A11 – G2 Rebel PreviewWelcome to “Anthony’s Eleven,” your source for anything and everything leading up to Kentucky Derby 144 on May 5th at historic Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. In the coming weeks, Anthony Stabile, best known for picking 2003 Kentucky Derby winner Funny Cide at odds of over 12-1, will break down the top contenders for this years’ Run for the Roses on VegasInsider.com, culminating on Friday, May 4th with an extensive analysis of every runner that steps into the gate for the most exciting two minutes in sports. On both May 4th and May 5th, Kentucky Oaks and Derby Day, you’ll be able to purchase Stabile’s Pick Packs, full of selections and plays for two of racings’ most exciting days of the year.
Anthony's Eleven (3/17/18)
|Anthony's Eleven (3/17/18)|
While there are two Kentucky Derby points races this weekend, I’m not going to bother covering the G3 Jeff Ruby Steaks over the Turfway Park synthetic surface. I know Animal Kingdom went that route to get the roses in 2011 but it’s just not worth talking about and there are only 20 points to the winner so they’d still likely need help getting into the Derby starting gate.
Instead, we’ll focus our time on the G2 Rebel at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Arkansas where 50 points go to the winner as well as the bulk of its $900,000 purse. Eleven have been entered into the 1 1/16 miles contest, led by the Bob Baffert trained Solomini.
The rumors before his Labor Day weekend debut were that this son of Curlin could run, and he confirmed that with an impressive debut tally at Del Mar going six and a half furlongs under the man who has ridden him in all of his starts, Flavien Prat.
It’s been G1 company for Solomini since. He was beaten over seven lengths by Bolt d’Oro when second to him in the Front Runner before a solid runner-up performance, one in which he made the lead on the far turn, behind Good Magic in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.
In his last start, the Los Alamitos Futurity in early December, Solomini crossed the wire first but was disqualified and placed third for allegedly causing interference between himself, stablemate McKinzie who was elevated to the win, and Instilled Regard. Like many others, I felt the stewards made the wrong decision and that Solomini was indeed best.
Since that start over three months ago, Solomini has had a minor setback or two, namely a fever that kept him out of training for about a week. And while he is playing a bit of catch-up at this point, he should be ready to roll in the Rebel from post 3.
Magnum Moon has been nothing short of sensational in his first two starts. Trained by Todd Pletcher, he broke his maiden by over four lengths at Gulfstream in his debut before shipping across Florida to take and entry level allowance/optional claimer going one mile and forty yards by a comfortable two lengths, both in similar just-off-the-pace style.
Along with the highly regarded Justify from Baffert, Magnum Moon is looking to become the first horse since Apollo in 1882 to win the Derby without a juvenile start. He’ll break from post 4 under Luis Saez.
G1 Hopeful winner Sporting Chance made his first start off that victory some five-plus months ago in the G3 Southwest last out over a muddy local strip, his first try around two turns for trainer D. Wayne Lukas.
Under Saez, Sporting Chance was in striking position before appearing to tire a bit on the far turn then getting bounced about a bit in the stretch. Considering everything he was asked to handle last time, he should move forward off of that effort and gets John Velazquez to ride for the first time. He’ll break from post 7.
Combatant leads a three-ply attack from the Steve Asmussen barn from post 10 with Ricardo Santana, Jr. aboard. Since a maiden win in his second career start, he’s been the runner-up in his next three starts, starting with the Springboard Mile at Remington Park. In his last pair over this strip, he was behind the ill-fated Mourinho in the Smarty Jones and was against an inside bias when widest of all in the Southwest.
Asmussen added blinkers to Title Ready for his sophomore debut here last out and was rewarded with a solid entry level allowance score by a drawing away, three-plus lengths in his two turn debut. He’ll try stakes company for the first time from his rail draw with Jose Ortiz in the irons.
Zing Zang broke his maiden three starts back from far back at the Fair Grounds before a fourth place finish in the G3 LeComte and fifth place effort in the Southwest. His late running style and the fact that he is by Tapit has drawn him comparisons to former Asmussen trainee Creator who won the 2016 Belmont Stakes. Corey Lanerie rides from post 9.
Curlin’s Honor has won both of his starts, sprinting, for Mark Casse and gets Florent Geroux in the boot from post 2. A Keeneland win in his debut last October was followed by an entry level allowance/optional claiming tally last out in the slop at the Fair Grounds nearly five months later.
High North will break from post 8 for trainer Brad Cox while making his sixth start at his sixth different racetrack. Fourth in the G2 KJC at Churchill to close out last season, he was fifth in the G2 Risen Star at the Fair Grounds to kick off 2018 last out. Gary Stevens rides.
Higher Power has won both of his two turn starts after a third-place finish in his sprint debut. This will be his first start against stakes company and since taking an entry level allowance/optional claimer over this course last out. Ricard Eramia rides for Donnie Von Hemel from post 5.
Pryor broke his maiden in his fourth try last out over a muddy local strip. David Cabrera rides for Ron Moquett from post 6.
Bode’s Maker has won just once from nine starts, a Remington Park maiden race going a mile back in September for Allen Milligan. Jareth Loveberry rides from post 11.
Prep Play of the Day
I want to give Sporting Chance another chance around two turns. Play $30 to win on him and make a $10 exacta box with Solomini. Total is $50. Good luck!!!!
Anthony “the Big A” Stabile can be heard regularly on the Horse Racing Radio Network from 3-6PM ET on Wednesday and 3-7PM ET Thursday and Friday. Tune in on Sirius 219, XM 206 or streaming live at horseracingradio.net. He also is a contributor on NYRA-TV as a guest on Talking Horses. Follow him on Twitter @thebigastabile
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