2023 Rebel Stakes Cheatsheet
By TwinSpires Editorial Team, Sponsored Content

By Vance Hanson (TwinSpires.com)

1. VERIFYING (2-1) – Champagne (G1) runner-up had no luck from the start of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1), but his return to action in a Jan. 14 allowance over this strip was a tour de force; not only was it achieved by a wide margin and worthy of a 95 Brisnet Speed rating, but he was flattered by the subsequent allowance wins by returning rival Gun Pilot and Two Eagles River; son of Justify has the scope to become the barn’s leading Kentucky Derby (G1) contender with a repeat or better of that effort.

2. POWERFUL (20-1) – The first of three from Asmussen; has achieved all of his success sprinting to date, including a one-length victory in a modest renewal of the Ed Brown S. at Churchill; his only two-turn try, in a top-heavy renewal of the Breeders’ Futurity (G1), was a bust from start to finish, but so poor it probably wasn’t indicative of his actual ability; still, he’s conceding recency to all of the major players and has a number of lengths to improve from a speed figure perspective.

3. RED ROUTE ONE (10-1) – Plenty of things to like from a class perspective; third in a key renewal of the Breeders’ Futurity last fall, he didn’t have much luck when fourth in the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2), and last time was easily second best in the Southwest (G3) behind the runaway Arabian Knight; the possibility of another off track perhaps not ideal for him as his record in such conditions is mixed, but clearly a horse not to be discounted regardless of the price; to win, he’ll need to take another significant step forward and create some of his own luck.

4. GUN PILOT (8-1) – No match for Verifying two back, but showed an ability to stalk-and-pounce in the allowance follow-up and turned in what was a visually impressive win; it wasn’t especially fast, though, and returning rival Bourbon Bash was a fairly exposed sort going in; nonetheless, this colt has done little wrong to this point and has room for further improvement now that he’s proven to be more versatile in his running style.

5. GIANT MISCHIEF (5-2) – Winner of his first two starts, including an impressive Keeneland allowance score, and stakes debut in the Springboard Mile at Remington a decent try despite a slow start and a middle move he eventually couldn’t sustain; some doubts remain whether he’ll be as effective around two turns as he is around one, given dam was a G2-winning sprinter, but this distance seems within his scope for the time being and he’s clearly fast enough to contend with these; recent worktab adds to his appeal.

6. REINCARNATE (7-2) – A surprise winner of the Sham (G3) at Santa Anita, which was basically a Baffert stable scrimmage, and in the process he bested Newgate, who went on to capture the Robert B. Lewis (G3) but is now off the Kentucky Derby trail with an injury; the possibility of an off track probably helps him, given his pedigree and early foot, though not necessarily optimistic about his chances going slightly farther if he once again is pressured from the start; regardless, a likely underlay on the board.

7. CONFIDENCE GAME (15-1) – Defeated future Holy Bull (G3) winner Rocket Can and subsequent Withers (G3) scorer Hit Show in that Churchill allowance two back, and last time raced wide before tiring through the stretch of the Lecomte (G3), which was won by the nice colt Instant Coffee; runner-up there was Two Phil’s, who finished third in last week’s Risen Star (G2); if he can work out a better trip here, he could produce his best run yet; he certainly has to as his figs to date are relatively light.

8. TALLADEGA (30-1) – Despite three modest efforts to start his career, he wound up a lukewarm favorite last out and pulled out a gutsy half-length win after leading from the start; obviously wasn’t much substance to that field if he was the public choice, and this dive into deeper waters is a tall order by the looks of things; likely the longest shot on the board.

9. EVENT DETAIL (30-1) – Overcame a wide draw to break his maiden last out going a mile over Turfway’s Tapeta track, and is ambitiously spotted against winners for the first time; lone prior try over the dirt perhaps not a true bill as it was his debut, around one turn, and included multiple next-out winners; still, it’s a tough task, even more so if he falls far back early over a track that will potentially be wet.

10. BOURBON BASH (20-1) – Took a useful drop in class last time, though wound up running into Gun Pilot; while a much more encouraging effort than he’d shown in quite a while, it doesn’t necessarily stamp him as a possible upsetter, especially as some of the rivals he’s lost to in minor stakes of late will also be longshots in this spot.

11. FROSTED DEPARTURE (20-1) – Although his effort in the Southwest was easily his best to date around two turns, he still proved no match for the exciting Arabian Knight and was also two lengths adrift of runner-up Red Route One; with 10 starts already in the rear view mirror, he’s well exposed compared to others; another minor share likely the best case scenario.