Today at Oaklawn, they run the Grade 2, $900,000 Rebel Stakes and it drew a strong field of 11, including several that come out of the strangely run Southwest Stakes.
Last month’s Southwest was run on a gold rail, which strongly aided the winner, My Boy Jack, and hurt several others.
Meanwhile, Solomini ships in from California for Bob Baffert in his first start after being DQ’d in the G1 Los Alamitos Futurity.
Let’s go through the field.
#1 Title Ready (8-1) – He steps up from an allowance win for Steve Asmussen. The 89 Beyer earned that day is not that far off what he’ll need here and that race was off a nine-week layoff. The speed horse he dueled with (and defeated) last time came back to run 2nd with the same 82 Beyer he earned that day. It’s also noteworthy that his return race, by far his best race, was the first time he wore blinkers. This is an interesting, improving runner that should be a good price.
#2 Curlin’s Honor (12-1) – He’s 2-2 for Mark Casse but both wins have come sprinting and he has to get a lot faster. He is by Curlin and there is some route quality in the pedigree (including four-time dirt route winner Swinger’s Honor), but he’ll have to take a big step forward on figures.
#3 Solimini (3-2) – He ran a good race in the Breeders Cup while forging a fast pace on the dead rail. His DQ in the Los Alamitos Futurity was a little suspect, and Bob Baffert seemingly wins with everything he sends to Oaklawn. The deserving favorite starts from Gate 3, but he’s not unbeatable and the Baffert-factor means he’s probably a bit overbet in a race that features some interesting alternatives.
#4 Magnum Moon (7-2) – One of the interesting alternatives is Magnum Moon, who won on debut and then an allowance for Todd Pletcher. He overwhelmed a field at Tampa at 1-10 without being asked while stretching out to two-turns for the first time. But again, in an open race, here’s a horse that is going to take a lot of money and is facing a very good field. We’d use him in a Pick-4 but prefer others.