Nadal should ace Rebel Stakes

The Grade II, $1 million Rebel Stakes puts three-year-olds in the spotlight this Saturday at Oaklawn Park. A field of eight will vie for a total of 85 Kentucky Derby points (paid out 50-20-10-5) in this 1 1/16th-mile affair. Post time for the Rebel, the 10th of 11 races on Saturday, is 6:23 p.m. ET.

#1 NADAL (5-2, morning-line favorite) has just two starts to his name but both efforts resulted in victories. He was last seen earning a hard-fought score over Ginobili in Santa Anita’s Grade II San Vicente going seven furlongs. In his debut, NADAL negotiated the often-tricky rail draw to win by open lengths. The $700,000 son of Blame is working well for Bob Baffert going into the Rebel. Unless he fails to handle a potential off-track, NADAL should win this race at short odds. Joel Rosario flies in for the call.

#6 THREE TECHNIQUE (7-2) splashed home second in Oaklawn’s one-mile Smarty Jones Stakes last time out over a muddy track. The son of Mr Speaker seems to appreciate every kind of surface and has improved gradually from start-to-start while adding distance. The extra 1/16th he gets the Rebel shouldn’t faze THREE TECHNIQUE, who drilled a bullet on Feb. 29 in preparation for this. Luis Saez climbs aboard.

#3 BASIN (3-1) and #4 SILVER PROSPECTOR (7-2) are logical runners to use underneath in the Rebel. BASIN hasn’t been seen since crushing the competition in Saratoga’s Hopeful Stakes last summer. SILVER PROSPECTOR took the Southwest Stakes here last month but is a “bounce” candidate. Javier Castellano and Ricardo Santana Jr. have the respective assignments.   

The play: $8 exacta 1/6, $4 exacta 1/3,4, $4 win 6 ($20)

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