The Rebel Stakes is scheduled for Saturday, March 14 at 7:06 p.m. ET from Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, AR.
American Pharoah is well on his way to being the favorite in the Kentucky Derby. Before he does that though, he must qualify for the Run for the Roses. He'll take his first competitive strides as a three-year old on Saturday against a tough looking field at the Rebel Stakes.
American Pharoah has only run three times in his career. In his first maiden effort, he was beaten badly in what has largely been thought of as a throwaway race. Since that point, he blew through the field at the Del Mar Futurity, winning by 4 3/4 lengths, and he won the Front Runner Stakes by 3 1/4 lengths to follow that up.
The question mark surrounding American Pharoah is the time he has taken between races.
It isn't an unusual protocol for Bob Baffert to let his three-year olds get plenty of rest to get ready for the grueling Triple Crown, especially when he believes that he has a special colt.
Baffert has his top jockey, Victor Espinoza on the mount for American Pharoah, and he is expected to romp on Saturday.
Aside from American Pharoah, there are a ton of question marks heading into this race.
The second-rated colt per Prime Power is Madefromlucky. This is a colt which took four tries to break his maiden, and he has never run in a graded stakes race.
That said, Madefromlucky has fantastic breeding. His sire, Lookin At Lucky, won the Preakness Stakes in his day, and he was the favorite at the Run for the Roses. He also has been running quickly in workouts, and enters off the best allowance race of his brief career in February.
The Truth Or Else is another colt which could be worth watching. Calvin Borel is going to have this pony right where he wants him to kick this race off – on the rail. Borel put together his near-patented move of sending his horse from the back of the pack to the front on the rail at the Southwest Stakes last month, but The Truth Or Else came up just shy of the victory, running out of gas right at the very end.
However, a 92 Beyer Speed Rating was a good sign for a colt that hadn't broken 87 before that point. The Truth Or Else is running in his fifth graded stakes race here in the Rebel Stakes on Saturday, and that in and of itself is impressive and proof that Kenneth McPeek believes that he’s training a Kentucky Derby hopeful.
Bold Conquest, bred from the super-horse Curlin, could be worth watching as well. He has never run a 90 Beyer, something that would have to change on Saturday for him to win the Rebel Stakes, but he was amongst the favorites at the Breeders' Cup Futurity, and the oddsmakers rarely come out looking that bad.
Bold Conquest was only good for fourth at the Southwest Stakes, a disappointing result for a colt which went off the board at 6 to 1, but he could be in better shape with a fast track, something he didn't have in what turned out to be sloppy conditions back in February.
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