Rebel Stakes preview

by TCI 5 months ago

The guys of TCI try to put the pieces together after an up-and-down week that included the injury of Top Billing, a 10-length loss by Honor Code, the continued disappearance of Shared Belief, among other things. They also preview Saturday’s Rebel S. (G2) at Oaklawn.

Watch it. Comment.

TCI Top 10

Rank Name Bris Comments
1 Cairo Prince 100 Recent bullet work puts FL Derby squarely in his crosshairs; Darley’s investment shows McLaughlin’s confidence.
2 Honor Code 98 Not overly disappointed with his allowance loss, but it seems like they’re pressing; Could he skip the Derby now?
3 Strong Mandate 97 Becoming a hard-luck colt like last year’s stablemate Oxbow, but he ran well in the Southwest despite all of the miscues.
4 Constitution 96 Showed his promise while crushing a good Gulfstream allowance field, but the water gets much deeper in FL Derby.
5 Samraat 99 Still lugging in and not putting away his competition in the stretch, but also still winning; Wood Memorial will tell all.
6 Tonalist 93 Ran well behind a loose Constitution over a track that didn’t favor his style; Physically looks tailor-made for the Classics.
7 Candy Boy 97 Another fast developer suited for Classic distances; Could now be California’s top hopeful with Shared Belief out.
8 Conquest Titan 93 Flat finish at Tampa can be forgivable over that surface, but could he just be going the wrong direction? Must bounce back.
9 California Chrome 102 Cal-bred has clearly improved, but he did get an ideal trip and ran away from an uninspiring group in the San Felipe.
10 Tapiture 99 Moves onto list as a horse for Churchill’s course in very capable hands; Distance, not quality, could be the main hurdle.


OFF: Top Billing, Shared Belief
through 3/13/2014

Discussion

  • 1JoeP

    Hi Joel – Just when it was looking like Strong Mandate had a chance to run a big race, the Rebel turned into a bumping match in late stretch. Strong Mandate broke well, stalked Ride on Curlin, then took the lead. When he was cruising on a 24 quarter, then 48 half, I thought he would kick for home in the stretch, but couldn’t shake off Ride of Curlin. Tapiture was right there at the end, and Hoppertunity came running from the outside. Strong Mandate only has 11 derby points, and is in the same boat as Conquest Titan. Both of these colts will need a 3rd or better in their final race to get into the derby. After the race Lukas indicated that he wasn’t sure what was next for Strog Mandate. I am sure that he is also frustrated with the results of the race, knowing that a 1st or 2nd would have gotten him into the derby. Staying in Arkansas for the Arkansas derby would make sense to me, but you never know. Maybe the 1 1/8 will create more seperation from the horses and give Strong Mandate a chance to stretch those big legs of his. I am hoping he can get into the Derby, he could be a threat at 1 1/4.

    • Joel Cunningham

      Hey Joe! I’m very disappointed in Strong Mandate. After that relatively easy of a pace on a sloppy track which he showed he loved in the Hopeful, I thought he had absolutely no excuses, and like you, I too thought he was going to defeat that field relatively easy when they hit the half-mile pole. But Rosario had nowhere close to the horse I thought he would have (and should have had) on the far turn. He was basically one-paced all the way around there, and now I seriously question how big of a Derby contender he is. In my opinion, either something is physically off with the colt, or perhaps he’s just a middle-distance horse. I find the latter very hard to be true because he physically looks as much like a Classic horse as any of them and he’s by Tiznow…but that performance really has me scratching my head.

      In my opinion, this race is going to be very hard to come away from it with any strong opinions of any other sort. The top 4 finishers were all right that at the wire and it just feels like an odd result, perhaps because the track could have been very typey due to the sloppy conditions. So bumping aside, it’s hard for me to want to give credit to any of them.

      Just another weekend now that muddies the Derby picture and makes it increasingly harder to figure out. I love the challenge, as I’m sure you do too! I am getting the feeling that the Florida Derby is going to be the race that will tell us the most, and the Wood Memorial will be right behind it. Cannot wait!


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