(Trainer Tom Amoss will saddle No Parole on Saturday for owner Maggi Moss / Photo Courtesy of Keeneland)
From Matt Shifman / HorseRacingNation.com:
The $1 million Rebel Stakes (G2), which will be run at a distance of 1 1/16 miles on Saturday at Oaklawn Park, drew a field of eight 3-year-olds looking to earn 2020 Kentucky Derby qualifying points as the top four spots pay out on a 50-20-10-5 scale.
Since 2010, the Rebel Stakes has been won by only Hall of Fame trainers. Bob Baffert runners prevailed six times from 2010 to 2016; Todd Pletcher has two victories; and D. Wayne Lukas, Steve Asmussen and Richard Mandella show one win apiece. (Remember, last year this race split to accommodate California horsemen during a temporary closure at Santa Anita Park.)
In that Hall of Fame decade, however, there was only one horse that went on to victory in the Kentucky Derby: Triple Crown winner and no-doubt future Hall of Famer American Pharoah.
Here is a full-field analysis of the 2020 Rebel, which is slated as Race 10 of 11 with post time at 6:23 p.m. ET. The projected morning line is by Horse Racing Nation.
1) Nadal [ML 9-5 – Blame – B. Baffert/J. Rosario – 2: 2-0-0 – $153,000] Here is yet another Baffert trainee who quickly put together an impressive two races with a January debut at Santa Anita and then a Grade 2 victory in the San Vicente going seven furlongs. He was a heavy favorite in both of his starts and is likely to be the top betting choice again from the rail. He will have to go two turns for the first time, though Baffert has accordingly prepared Nadal with breezes of six and most recently seven furlongs. Also, the blinkers come off as he stretches out. Nadal closed as the 10-1 individual third choice in Pool 3 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager. Here, he’s a worthy favorite. The top choice.
2) Excession [ML 20-1 – Union Rags – S. Asmussen/T. Baze – 8: 1-0-3 – $88,612] One of three entries in the Rebel for Asmussen, he was no threat in two starts on the Derby trail in the Lecomte (G3) and the Risen Star (G2), both at Fair Grounds. Lifetime, he has only maiden win to his credit. That victory came on a sloppy track at Churchill Downs back in November. Toss.
3) Basin [ML 7-2 – Liam’s Map – S. Asmussen/J. Castellano – 3: 2-1-0 – $261,000] He was one of the top 2-year-olds at Saratoga last summer when he broke his maiden in his second start over Rebel rival Three Technique and followed that with a romp going seven furlongs in the Hopeful (G1) on a sloppy track. He has been training smartly at Fair Grounds with fast workouts at five furlongs and then most recently going six panels. He closed at 38-1 in the Future Wager, with this race sending him two turns off a layoff dating back to September. Win contender.
4) Silver Prospector [ML 4-1 – Declaration of War – S. Asmussen/R. Santana Jr. – 8: 3-0-2 – $713,051] This Asmussen runner brings an extensive race record and the highest earnings in the field for his third straight Oaklawn start. The 24-1 Future Wager shot bounced back from a fourth in his 2020 debut in the Smarty Jones Stakes with a come-from-behind victory in the Southwest Stakes (G3). Since breaking his maiden in his fourth start, he has been right there at the finish in all of his races except when over the mud in the Smarty Jones. Despite that last local win, he could go overlooked at the windows again. Use underneath.
5) No Parole [ML 6-1 – Violence – T. Amoss/J. Talamo – 3: 3-0-0 – $114,000] The unbeaten Louisiana-bred steps up to face open company for the first time after three dominant front-running victories in state-bred races. First, he won maiden and allowance races by open lengths at Fair Grounds before a two-turn stakes at Delta Downs. The three victories were by a combined 34 lengths as the odds-on favorite each time. At the very least, No Parole will make sure there is a presence on the front end early in the race. But this is a significant class test. Toss.
6) Three Technique [ML 6-1 – Mr Speaker – J. Englehart/L. Saez – 5: 2-2-0 – $154,750]. Owned by former NFL coach Bill Parcells, this colt has run first or second in all five of his starts, always as the favorite. That includes a runner-up in the Smarty Jones back in January. Connections didn’t go in the Southwest, waiting to go in the Rebel and Arkansas Derby (G1) on their way to Kentucky. Three Technique was bet to 29-1 in the recent Future Wager pool. Use underneath.
7) Coach Bahe [ML 20-1 – Take Charge Indy – P. Bauer/S. Sanjur – 3: 1-1-0 – $32,000] After two turf starts, he broke his maiden in a seven-horse field on a muddy track at Fair Grounds in a race that was meant for the grass. He was a last minute addition to the field for trainer Phil Bauer. Toss.
8) American Theorem [ML 10-1 – American Pharoah – G. Papaprodromou/T. Pereira – 2: 1-1-0 – $96,600] This son of American Pharoah has been away from the races since finishing second, six lengths behind Eight Rings in the Grade 1 Santa Anita stakes race named for his sire. He raced greenly down the stretch that day as he tried two turns for the first time. Six months later, he makes his 3-year-old debut on the Derby trail against a strong field. American Theorem shows a recent fast, California-style workout going six furlongs. This is a big ask. Toss.