Rebel Stakes preview

by TCI 3 years ago

The TCI guys discuss the big-picture impact of last weekend’s many Derby contenders in action, and tell you who looks best going forward. They also discuss the Over/Under on margin of victory for American Pharoah’s return in this Saturday’s Rebel S. (G2). How big of a show will the champ put on?

Watch it. Comment.

TCI Top 10

Rank Name Beyer
1 Carpe Diem 98
2 American Pharoah 101
3 Dortmund 104
4 Texas Red 104
5 Daredevil 107
6 Bolo 101
7 Prospect Park 102
8 Firing Line 103
9 Far From Over 96
10 Upstart 106

Off: Khozan, Ocean Knight
through 3/12/2015


  • Race fan

    Hey guys,
    I was wondering if you had any thoughts on any of the colts running in Dubai, particularly Maftool and Mubtaahij?
    They seem to have a pretty strong rivalry shaking up between the two of them with the rubber match set to take place in The UAE Derby.

    • Joel Cunningham

      Hey Race fan!

      We know that the winner potentially could earn a berth into the Derby, so it will be a race worth watching. Having said that, the information coming from Dubai has been relatively sparse, so we can only judge by their race performances and try to project. Last year, I gave Toast of New York no chance to winning the Derby had he come, because he forecasted to be a Polytrack and turf type of horse based on his pedigree and race results. After seeing the BC Classic, we know now that was wrong to pigeon hole him.

      Maktool interests me more because naturally he has more of a dirt pedigree than Mubtaahij who is all turf top and bottom. I know he’s run respectably over there on dirt, but, once again, one would have to be skeptical of the results over there to date, especially with what I would consider to be one of the deepest crops of Derby hopefuls in America at this point that I can recall (I really believe there are honestly 12-15 colts in America that you could make a legitimate argument for with less than 2 months to go). So I will watch the UAE Derby with an open mind and reserve total judgement until I’ve seen how that race plays out. The great thing about Meydan is that it’s dirt now, so projecting becomes a lot easier IMO. Further, we will see races like the Godolphin Mile and Dubai WC that – while run at different distances – will give us a bit of an indication of how the track is playing and how the paces are in general, since we all know these American horses and their racing history…so using Cali. Chrome, Prayer For Relief, Lea, Candy Boy, etc will hopefully be a tool to help based on how they perform.

      • Race Fan

        Hey Joel,
        Thanks for the response.
        Hard not to agree with you about the quality of three year olds in the US right now. Pretty exciting time!
        I agree that Maftool looks to be the standout of the two in the UAE Derby, I’d like to see him crack a few more top ten lists after the quick turn of foot he’s displayed in his last two races coupled with being by Hard Spun and out of a Mr Greeley mare I think he should handle the distance and the Churchill dirt pretty well. I placed a Derby future wager on him a while back and in light of Frosted and Imperia seeming to each take a big step backwards in their last races I think Godolphin may be in hot pursuit with what appears to be a live one in Maftool.
        Nonetheless, this is easily the best time of year for sports and it’s great to have you guys to help guide us through what is shaping up to be another great Triple Crown Season.
        Race Fan

        • Joel Cunningham

          Thanks! I am anxious to see UAE Derby and sort of compare it to how the Americans run in the other dirt races, as well as what styles were having success at Meydan, if any. Hopefully it will be fair and easy to read. Johnny Be Good is coming from America for the UAE Derby, and I think I have a pretty good gauge on that colt from his prior two races in the States (I think he’s a miler)…so he may prove to be a useful measuring stick for Maftool. We’ll see next week!

  • Hi Joel – Impressive return for American Pharoah in the Rebel. He did what he was supposed to do and crushed a weak group. The thing that concerns me about AP is the short 3 wk. layoff going from the AK derby to the KY derby, also seems to me that AP is a horse that wants maybe even needs to be on the lead, most important is can AP get 1 1/4 vs. top notch colts. Dortmund, Bolo, to name a few will not let AP loaf along on an easy lead. Quality closers will abound in the derby and will be flying late. Carpe Diem, Far From Over, Prospect Park, Firing Line, and I like Metaboss, these colts will test AP. The Rebel and maybe the AK derby could turn out to be a stroll in the park for AP, but I believe the KY derby is a whole different ball game.

    • Joel Cunningham

      JoeP, I am completely with you buddy. Is American Pharoah the best 3yo in training? I would say yes, and I would think most would agree with that thought. However, the classic 10-furlong distance obviously requires more than talent, you must have adequate stamina. On paper I question his Dosage and female stamina measures, and I do think his 2 route wins have come with ideal set-ups over racetracks that fit his style. I acknowledge all of that.

      On the other side of it, his sire Pioneerof the Nile provides him the opportunity to run further than you may think. If Baffert can win the BC Classic with a brilliant horse like Bayern — and he has all but come out and said Pharoah is the best talent he’s worked with in years — then why not? I assess his stride and he is a big, bounding colt who has plenty of length to his stride, which I like to see…on the contrary, Bayern has a shorter action befitting of a sprinter/miler.

      Another thing I liked today was the fact that he went as slow as he did early and still showed a burst. What I mean by that is he showed that he is more than a cruising speed horse, and a horse that was able to show a quick burst when extending his stride late after going slow early. Many “brilliant” types need to get into a good early cruising speed to get into a rhythm and run horses off their feet. I liked that he took off on cue when his rivals ranged up to him. I know he was much the best from a class perspective, so I agree the jury is still out on if he can/will be able to rate with good horses. But I don’t see why he must have the lead…I thought at one time he may need it…but I’m not convinced he does now. Now, I don’t think that means he’ll be able to take a bunch of dirt and rally from 5+ lengths out of it with a huge closing kick….but I could see him stalking a fast pace in the clear and then ranging up and taking over on the turn and rolling. And if the theoretical pace in the Derby is moderate or average, then he can be on it and prove mighty tough to catch, a la War Emblem or Bodemeister.

      Final thought: We’ll learn a lot more next in the Ark Derby. I am much more confident he’ll be fine at 1 1/8 miles than he is at the classic distances, but I dont think the competition will just allow him to gallop around there for a million dollar purse…so I have a feeling we’ll learn plenty about AP – to add to what we’ll know about the other contenders by then – to be able to make a better judgment on just how live he is in the Derby, as well as what the probable Derby pace scenario is looking like, etc.

      To me, he’s simply too good to have to of the Top 3 right now. I never liked horses like Quality Road and Verrazano and others in past years coming up to the Derby…they had monster talent but I questioned the Derby trip. With AP, I’m still undecided…and you could say the same about Daredevil, who I am apparently much higher on that most people 🙂

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