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Kentucky Derby and Horse Racing at The Downey Profile®

Tapiture, Strong Mandate Meet Again in Rebel Stakes


By Dick Downey

Tapiture and Strong Mandate will engage each other once again in Saturday's Rebel Stakes. Eight are entered.

Tapiture won the Southwest Stakes by 4 1/4 lengths over Strong Mandate. The former had a ground saving trip all the way, while Strong Mandate was wide on both turns but still managed to get up for second.

The final prep for the April 12 Arkansas Derby carries 85 Kentucky Derby qualifying points, with 50 going to the winner. Tapiture, who also won the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes at Churchill Downs last November, has 22 points compared to Strong Mandate's six. The Southwest was the first first start of 2014 for both horses.

Ricardo Santana, Jr. returns aboard Tapiture, and Joel Rosario rides Strong Mandate again as well. D. Wayne Lukas, trainer of Strong Mandate, took the Rebel last year with Will Take Charge.

Tapiture, to carry 122 pounds, concedes five pounds to Strong Mandate and seven to each of the other six entries.

“We’re excited about the horse he is and his chances,” Tapiture's trainer Steve Asmussen said Wednesday.

“This is round two and hopefully we’ll move forward,” D. Wayne Lukas said of Strong Mandate. “Hopefully he’ll have a better trip than he did in the Southwest when he was compromised. It should be a good prep.”

Kobe's Back invades from Southern California after winning the seven-furlong San Vincente Stakes going away on Feb. 16. Rosario was on board that day, and Jose Lezcano takes over the reins on Saturday.

Hoppertunity joins the ship from California as Bob Baffert's representative in the race. Baffert perennially has runners in the Rebel and won the race three straight years with Looking at Lucky in 2010, The Factor in 2011 and Secret Circle in 2012. Most recently, Hoppertunity finished fourth, beaten seven lengths by Intense Holiday, in the Risen Star Stakes at Fair Grounds. Mike Smith takes over from Martin Garcia in the irons.

Ride On Curlin, third in the Southwest under Calvin Borel, makes his third start of the year. Kent Desormeaux will be up.

Borel switches to Street Strategy, a $425,000 purchase at Ocala who broke his maiden in his second start at the track -- and second overall -- on Jan. 30.

Sheltowee's Boy, defeated earlier this year by Bourbonize, is another allowance winner over the track, and he steps into stakes company for the first time. Sheltowee's Boy made a sustained move from 11 lengths back to win on Feb. 17.

Jet Cat rounds out the field. Since breaking his maiden at Turfway Park in December, he's run fourth and ninth in a pair of allowance races at Oaklawn Park.

The 1 1/16-mile, Grade II Rebel is worth $600,000 and is set as the 10th race on an eleven-race card. Post time is 6:04 local time, 7:04 eastern.

Saturday, R10
Grade II Rebel Stakes
Oaklawn Park
1 1/16 Mile
Post Time: 7:04 ET

Post   Horse  ML  Jockey Sx  Wt Trainer
1 Jet Cat (TX) 30-1 J. McKee C 115 E. Frederick
2 Ride On Curlin (KY) 12-1 K. Desormeaux C 115 W. Gowan
3 Tapiture (KY) 9-5 R. Santana Jr. C 122 S. Asmussen
4 Strong Mandate (KY) 2-1 J. Rosario C 117 W. Lukas
5 Hoppertunity (KY) 10-1 M. Smith C 115 B. Baffert
6 Sheltowee's Boy (KY) 15-1 J. Navarro G 115 C. Cox
7 Street Strategy (KY) 8-1 C. Borel C 115 R. Morse
8 Kobe's Back (KY) 7-2 J. Lezcano C 115 J. Sadler

All will run with Lasix.

Owners: 1 - Oak Haven Farm LLC (Stephen R. Baker) ; 2 - Daniel J. Dougherty ; 3 - Winchell Thoroughbreds LLC (Ron & Joan Winchell) ; 4 - Robert C. Baker & William L. Mack ; 5 - Karl Watson, Michael E. Pegram & Paul Weitman ; 6 - Sheltowee Farm (Michael Evans) ; 7 - Iron Horse Racing LP (David Clark) ; 8 - C R K Stable (Lee Searing)

Breeders: 1 - Stephen R Baker; 2 - G. Watts Humphrey Jr. & Louise IrelandHumphrey Revocable Trust - 2008; 3 - Winchell Thoroughbreds LLC; 4 - G. Watts Humphrey Jr.; 5 - Betz/D.J. Stable/Kidder/J. Betz/Robenalt; 6 - Michael E. Evans; 7 - Glencrest Farm LLC & Darley; 8 - Joanne R. Mummert

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