Heavy Favorites Run Second in Both Rebel Divisions
By Dick Downey
It wasn't the worst day ever for Bob Baffert, but it wasn't the best one either. In two divisions of the Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park, Improbable lost to Long Range Toddy by a neck (photo right), and 2018 2-year-old champion Game Winner was turned back by Omaha Beach to lose by a head-bobbing nose.
With Jon Court riding Long Range Toddy for the first time, they ran past heavily-favored Improbable in the final yards of division one of the Rebel. Galilean finished third, beaten 2 1/2 lengths, followed by Extra Hope another length back.
Classy John, then Extra Hope, led the field through fractions of 23.77, 47.58 and 1:11.97. At first, Long Range Toddy was just a head behind Classy John, after which he and Court eased back to fifth at the next two calls, but never more than two lengths off the pace.
Meanwhile, Improbable stalked the pace in the five path, and that wide trip could have cost him. He finally secured a one-length lead with a furlong left in the race, but he couldn't quite hold off Long Range Toddy.
Galilean pressed the pace at each call, was second to Improbable at the furlong marker, and didn't have enough left in the stretch. Extra Hope, who was three or four wide during his prominent trip, was a head behind Galilean at the furlong marker but yielded late.
The order of finish was rounded out by Easy Shot, Ninth Street and Classy John. Corruze and Proud Nation were scratched.
Final time for Long Range Toddy was 1:42.49 going the 1 1/16 mile distance of the Rebel.
Sent off at 8-1 odds, Long Range Toddy paid his $2 bettors $18.80 to win, $4.20 to place and $2.60 to show. Improbable, the 2-5 favorite, paid $2.40 and $2.10, and Galillean returned $2.40 to his show bettors.
In the second division of the Rebel, run two races later, Omaha Beach was two lengths behind pacesetter Market King after the first quarter-mile. He took command thereafter with the first half-mile gone in a pressured 47.29 and six furlongs in 1:11.82 leading by a length. Omaha Beach extended his lead to two lengths with a furlong remaining in the race.
Game Winner was sixth, five lengths off the pace after the first quarter-mile, but he steadily advanced while four wide in the far turn. He closed ground on Omaha Beach in the final furlong, bumping him in the process, but Omaha Beach would not be denied.
After ceding the lead to Omaha Beach, Market King stayed close to that one for a quarter-mile and then was third to the top two the rest of the way while steadily losing ground en route to a third place finish, beaten 8 1/4 lengths.
Gunmetal Gray was far back in 10th place through the first six furlongs, but he never gave up and passed tiring horses to take fourth place, beaten 9 1/4 lengths.
Next across the finish line were Jersey Agenda, Captain Von Trapp, Laughing Fox, Parsimony, Kazaringa and Our Braintrust.
Omaha Beach was timed in 1:42.42, only 7/100 of a second different that the winner of Division One.
Omaha Beach, the second betting choice at 4-1, paid $10.80, $3.80 and $3.20. Game Winner, favored at 1-2, returned $2.40 to place and the same amount to show. Market King, sent off at 48-1, paid $8.40 to show.
Kentucky Derby Points
37.5 each to Long Range Toddy and Omaha Beach
15 each to Improbable and Game Winner
7.5 each to Galilean and Market King
3.75 each to Extra Hope and Gunmetal Gray
More About the Winners
To read more about Long Range Toddy and his connections, click here.
Click here to see more about the background of Omaha Beach.
Division One Equibase Chart
Division Two Equibase Chart
QUOTES FROM DIVISION ONE
Winning trainer Steve Asmussen (Long Range Toddy): “The horse is doing extremely well. He stepped up. Jon gave him a beautiful trip today and I love how he earned it late. The horse is extremely kind. Jon worked him the other day, and his comment was that he was push-button. The horse was away well and got a good spot. They went about their business and he relaxed down the backstretch. You could tell coming into the stretch he was loaded. He waited until they all lined out, didn’t waste any ground and wheeled him out late like he should and got rewarded for it.”
Winning jockey Jon Court: “I was able to get settled and hoped I had left enough for a big punch. I also hoped I hadn’t let him get too far in front. Believe me, I was sweating bullets, but I had a lot of confidence in him. I had watched his races and I had worked him before the race. It’s great when a plan comes together as well as this one did.”
Trainer Bob Baffert (Improbable): “I would have liked to have won, but I’m very happy with both horses. They both ran well off the layoff. Thank goodness for the Cella family (owners of Oaklawn Park). We got to run both horses today. It was great racing.”
Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer (Galilean) “We thought it was a good race. I think we got away a little bit slow. I don't know what happened there in the middle of the race. Trying to figure that out.”
QUOTES FROM DIVISION TWO
Winning Trainer Richard Mandella (Omaha Beach): “Coming out of a maiden race, it's a big step up. Game Winner ran really good. He hadn't run in a long time. He'll probably be tough next time, but mine just broke his maiden. He might be tougher, too. We always thought he was a really good horse. Being a War Front, I thought maybe he was going to want turf. But I was wrong with that. He wants dirt."
Trainer Bob Baffert (Game Winner): “I would have liked to have won, but I’m very happy with both horses. They both ran well off the layoff. Thank goodness for the Cella family (owners of Oaklawn Park). We got to run both horses today. It was great racing.”
Trainer D. Wayne Lukas (Market King): "I was real pleased. Real pleased. I think we're still in the learning process. I think he's still a little bit heavy. I'm trying to tighten him down and everything, but this is a step in the right direction. I was really pleased with the ride."