Nadal Favored in Rebel Stakes as Road to Kentucky Derby Makes Stop at Oaklawn

The legendary trainer brings out one of his big Kentucky Derby Contenders on Saturday at Oaklawn Racing and Gambling, just a week after Bob Baffert scored a big victory with Authentic in the San Felipe Stakes.

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The legendary trainer brings out one of his big Kentucky Derby Contenders on Saturday at Oaklawn Racing and Gambling, just a week after Bob Baffert scored a big victory with Authentic in the San Felipe Stakes.

Nadal is the 5-2 favorite for the Grade II Rebel stakes. It will award 50 Kentucky Derby Qualifying points to the winner.

The colt made its racing debut just about two months ago. He led about wire to wire in his maiden race. He lengthened his lead at every marker and won by 3-3/4 lengths in the 6-1/2 furlong race. He also won in the Grade II San Vicente Stakes last month. Joel Rosario positioned Nadal directly behind Ginobili in the Santa Anita Race. This position was throughout the 7 furlong race. Nadal powered his way to a three quarter length win in its final strides.

Nadal will face a test on Saturday. It will be navigating two turns for the first time. He will be running a bigger distance as the Rebel goes a mile and a sixteenth.

The Host Springs, Ark, track has been hit by rain for most of the weekend. The forecast is calling for more rain leading up to the 6:23 pm ET post time.

Baffert said” He is a big, strong horse. Hope we don’t get too much bad weather. I would like to see what he does on a dry track, but it’s all out of my hands.

Baffert has taken a unraced colt as a 2 years old to turn him into a legitimate Derby contender before also. Justify did not race till he was three, to become a Triple Crown Winner.

Nadal faces challengers at Rebel

Nadal drew the inside gate in the field of eight. There appears to be several challengers available at a quality price for Nadal, he is likely to bet down from his opening 5-2 line, in spite of the wet weather or the condition of the track.

Basin is yet to race since September, when this colt won Grade I Hopeful Stakes. The trainer said that the colt is looking like a Grade I winner in his recent workouts. Javier Castellano will be mounting the colt.

Two horses have 7-2 morning line odds. It includes Three Technique, who is making his graded stakes debut and has two wins and three seconds in five starts. Luis Saez will get his mount on Saturday. He will be the third jockey to mount the colt, that is trained by Jeremiah Englehart.

The other 7-2 horse is Silver Prospector. Another Asmussen horse, Silver Prospector has two graded stakes wins under his belt, including one over Tiz the Law at Churchill Downs in November’s Grade II Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes. However, he also had some so so race, including a fourth place finish in OakLawn’s Smarty Jones on January 24, although he followed that up three weeks later with a win in the Grade III Southwest Stakes.

Ricardo Santana Jr will mount on Silver Prospector. He will be breaking from 4th gate. Basin will break from the 3rd. and Three Technique will break from 6th gate.

Turfway has the second Derby preparation

Turfway Park will have another Derby preparation. Grade III Jeff Ruby Stakes does not feature nearly the Derby candidates as the Rebel.

Saturday evening will see a field of 11 running. The best horses are on the outside. The winner will get 20 Derby qualifying points.

Invader will make his graded stakes debut. He has won his last two races. Both of the races were on northern Kentucky track. It includes a six and a quarter length win in the John Battaglia Stakes on February 14th. Albin Jimenez will mount the colt trained by Wesley Ward.

He will break from the 10th gate. He is the morning line favorite at 3-1.

Field Pass is to his outside. He is a colt trained by Michael Maker. This horse has graded stakes experience but has two wins and two seconds in seven starts. He came off a win in the February 1st Diana Beach Stakes at Gulfstream Park; He won the race by a neck.

Irad Oritz will be mounting Field Pass who has morning line odds of 7-2.

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