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Jon Court celebrates aboard Will Take Charge after winning the Rebel Stakes.
On Saturday, a field of 11 three-year-olds went 1 1/16 miles in the $600,000 Rebel Stakes (G2) at Oaklawn Park, the major local prep for the Arkansas Derby and worth 50 points to the winner in the "Road to the Kentucky Derby". 33,963 fans packed the historic Hot Springs oval enjoying sunny skies and temperatures in the high 70's. Southwest Stakes (G3) winner Super Ninety Nine was sent off as the 6-5 favorite over 7-2 second choice Oxbow, a close fourth in the Risen Star (G2) after winning the LeComte Stakes (G3) at the Fair Grounds. The two-horse entry of Title Contender and Treasury Bill, owned by Gary and Mary West, was the 4-1 third choice on the board.
The horses break from the gate for the Rebel Stakes
Pgm Horse Jockey Win Place Show 7 Will Take Charge Court 58.00 16.20 9.80 9 Oxbow Smith 7.80 5.60 6 Den's Legacy Albarado 6.00 Winning Time: 1:45.18 $2 Exacta 7-9 275.80 $1 Trifecta 7-9-6 1,162.30 $1 Superfecta 7-9-6-3 17,648.00
Left: Will Take Charge in the winner's circle. Winning trainer D. Wayne Lukas said, "Will Take Charge is a fair weather horse. He said he didn't feel like running in the rain last time. He had been doing well all week. I was feeling pretty good 100 yards from the wire. The competition was so tough. The hill gets a little steeper from this point."
Right: Jockey Jon Court celebrates aboard Will Take Charge past the finish. Court said, "Wayne gave me the heads up about how well he had been doing and he had him tuned up today. The race was executed to plan. It worked out perfectly. I was able to position him where we wanted. He was very professional today."
Left: Second place finisher Oxbow in the post parade. Jockey Mike Smith said, "He ran awesome. He was doing things really easy. I didn't want to send him at the quarter pole because I knew it was a bit too early. But, it was the hand that was dealt to us."
Right: Third place finisher Den's Legacy returns after the race. Jockey Robby Albarado said, "We had a great trip. Nice rail trip. Congratulations to Wayne. This horse ran great, though. You'll hear a lot more from him."
Left: Fifth place finisher and beaten favorite Super Ninety Nine in the post parade. Jockey Rafael Bejarano said, "My horse broke really good. I knew (Title Contender) was going to send and I was able to sit off of him. I was really comfortable in the beginning, but then my horse flattened out after that."
Right: The jockeys head over to the infield saddling area before the Rebel.
Down the stretch in the Azeri Stakes
Songs and Sonnets was loose on the lead early, setting easy fractions of 25.06, 49.07, and 1:14.20 while as many as 7 1/2 lengths in front of My Miss Aurelia in second. On the far turn Songs and Sonnets tired as Don't Tell Sophia moved up to take the lead through 1 mile in 1:38.95. 8-1 Tiz Miz Sue, third early, closed late to win by 1 1/4 lengths over Don't Tell Sophia in 1:45.26. It was a long 4 1/4 lengths back to My Miss Aurelia third.
Pgm Horse Jockey Win Place Show 1 Tiz Miz Sue Rocco Jr. 18.40 5.20 2.80 6 Don't Tell Sophia Albarado 3.40 2.20 7 My Miss Aurelia Nakatani 2.10 Winning Time: 1:45.26 $2 Exacta 1-6 49.60 $1 Trifecta 1-6-7 41.50Results Chart from DRF.
Right: Jockey Joe Rocco Jr. celebrates aboard Tiz Miz Sue after the race. Rocco Jr. said, "She was close enough that we didn't have to work to make up ground today. I was confident throughout. She really relaxed for me today and she did it on her own. That was the key today. She's been going up against some heavy heads."
Left: Second place finisher Don't Tell Sophia heads out to the track before the race. Jockey Robby Albarado said, "She ran great. The pace was easier than I thought it would be. It was a pedestrian pace for this kind of filly. I applied a little pressure at the 3/8 pole and all three fillies went together. You can't take anything away from Steve's filly. They both ran hard to the wire."
Right: Third place finisher and beaten favorite My Miss Aurelia in the infield saddling area before the race with trainer Steve Asmussen. She stalked the pace in second under jockey Corey Nakatani but tired late to finish third beaten 5 1/2 lengths. She improved her record to 6 wins, 1 second, and 2 thirds in 9 starts, earning $2,437,000 for owner-breeder Stonestreet Stables and co-owner George Bolton.
Left: The jockeys head over to the infield saddling area before the Azeri.
Right: The field breaks from the gate for the Azeri Stakes.
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