The Rebel Stakes on Saturday is the type of race I love to bet on. We have newly turned three-year-old colts on the Derby Trail or looking to get on the Derby Trail. You have two big guns in Caddo River and Concert Tour, from two powerhouse barns, and I am willing to take a shot against both of them on Saturday. You gotta love this game.
Caddo River comes off a smart 10 plus length win in the Smarty Jones. I thought while a nice win, it looked better than it might have been. He was all alone on the lead, short stretch, not much competition. What did we expect? The heat gets turned up Saturday, and sure he may respond and handle it, but at a short price, I’ll take a shot against.
Big Lake interests me. He has back-to-back wins at the Fair Grounds going two turns and comes in with some bottom for Asmussen with main man Santana up. I think he can be placed wherever Ricardo wants to pace-wise, and I expect him to have gas left in the tank in. the stretch. He is a must use at a big price for me. He may just even be my top choice come race time.
Hozier is the other Bob Baffert horse at Oaklawn. Bob’s other horse is never a bad thing or bad option. He was no match for Concert Tour in his debut, and Bob publicly stated he went here because an allowance race or two at Santa Anita didn’t fill. I’ll pass on him, but if he pulls off the upset, I would not be shocked.
Get Her Number is another I give a big shot to. One for one on the dirt, he comes back off the lay-off a first time three-year-old, and I almost always like them to go forward off their best two-year-old race. If he does, and I expect he will, he is right in this. He can stay close and rally into the short stretch and I think he will like the set-up he gets.
Twilight Blue looks over-matched in here to me. I think he is good enough to perhaps land a piece, but I do not see him as a win contender.
Keepmeinmind is another first time three-year-old. I respect him, and he was good enough to break his maiden in a Grade 2 and ran third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile while still a maiden. I think he is OK, but he lacks speed, and I think barring a complete ace break down, he will need that on Saturday. He may have lost a bit of training due to the bad weather closing the track at Oaklawn, and that and his lack of speed is enough for me to take a shot against him. If they go real fast early however, I’ll wish I used him.
Concert Tour is the horse to beat for Bob Baffert. High on many Kentucky Derby lists, he will get a stern test in here. He will go two turns for the first time and get a different pace and set-up than what he has seen. He is going to be a short price and is the one they will all have to beat. Between the two favorites I would lean here, but again I will take a shot to beat them both.
Yet another first time three-year-old coming back is Super Stock. He does not have to improve a lot to contend here. I think he is the lesser of the two Asmussen horses, and I will toss him in the win slot, but he could easily get a piece of the purse.
I am going to use Big Lake and Get Her Number in the multi-race wagers. Both should offer nice value and make a nice ticket regardless of what happens in the other legs. I like that scenario.
I will also take them both on top of exactas, triples, and superfectas as I think the odds on both will be long enough to justify it.
I think anytime you think both favorites might get beat you almost have to take a shot, right or wrong. That is what I plan on doing.