The race offers 50-20-10-5 Road to the Kentucky Derby points to the top four finishers. That 50-point bonanza to the winner means whoever crosses the wire first is virtually guaranteed a spot in the Kentucky […]
Hoppertunity Powers to Rebel Win
Despite a stretch run that looked like a bumper-car race at times, Hoppertunity survived a stewards’ inquiry and took first place on Saturday in the $600,000 Grade II Rebel Stakes […]
Despite a stretch run that looked like a bumper-car race at times, Hoppertunity survived a stewards’ inquiry and took first place on Saturday in the $600,000 Grade II Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park. Sent off at odds of 6-1, Hoppertunity engaged in a furious stretch drive with four others, and ultimately claimed a 1/2-length score over 2-1 co-favorite Tapiture, with 11-1 Ride On Curlin another 1/2 –length back in third. The other co-favorite, Strong Mandate, finished fourth on a muddy, sealed track.
Co-favorite sets the early fractions
Breaking strongly from the middle of the eight-horse field, Strong Mandate went to the lead and was joined by Ride On Curlin, and those two would set the pace throughout most of the 1 1/16 mile test. Hoppertunity, meanwhile, settled in third just off the leaders and from there would be perfectly placed when the field turned for home. Tapiture would sit behind the pace until the top of the stretch, where jockey Ricardo Santana Jr. brought him outside from behind Strong Mandate, while Ride On Curlin raced on the rail.
All-out battle through stretch drive
Once onto the stretch, the fun began. In making his move around Strong Mandate, Tapiture came out on Hoppertunity, who was also beginning to put in his best run. Refusing to yield any ground, Tapiture and Hoppertunity made contact several times, even as they inched past the now-leading Ride On Curlin, and then as they strained for the wire. After a lengthy inquiry, the stewards ruled that both horses made equal contact, and since no other horse was impeded, the results stood. With the win, Hoppertunity picks up 50 points toward a starting spot in the Kentucky Derby.
The field is set for the 2019 Preakness Stakes, and looking at the 13 rivals on paper is enough to make any serious handicapper's mouth water. There's simply a ton of betting value here.
Post positions have been drawn, and the oddsmakers have instilled Omaha Beach as the morning line favorite for the running of the 145th Kentucky Derby. The race goes Saturday, May 4th, with 20 runners set to battle 1 1/4 miles on the Churchill Downs dirt track, chasing a purse of $3 million and the first leg of the US Triple Crown.
The defending champ is back in the field for the 2016 Arlington Million on Saturday, but he's being overshadowed by a strong group of foreign invaders.