for American Pharoah, who faces six others in the Rebel, including the second- and fourth-place finishers out of the Southwest Stakes in The Truth Or Else and Bold Conquest, respectively.

American Pharoah never made the lead in his career debut and faded to fifth as the 7-5 favorite, but he turned things around in his next two starts, winning a pair of Grade 1 races leading gate to wire. Similar front-running tactics are expected in the Rebel with Victor Espinoza shipping in for the ride. Espinoza and trainer Bob Baffert won the last gate-to-wire Kentucky Derby in 2002 with War Emblem. Espinoza also won the roses last year with California Chrome.

If anyone applies early pace pressure to American Pharoah, it is likely to be recent entry-level allowance winner Madefromlucky, who has won both his starts as a 3-year-old after going winless in three starts as a 2-year-old.

American Pharoah is the lone stakes winner in this group and is the only multiple Grade 1 winner remaining on the Kentucky Derby trail. Champion Take Charge Brandi also has a pair of Grade 1 wins, and she was targeting this race as a first test against open company, but a knee chip has sidelined the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies winner.

The other stakes-placed horses are the aforementioned Southwest also-rans who closed from the clouds in that race and again look to do their running late against American Pharoah.

Maiden winners Tizwonderfulcreek, Paid Admission, and Sakima round out the field.

Ed DeRosa

Download the Rebel Chart

2015 Rebel Replay

News and Recaps
Blood-Horse: American Pharoah Romps in Rebel Stakes
Brisnet: American Pharoah ‘perfect’ after Rebel romp
Brisnet: American Pharoah returns with gusto in Rebel
DRF: American Pharoah dominates Rebel
DRF: Sneak peak at analysis of Rebel, American Pharoah
DRF: Watchmaker: American Pharoah yet to face true test
DRF: Champion American Pharoah in good order Sunday following win in Rebel