Derby Prep Alert
Derby Prep Alert

March 17, 2017Sponsored by BRIS, our Preferred Past Performance Provider

Sponsored by BRIS, our Preferred Past Performance Provider

Last week’s Derby preps were full of highs, lows and unexpected departures. If you missed any of the action, check out last week’s installment for replays, Brisnet charts and links to recaps.

Looking for an easy way to view Brisnet charts for all of the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks points races? Be sure to check our schedule pages. We’ve also listed Beyer, Brisnet, Equibase and TimeformUS speed figures as well as OptixEQ trip grades for each race.

2017 Kentucky Derby Prep Schedule
2017 Kentucky Oaks Prep Schedule

Download Free Past Performances

News About the Contenders

DRF: Unique Bella works Sunday, next start Santa Anita Oaks

Blood-Horse: Gunnevera Takes it Easy in Five-Furlong Work
Brisnet: Gunnevera leads slew of potential Florida Derby workers

Blood-Horse: El Areeb Likely Headed to Wood Memorial
Blood-Horse: Mo Town Breezes for Possible Florida Derby Start
Blood-Horse: Mastery Recovering After Successful Surgery
Blood-Horse: Steve Haskin’s Derby Dozen – March 14, 2017
Blood-Horse: Tapwrit Brings Together Happy, Disparate Owners
Brisnet: Kentucky Derby Report March 15: Mastery sidelined, Tapwrit romps in Tampa
Brisnet: Kentucky Derby contenders Classic Empire, McCraken resume breezing
DRF: Derby turmoil
DRF: Derby Watch: A pinch-hit home run? It’s happened before
DRF: Kentucky Derby: Who’s hot, who’s not for March 15
DRF: Mastery back at barn after surgery on leg
DRF: Baffert: Mastery surgery “went very well”
DRF: Road to the Derby: San Felipe Stakes analysis
DRF: Road to the Derby: Tampa Bay Derby analysis
TDN: TDN Derby Top Twelve for Mar. 14
TDN: Pedigree Insights: Tapwrit
Twinspires: Turf Talk: Lamenting injuries on the Kentucky Derby trail

Rebel Stakes Stakes Kentucky Derby prep race

Oaklawn Park, Saturday March 18, post time: 7:06 pm ET
1 1/16 miles (8.5 furlongs)

2017 Rebel Replay

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2017 Rebel News & Recaps

2017 Rebel Preview
The first meaningful East-West matchup of the Triple Crown prep season will take place in the $750,000 Rebel Stakes on Saturday at Oaklawn Park where American Anthem from California and Malagacy from Florida will take on a slew of locally based horses to help clear the Kentucky Derby picture.

American Anthem (2-0) ships east for Racing Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, who has won three consecutive Rebel Stakes and six of the last seven. American Anthem was last seen running second to Gormley in the Grade 3 Sham Stakes.

“[Jockey] Mike [Smith] was really impressed with his toughness when he ran against Gormley,” Baffert said. “He had every reason to give in. We know he’ll fight; he’s got a big heart.”

Shipping (north)west for trainer Todd Pletcher is Malagacy (4-1), who has won his first two career starts by a combined 22 lengths. From a Rebel Stakes perspective, this is his stakes debut. From a Kentucky Derby perspective, he is fighting the so-called Apollo Curse. Malagacy made his career debut on January 4. I.e., he did not race as a two-year-old, and no horse has won the Kentucky Derby without racing as a two-year-old since Apollo in 1884 (the second Kentucky Derby).

Pletcher has never won the Rebel Stakes, but he has won the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby, for which the Rebel is a prep, twice: with Overanalyze in 2013 and Danza in 2014.

Adding to the East-West intrigue are another pair of shippers from California: Royal Mo (9-2), winner of the Grade 3 Robert Lewis Stakes, and maiden Sonneteer (301-) for trainer Keith Desormeaux, who last year won the Preakness Stakes with Kentucky Derby runner-up and Santa Anita Derby winner Exaggerator.

“It’s a good race with tough horses,” Royal Mo’s trainer John Shirreffs said. “We’ll just have to see how it ends up.” Until this week, Shirreffs had not been at Oaklawn since April 2010 when he saddled Zenyatta to her third consecutive victory in the Apple Blossom.

Of the other seven horses, only Untrapped (8-1) made his last start away from Oaklawn Park, finishing second in both the Grade 3 Lecomte and Grade 2 Risen Star Stakes at Fair Grounds.

“I like for us to run really big,” said Untrapped’s owner, Arkansas native Mike Langford. “He looks great and he’s been training really forwardly and is doing really good. After looking at the [past performances] I feel even better. When you look at them and see names like Baffert and Pletcher coming in it gets your attention, but those horses have a lot to prove also, so I feel good.”

The Grade 3 Southwest is the key Oaklawn prep for the Rebel, and while Pletcher did not return with winner One Liner, the second-, third-, fourth-, and sixth-place finishers are back for the Rebel, including beaten favorite Uncontested (10-1), who showed speed and faded last time. The gate-to-wire winner of the Smarty Jones two back will look to rebound on the front-end here. Petrov (9-2), Lookin At Lee (15-1), and Silver Dust (15-1) were 2nd, 3rd, and 4th, respectively.

Rounding out the field are recent maiden winners at Oaklawn Silver Bullion (30-1) and Appalachian Gem (30-1).

Ed DeRosa