Road to the Kentucky Derby: Rebel Stakes

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A handful of runners in Saturday’s Rebel will likely try to challenge Super Ninety Nine on the front end, but none have the speed to match him. D. Wayne Lukas’s Oxbow will likely go to the front with Super Ninety Nine, but breaking from post 10, he’ll have to use up some energy to get there. In his last start, the Grade II Risen Star Feb. 23, he also broke from the 10 post and was unable to get the early lead. He had the lead by the halfway point, but was caught in the stretch and wound up fourth, beaten a half-length.

Todd Pletcher’s Delhomme will make his long-awaited three-year-old debut and, if he returns to the form he showed in his last start, could be a viable opponent to Super Ninety Nine. That last start was in the Grade II Remsen Nov. 24 where Delhomme attempted to take the field wire-to-wire before battling a dual threat from Overanalyze and Normandy Invasion in the stretch. He finished three-quarters of a length behind the pair. Jockey Garrett Gomez, who's been the regular rider of Den's Legacy, will be aboard for the first time.

If enough of a battle occurs on the front-end, a closer like Steve Asmussen’s Carve, Ron Ellis’s Treasury Bill, or Bob Baffert’s Den’s Legacy may be able to capitalize, much like Hear the Ghost did last week in the San Felipe Stakes when front-runners Flashback and Goldencents wore one another out. Carve is undefeated in two starts and Treasury Bill has not finished off the board in his three career starts.

Den’s Legacy has already made 10 career starts, five of them in graded stakes. He’s faced the East Coast’s top Derby contenders—Flashback, Goldencents, and Violence—and hit the board with all three. Jockey Robby Albarado replaces Gomez as Den's Legacy's pilot. Baffert has become the Rebel ruler, so if his Super Ninety Nine doesn’t win, Den’s Legacy could keep Baffert’s Rebel legacy going.

The field from the rail out is: Carve, Treasury Bill, Texas Bling, Delhomme, Den’s Legacy, Will Take Charge, Stormy Holiday, Title Contender, Oxbow, and Super Ninety Nine.

The race is the 10th on Oaklawn’s Saturday card with a scheduled post time of 6:48 p.m. EDT. It can be seen on HRTV and TVG. Free PPs for the Rebel provided by Brisnet.

Photo: Courtesy Oaklawn Park/Oaklawn.com