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Kentucky Derby and Horse Racing at The Downey Profile®

Sadler: 'We Like Our Chances'

3/14/2014

John Sadler won the 2010 Arkansas Derby with 17-1 longshot Line of David and the following year he finished second in the Apple Blossom Handicap with Switch. He's an effective if infrequent visitor to the track at Hot Springs.

And so on Saturday, Kobe’s Back looks to progress toward the Kentucky Derby in the Rebel Stakes after a drawing-off victory in the San Vicente Stakes.

“The colt is coming in off a big win where he ran very, very impressively,” said Sadler. “There’s been an awful lot of talk about him out here in California, but we decided to send him there and I like his chances.”

Kobe’s Back is named for NBA All-Star Kobe Bryant because owner Lee Searing is a big Los Angeles Lakers fan.

Sadler said Kobe’s Back has trained brilliantly up to the Rebel. On March 7, he turned in a bullet six furlong-work of 1:11, handily, at Santa Anita.

“That was a great work. It was scary-good,” said Sadler. “Obviously he can handle the dirt. We think he can handle the one-mile-and-a-sixteenth too.”

Kobe’s Back is the third choice in the early line at 7-2 and will break from the far outside under new rider Jose Lezcano in the field of eight.

“There are some very good horses in there, but I also like our chances,” said Sadler. “Steve’s horse (Tapiture, the 9-5 favorite) ran impressively in his last over that track and deservedly should be the favorite. But, I’ll say it again. ‘We like our chances.’ We’ve got to get some Derby points. That’s the idea and what we’re coming for.”

Edited Oaklawn Park release
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