Down to the Wire: Rebel Stakes

Last week, we had two wire to wire winners on opposite ends of the country in Ring Weekend and California Chrome. California Chrome, winner of the San Felipe Stakes at Santa Anita was incredibly impressive, although after two massive efforts in a row, I wonder if perhaps he's peaked too soon. Ring Weekend, who was gelded at the start of the year, is a very interesting prospect, who seems to be getting good at the right time. This week, we have the Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park. 

3/15/2014: Race 10 G2 Rebel Stakes (8.5f)--
A smallish, but talented field of eight lines up at Oaklawn for the Rebel. The likely favorite will be Tapiture, who to this point has shown me he needs everything to go his own way in order to win. If Strong Mandate, who lines up to his outside, outbreaks him and gets to the lead, forcing Tapiture to possibly settle behind a wall of horses, that could be troublesome for Tapiture who looked uncomfortable when in a similar position in the Iroquois as a two-year-old. If he doesn't get boxed in along the rail, however, Tapiture will be very tough to beat. I couldn't consider Strong Mandate for the win after his run in the Southwest, however, unless it rains because his best race to date was on a sloppy track. Kobe's Back is very interesting coming off his big win over Cherubim and Rprettyboyfloyd in the San Vicente. He's only gone two turns once, but he clipped heels in that race, so it's tough to gauge whether or not he'll get the distance. That being said, if he gets the distance, the pace should be in his favor and even if it rains, his pedigree suggests he should be able to handle a wet track. Ride on Curlin is one to consider after finishing third despite a horrendous trip in the Southwest, but the fact that Calvin Borel jumped off him to ride Street Strategy is a bit off-putting.

Pick: Kobe's Back to win

Bankroll Play: $2 exacta wheel: 3,8 / 2,3,4,5,6,8

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