Pee H Dee on to Rebel
With the field for Saturday's Grade II Rebel Stakes still unsettled, trainer Chris Richard has made good on a previous statement that he'd lower expectations for Ring It Up, but he'll go on with Pee H Dee in the Rebel.
When the Southwest Stakes was split in two divisions, it made Richard's decision easy -- he started both 3-year-olds for owner James McIngvale. Each of them finished fourth in their respective efforts. Ring It Up was beaten 4 1/2 lengths by Castaway, and Pee H Dee finished eight lengths back of Secret Circle, whose time was in turn about five lengths better than Castaway's.
So despite losing by more lengths, Pee H Dee appears likely to get the nod for a rematch with Secret Circlein the Rebel.
"They've had some good, strong works, and both are doing as good as they could be," said Richard. "Last week Pee H Dee had a good five-eighths in 58 and 1 and went out six furlongs in 12 and 3. He's just a little bit ahead of Ring It Up at this point."
Both runners worked in company Monday, together registering the bullet half-mile time in :47.60 (1/12) at a distance that included other Rebel candidates Adirondack King, Reckless Jerry and Sabercat.
Pee H Dee is a son of Tale of the Cat and has a win over the track thanks to a neck victory Jan. 16 in an allowance race. He was third at 37-1 odds in his natural dirt debut in the Springboard Mile at Remington Park. He was wide entering the short stretch of the Southwest, and that short-circuited his rally behind front-runners Secret Circle and Scatman.
Ring It Up, a son of Toccet, has yet to finish first in three Oaklawn starts, but he came close in his local debut, finishing a neck behind Rebel contender Atigun in an allowance Jan. 15.
"Pee H Dee is just a little bit more seasoned and deserves the chance to stretch out," Richard said. "Ring It Up is still learning and needs to show a little more maturity and act a little more like a pro. There's still more time, though, and there is very little separation between them."
--Edited Oaklawn Park note with additional content by Dick Downey