Oaklawn Park will be the site for two crucial Kentucky Derby preps on Saturday, as they split their Grade II Rebel Stakes into two divisions. The first division of the 1 1/16th-mile heat, which drew a field of nine, is slated for Race 8. Approximate post time for the $750,000 Rebel is 5:57 p.m. EST. You can find our preview of the second division of the Rebel here.
#8 GALILEAN (3-1) has faced nothing but California-breds since winning his debut in a restricted stake at Los Alamitos last September, but he continues to impress. The Jerry Hollendorfer trainee lost his second career start by a neck before producing consecutive runaway wins in the King Glorious Stakes and Cal Cup Derby, much like California Chrome did in 2014. Based on speed figures, GALILEAN is good enough to compete with graded stakes runners. He’s also drilling nicely in the mornings for the Rebel. GALILEAN just has to prove that he can win outside of his home state. Flavien Prat sees fit to stay aboard the son of Uncle Mo.
#9 IMPROBABLE (3-5, morning-line favorite) has few knocks against him, save for the December layoff. But Bob Baffert typically gives his top Kentucky Derby prospects just two starts before the first Saturday in May, so it’s not all that alarming. IMPROBABLE was a perfect 3-for-3 at age two, crushing the competition in both the Street Sense Stakes at Churchill and the Los Alamitos Futurity. Among those that ran behind him last time out were next-out winner and stablemate Mucho Gusto, and fellow Rebel contender EXTRA HOPE. IMPROBABLE is training very well for this and retains Drayden Van Dyke.
#2 LONG RANGE TODDY (10-1) has hit the board in five straight starts, including the Smarty Jones and Southwest Stakes over this course. However, his speed figures are solid but not spectacular, so he’s best left underneath in the exotics. Jon Court takes the reins on LONG RANGE TODDY for the first time.
#1 EXTRA HOPE (6-1) moves up in the event of a scratch. He crushed a group of three-year-olds, albeit over a sloppy track, in his seasonal debut at Santa Anita last month. Perhaps he has improved with age. Mike Smith takes over as Prat landed on the top choice.
The play: $5 trifecta 8,9/8,9/2 ($10)
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