Secret Circle, winner of a division of the Southwest Stakes (G3) on Feb. 20, returns to Oaklawn Park for Saturday’s $500,000 Rebel Stakes (G2) to face a competitive group of 3-year-olds, including highly regarded Sabercat (G3).
Trained by Bob Baffert for Karl Watson, Michael Pegram and Paul Weitman, Secret Circle won last year’s inaugural Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Sprint at Churchill Downs. In his first start of 2012, the son of Eddington finished second behind Out of Bounds in Santa Anita’s Sham Stakes (G3) on Jan. 7 in his first try at the one-mile distance.
Shipped to Oaklawn for the Southwest along with stablemate Castaway (who won the other division of the Southwest), Secret Circle stalked the early pace in that one one-mile fixture, took command in the stretch while drifting out and defeated Scatman by a half-length under Rafael Bejarano. Scatman and third-place finisher Adirondack King are rivals again on Saturday in the Rebel. Bejarano returns in the saddle.
Sabercat, a Winchell Thoroughbreds colorbearer, is a son of Bluegrass Cat trained by Steve Asmussen. Sabercat closed out his juvenile season with a four-length romp in the rich Delta Jackpot Stakes (G3) at Delta Downs for his second consecutive stakes score. Corey Nakatani is slated to ride the colt who is out of the Forty Niner mare Miner’s Blessing.
Adirondack King, a Stonewall Farm-bred son of the late Lawyer Ron, returns for trainer John Servis. Owned by MarchFore Thoroughbreds, Adirondack King finished third in Tampa Bay Downs’ Pasco Stakes on Jan. 14 and most recently finished second behind Secret Circle in the faster division of the Southwest.
“We are ready,” said Servis. “Just one day to go. His last work we just wanted to let him finish up well. We just wanted him to stretch his legs because he’s pretty ready.”
Jake Mo, who finished second behind Castaway, is entered in the Rebel for trainer Allen Milligan. The son of Giacomo also was beaten by Sabercat in the Delta Jackpot.
Secret Circle/Coady photo