Trainer Lynn Whiting said he was happy to see Cyber Secret draw post three for the Grade II Rebel Stakes after a disappointing fifth-place finish in the second division of the Grade III Southwest last time. The son of Broken Vow was an impressive wire-to-wire winner of an allowance race Feb. 4 but, according to Whiting, stayed too close to the pace in the Southwest.
“From that post we can just relax back off the pace,” said Whiting, who secured Robby Albarado to ride, replacing Channing Hill, who will ride Unbridled's Note. “He tried to move into the toughest part of that last race. This time, I think we should be able to let the others get on ahead of him and time the move better.”
Cyber Secret was three lengths back of the pace at the first call of the Southwest, and a length off the lead at the half-mile pole.
This is the 20th anniversary of Whiting winning the Kentucky Derby with Lil E. Tee. The horse who gave Pat Day his only win in the Derby finished third in the Southwest, then bounced back three weeks later to win the race today known as the Spiral Stakes at Turfway Park. Lil E. Tee finished second by a neck in the Arkansas Derby to Pine Bluff.
Peitz Likes Post
Shadwell Stable’s Najjaar is in a perfect post, according to trainer Dan Peitz. The late-running son of Jazil embarks on his first stakes attempt from post 12 under Calvin Borel.
“I haven’t really looked at all the past performances yet, but I have to think that post should be good for us.” said Peitz, who skipped the one-mile Southwest in favor of a longer allowance race March 2. “Anything like the Southwest pace should be fine. He can just relax back there. I don’t have to worry too much about anything with him. He’s really pretty relaxed with everything he does.”
Reckless Jerry Gets Schooling
Reckless Jerry stood in the starting gate Friday morning and had his typical strong gallop around the Oaklawn oval for trainer Kenny Smith. A homebred for country music star Toby Keith’s Dream Walkin’ Farm, Reckless Jerry is out to build on two straight in-the-money stakes finishes this winter.
“I always like to give him a chance to visit the gate the day before,” said Smith. “It helps keep them from getting nervous in there, and with this full field for this race, he could be standing there for a little while.”
Jockey Joe Rocco Jr. takes over the reins of Reckless Jerry and will start in post 9.
Cross-Entered Ring It Up, Unbridled’s Note to Go
Trainers Chris Richard and Steve Asmussen kept their options open and elected the Rebel.
Unbridled’s Note drew the rail in the 1 1/16th-mile Rebel after drawing the outside post 11 in an allowance race at the same distance Friday. Owned by Mike McCarty, the Kentucky-bred is trying to bounce back from a ninth-place finish in the first division of the Southwest in what was just his second career race.
Ring It Up is moving in the opposite direction in the starting gate. He drew the rail Friday but landed in post 10 in the Rebel and will be coupled with Pee H Dee. Ring It Up was fourth in the first division of the Southwest after helping contest the pace early. Richard said earlier this week he was concerned about Ring It Up being slightly behind Pee H Dee in maturity and professionalism, but now he says he's willing to take a chance with both in the same race once it appeared the Rebel would have less than a full starting gate.
--Edited Oaklawn Park release