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Saturday, March 17, 2012

Weekend Handicapping: The three S's in the Rebel Stakes

Today at Oaklawn we have the next big race for 3YO's gunning for Derby contention.  A field of 11 hopefuls have entered this mile and a sixteenth affair, and they will be shooting for a piece of that $500,000 purse.  So lets get started ...

Contenders:

# 8 Secret Circle ML 9/5

No real surprise here, he should be the favorite. Five starts with four wins, with a solid performance in the Southwest (G3), popping a 102 Beyer.  His workouts have been excellent, he can handle the distance and it looks like Baffert has him set up perfectly.  If I have to find a weakness is that he might be vulnerable with the added distance. Both mile races were duel's at the end, and with some tough closer's and decent pace he might get nailed at the wire.

#7 Sabercat ML 5/1

This 3YO could be the big surprise today.  He has won three in a row, that last one a G3 event at Delta Downs.  His Beyer figures while not at the level of Secret Circle or Scatman, have been improving, and he could be ready for a big jump. He has shown he can win at this distance, and Asmussen does well with horses coming off the bench (21% wins).  I also like that  he has a versatile running style and has won with three different jockeys.  Today, Nakatani is in the irons, and when he rides for Asmussen he seems to really shine.

#3 Scatman ML 8/1

Had a big race in the Southwest (G3) and almost held off Secret Circle.  He made a big jump from a 87 to 101 Beyer. He likes to go to the front and see nothing different this time out, the only challenge for him is the added distance.  He flashed a good workout on the 10th, so fitness is not a concern, but I'm not so sure he can run away from this group, and in the end will get caught short.

Dark Horses:

#11 Najjaar ML 6/1

Back to back wins at this distance over the course and improving speed figures. This will be a big step up for him, but Dan Peitz is a solid trainer in these situations. Borel stays on and if you like closer's then this 3YO is for you. If the front end gets hairy and it could with those top three, he could slip through, and Borel is a money rider in these spots.

#12 Adirondack King ML 6/1

Took on his first route in the Southwest (G3) and finished third to Secret Circle and Scatman, had to come  six wide and still posted a good 91 Beyer. A lot of folks believe he can upset this group, but not so sure the distance will work in his favor.  He likes to come off the pace, and it looks like the top three will take off, he is dangerous, but hot seeing him catching them at the wire.

Bombs Away:

#2 Unbridled's Note ML 20/1

Won his maiden on first calling, then got beat up in the Southwest (G3).  On the replay, it was just ugly, back break, traffic and then it was over.  He is making his third start for Asmussen and I like that Hill is on board.  His breeding say he can handle the distance, he got some good experience last out and and you can use the key race angle to a degree.  We don't know how good he is, and that makes him dangerous.

Selections:

8 - 7 - 3

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