2022 Rebel Stakes Cheat Sheet: Get to Know the Horses

The Road to the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve is in full swing, and the stakes will only get bigger over the next few weeks. This Saturday, Oaklawn Park will host perhaps the most important prep race to date, when a field of eleven 3-year-olds will square off in the $1 million, Grade 2 Rebel Stakes. The Rebel winner will receive 50 Derby qualifying points, the runner-up 25, the third-place finisher 10, and the fourth-place finisher 5.

In recent years, the Rebel has become a springboard to Triple Crown success. Two Rebel winners have gone on to Derby glory: Smarty Jones in 2004 and American Pharoah in 2015. Other Rebel winners to win a Triple Crown race include Pine Bluff, Victory Gallop, Curlin, and Lookin At Lucky.

This year’s Rebel will be the 11th race on the Saturday card at Oaklawn, with a listed post time of 6:22 p.m. ET. The race will be shown on TVG and on FS2 part of the “America’s Day at the Races” broadcast.

Let’s meet this year’s Rebel field.

1. Kavod (12-1 morning-line odds)

Jockey: Francisco Arrieta

Trainer: Chris Hartman

Owners: James Rogers and Michael Robinson

Career record: 11 starts – 3 wins –1 second – 0 thirds

Career earnings: $293,000

Earnings per start: $26,636

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 91

Kentucky Derby points: 2

Pedigree: Lea – Weekend Connection, by Pulpit

Color: Chestnut

Running style: Pacesetter/press the pace

Notable achievements/interesting facts: Kavod is the most experienced member of the field. He raced nine times as a 2-year-old and capped off his freshman campaign with a win in the six-furlong Advent Stakes on Dec. 3 at Oaklawn. So far this year, he’s racked up two fourth-place finishes, in the Smarty Jones Stakes on New Year’s Day and the Southwest Stakes on Jan. 29. Both times, he sat on or near the early pace, led in the stretch, and was collared late. In the Southwest, he went to the early lead and set fast fractions, resisting jockey Arrieta’s attempts to get him to settle. If he can relax early and set a more moderate tempo, he should have enough left late to hang on at a decent price.

2. Newgrange (9-5)

Jockey: John Velazquez

Trainer: Bob Baffert

Owners: SF Racing, Starlight Racing, Madaket Stables, Robert E. Masterson, Stonestreet Stables, Jay A. Schoenfarber, Waves Edge Capital, Catherine Donovan, Golconda Stable, and Siena Farm

Career record: 3 starts – 3 wins – 0 seconds – 0 thirds

Career earnings: $552,000

Earnings per start: $184,000

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 98

Kentucky Derby points: 0

Pedigree: Violence – Bella Chianti, by Empire Maker

Color: Dark bay or brown

Running style: Press the pace

Notable achievements/interesting facts: Unlike the rest of his rivals, Newgrange will not earn any Derby points in the Rebel no matter how he does. That’s because his trainer, Bob Baffert, is suspended from Churchill Downs for two years due to a drug positive found in Medina Spirit, who crossed the wire first in last year’s Derby but was disqualified on Monday due to the positive test. Although Newgrange may not get the chance to show his stuff on the first Saturday in May at Churchill, he has an excellent chance to win this race. Earlier this year, he won the Sham Stakes at Santa Anita Park by 2 ¼ lengths on New Year’s Day and then posted a 1 ½-length win in the Southwest a few weeks later. In the Southwest, he broke from post position 10 and raced wide throughout, but had enough left in the tank to pull clear late and hold on for the win. In the Rebel, he has a much more advantageous draw and will likely rate just off the pace, either on the inside or perhaps one path off the rail. From there, he’ll be in a prime spot to make a winning move. While Baffert has won the Rebel eight times, Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez has yet to win this race.

 

3. Cairama (15-1)

Jockey: Geovanni Franco

Trainer: Steve Asmussen

Owners: Prince Sultan bin Mishal al Saud

Career record: 4 starts – 1 win – 0 seconds –1 third

Career earnings: $71,125

Earnings per start: $17,181

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 86

Kentucky Derby points: 0

Pedigree: Cairo Prince – Sadie Be Good, by Big Drama

Color: Dark bay or brown

Running style: Stalker

Notable achievements/interesting facts: Cairama had high expectations from the start. At the Ocala Breeders’ Sale in March 2021 he sold for $525,000. The Cairo Prince colt held on to break his maiden in his first start at Belmont Park on Sept. 17 of last year, but since then he has been winless in three starts. In his lone race this year, he came from far behind to finish sixth in the Smarty Jones Stakes, beaten 4 ½ lengths. He tends to rate towards the middle or the back of the pack and lumber along in the stretch while never seriously threatening the winner. The best-case scenario for Cairama may be a plodding third or fourth-place finish at big odds. He’s one of three horses entered in the Rebel for Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen, who is currently in first place in the Oaklawn trainer standings. Asmussen has won the Rebel four times: with Snuck In in 2000 (ridden by his brother, Cash); Windward Passage in 2002; Curlin in 2007; and Long Range Toddy in 2019.

4. Un Ojo (12-1)

Jockey: Ramon Vazquez

Trainer: Ricky Courville

Owner: Cypress Creek Equine

Career record: 5 starts – 1 win – 2 seconds – 0 thirds

Career earnings: $176,321

Earnings per start: $35,264

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 77

Kentucky Derby points: 4

Pedigree: Laoban – Risk a Chance, by A.P. Indy

Color: Dark bay or brown

Running style: Stalker/closer

Notable achievements/interesting facts: “Un Ojo” means “an eye” in Spanish, and it’s a fitting moniker for this New York-bred gelding, who is missing his left eye. He’s finished second in his last two starts, both times at big odds. He lost the New York Stallion Series Stakes at Aqueduct on Dec. 19 by a neck at 23.20-1, and then closed for a runner-up finish in the Withers Stakes at the same track on Feb. 5 at 28.25-1. He returns to the Ricky Courville barn here, having spent his time in New York with Tony Dutrow, and gets a new rider in the saddle in Ramon Vazquez. Although his recent lines look impressive at first glance, he’s never run a speed figure that’s competitive with the types of horses he’ll face Saturday. He also tends to come from well off the pace, and may need a lot of horses in front of him to stop to have a serious chance. He looks like (no pun intended) a good horse to use underneath in trifectas and superfectas.

 

5. Texas Red Hot (12-1)

Jockey: Ricardo Santana Jr.

Trainer: Randy Morse

Owner: D D Stables

Career record: 5 starts – 2 wins – 1 second – 0 thirds

Career earnings: $133,670

Earnings per start: $26,734

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 85

Kentucky Derby points: 0

Pedigree: Texas Red – Ainsley, by Officer

Color: Bay

Running style: Stalker/closer

Notable achievements/interesting facts: Saturday’s Rebel will be the first start outside of Kentucky for Texas Red Hot, and his first start as a 3-year-old. He made his graded stakes debut in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes at Churchill Downs last out and was a well-beaten tenth. The Kentucky Jockey Club has gotten some attention lately, as many of the horses who have run in it have gone on to success. Classic Causeway, the second-place finisher, and third-place finisher White Abarrio both came back to win graded stakes races earlier this month, while the Kentucky Jockey Club winner, Smile Happy, finished second in the Risen Star Stakes Presented by Lamarque Ford last Saturday. Texas Red Hot showed promise two starts ago, when he came from well behind to win a first-level allowance optional claiming race at Churchill, and he has been working well since arriving at Oaklawn in mid-January. He’s looking for a bounce-back performance in his sophomore debut.

6. Stellar Tap (10-1)

Jockey: Cristian Torres

Trainer: Steve Asmussen

Owners: L and N Racing and Winchell Thoroughbreds

Career record: 4 starts – 1 win – 0 seconds – 1 third

Career earnings: $71,292

Earnings per start: $17,823

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 87

Kentucky Derby points: 0

Pedigree: Tapit – Gioia Stella, by Medaglia d’Oro

Color: Gray or roan

Running style: Press the pace

Notable achievements/interesting facts: No matter what he does in the rest of his career, Stellar Tap has already secured his place in racing history. He won the fifth race at Saratoga last Aug. 7 by 5 ¼ lengths, and in doing so, gave Steve Asmussen his record-breaking 9,446th career win. The Tapit colt pressed the pace and drew off impressively that day but has not found that promising form since. He was well beaten in his final two starts as a 2-year-old and was third in his 3-year-old debut at Fair Grounds on Jan. 22. The winner of that race, Pioneer of Medina, came back to finish fourth in the Risen Star Stakes Presented by Lamarque Ford. Stellar Tap ran a career-best figure on the Equibase scale in his Fair Grounds start and was just a few points off his career-best Brisnet mark. With this being his second start off the layoff, he’s a candidate for serious improvement. If he wins he’d be the first gray or roan horse to take the Rebel since Cupid in 2016.

7. Ben Diesel (6-1)

Jockey: Jon Court

Trainer: Dallas Stewart

Owner: Willis Horton Racing

Career record: 4 starts – 1 win – 0 seconds – 1 third

Career earnings: $164,110

Earnings per start: $41,028

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 93

Kentucky Derby points: 3

Pedigree: Will Take Charge – Girls Secret, by Giant’s Causeway

Color: Chestnut

Running style: Press the pace

Notable achievements/interesting facts: Another Kentucky Jockey Club alum, Ben Diesel finished fourth in that race after pressing the pace and fading. He made his 3-year-old debut in the Smarty Jones and dueled on the lead on the outside before fading to seventh. In the Southwest Stakes, his most recent start, he rated just off the lead, moved into contention in the stretch, and made mild ground while drifting out late. He’s made a fine living as of late getting checks in big races, but he hasn’t yet shown the punch needed to win one. Jon Court has won the Rebel twice, winning with Will Take Charge, Ben Diesel’s sire, in 2013, and with Long Range Toddy in 2019. Court rode Long Range Toddy in the 2019 Kentucky Derby and became the oldest jockey to ever ride in that race.

 8. Chasing Time (8-1)

Jockey: Tyler Gaffalione

Trainer: Steve Asmussen

Owners: MyRacehorse Stable

Career record: 5 starts – 2 wins – 2 seconds – 0 thirds

Career earnings: $179,460

Earnings per start: $35,892

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 93

Kentucky Derby points: 0

Pedigree: Not This Time – Race Hunter, by Dixie Union

Color: Dark bay or brown

Running style: Press the pace

Notable achievements/interesting facts: The strongest Steve Asmussen entrant in the Rebel, Chasing Time makes his stakes debut off an impressive first-level allowance win at Oaklawn on Jan. 14. As the overwhelming 1-2 favorite, he rated just off the early lead and drew away in the stretch to win by 7 ¾ lengths. It was his first start around two turns and he passed the test with flying colors. This son of good young sire Not This Time doesn’t have the class lines of some of his Rebel rivals. In fact, eight of his 10 opponents have stakes experience. However, he’s shown a lot of promise and he has the perfect running style for a race like this. Chasing Time should sit just off the early lead a few paths off the rail and then make his move as they begin to round the final turn. Tyler Gaffalione, normally based at Gulfstream Park in Florida, comes in for the mount. This is the first time he’s ridden Chasing Time, as he chases his first Rebel win.

 9. Barber Road (9-2)

Jockey: Reylu Gutierrez

Trainer: John Ortiz

Owner: WSS Racing

Career record: 6 starts – 2 wins – 3 seconds – 0 thirds

Career earnings: $300,720

Earnings per start: $50,120

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 96

Kentucky Derby points: 8

Pedigree: Race Day – Encounter, by Southern Image

Color: Gray or roan

Running style: Press the pace/stalker

Notable achievements/interesting facts: Barber Road has been the definition of “close but no cigar” in his last three starts. He finished second in the Lively Shively Stakes last fall at Churchill Downs and then in both the Smarty Jones Stakes and the Southwest Stakes this year. In the Smarty Jones, he closed well in the last sixteenth to finish two lengths behind the victorious Dash Attack, while in the Southwest, he came from 12 lengths out of it to lose by 1 ½ lengths to Newgrange. He hasn’t been able to save much ground or get truly clear sailing in his last two starts, and the outside draw here does him no favors. If he can work out a better trip he’ll have a better chance of turning the tables. Barber Road’s sire, Race Day, was a two-time graded stakes winner at Oaklawn, taking the Razorback Handicap and the Oaklawn Handicap in 2015. John Ortiz is fourth in the trainer standings at Oaklawn, with 14 wins from 65 starts. He’s looking for his fourth graded stakes victory.

10. Ethereal Road (12-1)

Jockey: Luis Contreras

Trainer: D. Wayne Lukas

Owner: Aaron Sones

Career record: 4 starts – 1 win – 0 seconds – 1 third

Career earnings: $63,545

Earnings per start: $15,886

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 88

Kentucky Derby points: 0

Pedigree: Quality Road – Sustained, by War Front

Color: Bay

Running style: Closer

Notable achievements/interesting facts: After three uninspiring 2021 efforts in maiden special weight company, Ethereal Road broke through in a big way in his 3-year-old debut. He came from 16 lengths behind to win a maiden special weight race going away at Oaklawn on Jan. 29. He covered 1 1/16 miles in 1:46.82, about a second slower than Newgrange ran in the Southwest about an hour earlier. Ethereal Road enters this race in career-best form, and is a candidate to pull off the upset for the legendary D. Wayne Lukas. Considered by many one of the greatest trainers of all time, the 88-year-old Lukas has trained Thoroughbreds for more than four decades. He’s won more than 4,800 races lifetime, with earnings of more than $284 million. He’ll also saddle Longines Kentucky Oaks contender Secret Oath in the Honeybee Stakes earlier on Saturday’s card. Lukas has won the Rebel twice, with Manastash Ridge in 1989 and Will Take Charge in 2013. If Ethereal Road makes it to the Derby, he’d be Lukas’s 49th Derby starter. Only Todd Pletcher, a former Lukas assistant, has saddled more horses in the Derby.

 11. Dash Attack (8-1)

Jockey: David Cohen

Trainer: Ken McPeek

Owners: Catalyst Stable, Magdalena Racing, Kevin Pollard, and Patty Slevin

Career record: 3 starts – 2 wins – 0 seconds – 0 thirds

Career earnings: $227,940

Earnings per start: $75,980

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 94

Kentucky Derby points: 10

Pedigree: Munnings – Cerce Cay, by Hard Spun

Color: Chestnut

Running style: Stalker

Notable achievements/interesting facts: This will be Dash Attack’s fourth career start, all of which have come at Oaklawn Park. He started his 3-year-old season on a promising note with a come-from-behind win in the Smarty Jones Stakes. However, he was disappointing in the Southwest Stakes, finishing a well-beaten fifth while never looking like a serious threat to win. Since then, he’s been working very well, including two bullet five-furlong workouts on Feb. 12 and 19. Based on those drills, it looks like he’s rounding back into his best form, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see him rebound in the Rebel.