The Triple Crown is the most anticipated event in horse racing, but before we can get there, we need to pay mind to the Rebel Stakes. Last year’s winner made history, after all, so all eyes will be on Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Arkansas, to see who wins and if they have the goods to follow in the footsteps of American Pharoah.
It’s quite a reach to assume as much, especially since American Pharoah became the first Triple Crown winner since 1978, but what we’re looking for is the potential for dominance.
Any horse can be lauded as fast, sneaky or even a favorite, but is there a horse in the lot that can win the Rebel Stakes and then march through the 2016 Triple Crown? It seems unlikely, but we have to start somewhere.
Rebel Stakes Odds
The Rebel Stakes is chock full of Kentucky Derby contenders, and how they fare here could go a long way in determining both if they’re locked into the first leg of the Triple Crown, as well as if they’re a real threat to make a run at a sweep.
For now, we can just consider what is in store for the 2016 Rebel Stakes, which fires off on Saturday, March 19th.
Here are the top contenders with the best odds:
The odds state the obvious, but Suddenbreakingnews is the clear favorite to run away with the Rebel Stakes. The horse lacks great experience, but does have a win, including the Southwest Stakes.
It’s also comforting to know Suddenbreakingnews has at least placed in every single race. He’s been a bit inconsistent from race to race when it comes to winning, however, which could throw some people off the scent this weekend.
Experts are high on Cupid, who enters a pretty soft field and is guided by legendary trainer, Bob Baffert. Half of the last 10 winners at the Rebel Stakes have – you guessed it – been trained by Baffert. Cupid has been hot with a win and top-two finish, and could have his work cut out for him to top Suddenbreakingnews out of the middle (4th spot). Nevertheless, he remains one of the top contenders.
Creator and Madtap obviously have solid odds and are the only other colts with better than 12/1 odds in this race. That makes it beyond obvious that this pool isn’t very deep, but it also could put greater emphasis on Whitemore being a real threat to take first.
Whitmore enters the 2016 Rebel Stakes not far behind the leader and shares the second best odds with Cupid. We need to pay mind to Whitmore, who was running well before tiring out in his last race and has finished in the money in every race but one. That second place finish in the Southwest Stakes should be more encouraging than bad, and could show us how Whitmore can get past Suddenbreakingnews.
Creator and Matap could qualify as sleepers, but they round out the top-five. Instead, we need to look to Cherry Wine as the top sleeper that could emerge out of the pack.
Cherry Wine ties with Ralis and Discreetness with 12/1 odds coming into the Rebel Stakes, and could be a viable contender due to winning it’s last two starts in dominant fashion. It’s taken time for Cherry Wine to get to this point and it’s entirely possible he’s just a flash in the pan, but if you want a middle-ground bet that could stand the test of time in this race, this could be the pick.
Ralis and Discreetness are your other sleepers, but Discreetness doesn’t seem to want to run long and Ralis has one win that at this point feels more fluky than a sign of things to come. The public perception could be wrong on both here, but the writing does appear to be on the wall.
Will We Find Our Champion?
It depends what answer you’re looking for and how you interpret the question. Is this year’s Rebel Stakes winner going to move on to claim the Kentucky Derby? Possibly.
Are they going to run the table and win the Triple Crown? That’s doubtful. We hadn’t seen a horse win horse racing’s Super Bowl since 1978, and now we’re to expect it to happen in back to back years? It feels like a significant reach.
As for the 2016 Rebel Stakes, we’re going to roll with Whitmore. He ran out of gas in his last defeat, but it’s still possible he’s Suddenbreakingnews’ top competition going into this race.
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