Hoppertunity Powers to Rebel Win

Hoppertunity Powers to Rebel Win

Category : News - Sun 16/03/2014 - 15:14 EDT

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.

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