Originally written on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 11/18/14
This weekends Horse Racing Race of the Week takes us to beautiful Hot Springs, Arkansas for the 2013 Rebel Stakes where Super Ninety Nine should be the horse to beat. A full field of 11 was drawn for the 1 1/16ths miles event which is a prep race for Oaklawn’s biggest Kentucky Derby prep race, the $1 million Arkansas Derby scheduled to be run on April 13 or just three weeks before the Kentucky Derby itself. Run every year since 1961 the Rebel has gain notoriety over the years as the list of past winners includes several classical winners including two Kentucky Derby winners (Sunny’s Halo-1983 and Smarty Jones-2004). Before Temperance Hill splashed home at long odds in the 1980 Belmont Stakes, he took the Rebel in the same year. Before Victory Gallop took Belmont Stakes in the greatest Horse Race I’ve ever seen, he won the Rebel in 1998, as well as Preakness winners Curlin (2007) and Lookin at Lucky (2010). Others notable winners over the years include champion Vanlandingham (1984), the gorgeous Demons Begone (1987), the ill-fated Pine Bluff (1992), the fleet Lawyer Ron (2006) the speedy The Factor (2011) and last years winner Secret Circle (2012). The Rebel has been good to trainer Bob Baffert as he has won the last three runnings (Lookin’ At Lucky, The Factor and Secret Circle) Also, take note of the race before the Rebel, the $150,000 Azeri Stakes where champion, and a winner of 6 of 8 lifetime starts, My Miss Aurelia, will be making her 2013 debut. This is a nice filly and I except another good year from her as she lines up against 6 others for the 1 1/16ths miles race.   Oaklawn Park – Saturday, March 16, 2013 Race 10 – 5:48 PM     Rebel Stakes (Grade: 2) Purse $600,000. Three Year Olds One And One Sixteenth Miles.     PP HORSE JOCKEY TRAINER EQUIP. MED. 1 Carve C. Nakatani 117 Lbs S. Asmussen - L 2 Treasury Bill J. Talamo 115 Lbs R. Ellis - L 3 Texas Bling M. Berry 119 Lbs D. Durham - L 4 Delhomme G. Gomez 115 Lbs T. Pletcher - L 5 Hardrock Eleven T. Thompson 115 Lbs D. Banks - L 6 Den’s Legacy R. Albarado 119 Lbs B. Baffert - L 7 Will Take Charge J. Court 122 Lbs D. Lukas - L 8 Stormy Holiday D. Bell 115 Lbs M. Robertson - L 9 Title Contender L. Quinonez 115 Lbs W. Catalano - L 10 Oxbow M. Smith 122 Lbs D. Lukas - L 11 Super Ninety Nine R. Bejarano 122 Lbs B. Baffert - L   Analysis: 1) Super Ninety Nine- Pulpit colt continues to surprise us all and I think even trainer Bob Baffert as well. I, and I’m sure a lot of other people, thought for sure this horse was a pure sprinter but he’s already proven is more than that….and maybe much more. In his last two, he beat a field of $80,000 optional claimers by 3 but, more importantly, he got the mile distance in a solid 1:35 flat. Then, of course, he massacres the Southwest Stakes in his last race as he won laughing (by 11 ¼ lengths) while registering a hefty 104 Beyer Speed Figure. I’m sure the sloppy track had something to do with that trouncing but still…he is now 2 for 2 at longer routes and 3 for 5 overall in his career. Lastly, he fired a bullet work (4F- :46.2) on Wednesday at Santa Anita which signals to me he’s sitting on yet another big race.   2) Treasury Bill- ahhhh yes, Treasury Bill…I’m glad he was entered in this field because he is another on a long list of horses I need to see more of. By the good looking Belmont Stakes winner Lemon Drop Kid, this colt is improving quickly as each race has been better than the previous one (even thought here has only been 3) topped off by a good closing second in the San Vicente at Santa Anita about a month ago. He tries a distance of ground for the first time but if he performs well on Saturday, and I have a hunch he will, he goes on my “Countdown to the Triple Crown” list as a legit Kentucky Derby prospect.   3) Oxbow- ok, first off it appears to me Lukas needs to keep this colt off synthetics and on traditional dirt. If you draw a line thru that last (Dec 15th, Cashcall Futurity Stakes) synthetic race at HollywoodPark, you’ll see he broke his maiden by almost 5, destroyed the field in the Lecomte (he won by 11 ½) and then ran a bang up second (beaten a half length) in the Risen Star Stakes even after a questionable ride. I fully expect another good effort come Saturday and he might even better this rating. Honorable Mentions: Dellhomme, speedster will/should be on the front end early but this is his first race since running a stubborn and close up third in the Remsen at Aqueduct last November. On paper, the Remsen look huge but with the recent disappointments of the two that finished in front of him (Overanalyze and Normandy Invasion) exactly how good does that race look now? Will Take Charge, upset winner (12-1) of the Smarty Jones Stakes two starts back but may not have cared for the sloppy track in the aforementioned Southwest Stakes in his last. Impeccably bred (Unbridled’s Somg- Take Charge Lady by Dehere) colt may bounce back in this spot while in the still capable hands of trainer D. Wayne Lukas. Carve, stretch runner is unbeaten in his career (2 for 2) with both wins coming over this track. His speed figures say he can contend in this race, trainer (Steve Asmussen) certainly knows how to win races too. He takes an enormous step up in company but he might go well, at long odds, in this race Record: 5-12 = 42% 2012: 24-74 = 32% To receive an email each time a new Horse Racing article is published, fill out the Email Notification Form   Little Bets N’ Pieces: **** 2011 Haskell Invitational winner Paynter continues to defy odds and build towards a racing comeback when he worked a half mile in :50 1/5 at Santa Anita Park March 5 under jockey Martin Garcia. It was the second work for the now 4-year-old son of the handsome Awesome Again as he worked three furlongs in :36 flat on Feb 26.   “Physically, the horse has zero issues,” owner Ahmed Zayat said. “Most significantly, in terms of attitude, weight, and coat color, he’s a happy horse. So many vets have checked him at Santa Anita since he’s been there; we constantly keep monitoring his heath. He’s been photographed almost every day and you can see that, doing what he’s doing, he’s loving it and he’s happy. You would have never known this horse was so sick.”  ”We are very, very happy he’s doing well and just want to get him back into a regular exercise pattern,” Zayat added. “He’ll breeze weekly. I haven’t looked at a condition book or discussed race plans with (trainer Bob) Baffert yet; I don’t want him to be under any pressure to have to meet a target. Bob told me today, ‘The work was just perfect; right now he’s golden.’ I know Baffert’s not known to work his horses slowly, but right now we’re just trying to get his fitness back and not have him do more than he needs to do.”   Zayat said that since Paynter overcame his very near death experience  last summer, which earned him the 2012 Secretariat Vox Populi Award, the colt has been improving mentally too. “It seems that he’s better than he used to be,” Zayat added. “He’s known to have his own attitude, meaning he was a little hard to handle, and it seems he’s matured now and is acting more professional. His sheer power, determination, and courage inspire me every time I want to give up on something. I wouldn’t have thought a horse would give me that inspiration in life, but he has. It’s thrilling to see him doing well back in training; it’s an absolute miracle by any kind of measure.”   Paytner’s amazing comeback took another step forward recently.   **** Congratulations are in order for jockey Calvin Borel who won race number 5,000 March 7 at OaklawnPark. Borel, 46, picked up the win aboard Hezunusal in the sixth race, a $15,000 maiden claiming event at six furlongs. Borel was stuck at 4,999 wins when he broke his wrist just a few days before the Oaklawn meet opened. He returned in late February, but couldn’t come up with a winner until Thursday. “When I started, I didn’t even dream of riding 5,000 races, let alone winning 5,000.” Borel said. “I would like to dedicate this race to my agent. He’s done a great job. We had three Kentucky Derby wins and Rachel Alexandra. I want to thank all the trainers and fans. I think they saw I always tried my best and appreciated it. I’m really happy I got this at Oaklawn. It’s one of my favorite tracks.”   Calvin Borel won race #5000 in his career recently.   **** Violence, one of my top 2013 Kentucky Derby contenders, has been officially (and expectantly) retired from racing and will be sent to Hill ‘n’ Dale Farms near Lexington, KY. Violence sustained a fracture to his right front medial sesamoid after his second-place finish (to Orb) in the Fountain of Youth Stakes at GulfstreamPark Feb. 23. “Violence was the consummate professional with a perfect temperament and unlimited potential,” trainer Todd Pletcher said. “This was a really, really good horse.” “The injury is fine, but it’s March, and by the time we test breed him and EVA vaccinate him he won’t be able to start breeding until April,” said John Sikura of Hill ‘n’ Dale. “He’s breeding sound, but we won’t stand him until next year.” Violence retires **** 135-1 shot winner of the $400,000 Risen Star Stakes I’ve Struck a Nerve sustained an ankle injury during a workout last week (March 9) and will miss both the Louisiana and the Kentucky Derbys I’ve Struck a Nerve breezed a half mile  in :48 2/5 with jockey James Graham in the saddle but when he came back to trainer Keith Desormeaux’s barn afterwards, he started showing signs of discomfort immediately “It was a beautiful work, the track was great, he came back great, James Graham loved the work, the time was legit and, as a matter of fact, it was above average,” Desormeaux said “He cooled out for about 20 minutes, walked fine, went out to get his bath and was normal. As soon as he was done with his bath we could see that he was a little off in his left front ankle”. “We X-rayed it and it looks like he’s got a fracture of a sesamoid. Not shattered. It is a serious injury but the prognosis is very favorable for a return to racing. But it’s going to be a while, maybe six months. “He’s going to Kentucky to Rood & Riddle to pay a visit to Dr. (Larry) Bramlage. He’s going to overlook the X-rays, maybe take some more, and then decide the best course of action”.  Like Violence, 135-1 shot Risen Star Stakes winner I’ve Struck a Nerve (#8), also was recently injured.   

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