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Jockey Martin Garcia and assistant trainer Jimmy Barnes celebrate after winning the Rebel Stakes with Cupid.
On Saturday, a full field of 14 three-year-olds (12 betting interests) went 1 1/16 miles in the $900,000 Rebel Stakes (G2) at Oaklawn Park, the major local prep for the Arkansas Derby and worth 50 points to the winner in the "Kentucky Derby Championship Series". 35,000 fans packed the historic Hot Springs oval under sunny skies and temperatures in the high 50's. Southwest Stakes (G3) winner Suddenbreakingnews was sent off as the 5-2 favorite. In to challenge him included 3-1 second choice Cupid a maiden winner last out at Santa Anita, and 4-1 third choice Whitmore, third in the Southwest.
First time by in the Rebel Stakes
Pgm Horse Jockey Win Place Show 4 Cupid Garcia 7.80 5.00 3.80 10 Whitmore Ortiz Jr. 5.20 4.00 1 Creator Santana Jr. 4.80 Winning Time: 1:43.84 $2 Exacta 4-10 45.80 $1 Trifecta 4-10-1 118.50 $1 Superfecta 4-10-1-11 860.20
Left: Cupid in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Bob Baffert said, "Turning for home he made that move. I saw that horse rolling down the middle of the track, I thought, ‘Well, we'll see what he's made of.' That's when you start seeing what they're made of, when they kick back in like that. That's what you want to see this time of year, show some grit, show some guts, and he really laid it down. (Martin Garcia) works so hard getting these horses ready and he got the win. I'm happy for the Coolmore gang, too. I knew going in he was a nice horse. But he never had been tested and that was a pretty strong bunch."
Right: Cupid returs after the race. Winning jockey Martin Garcia said, "We needed this race. It's hard for horses to break their maiden and then step up to this kind of company with this many people around and win, but he did. He showed a lot of ability and we know he can run. When we hit the top of the stretch, he got lonely and he locked in on the other horse that was coming up on the outside he responded one more time. He really proved today that he is improving. The distance doesn't matter. He can go as far as he wants."
Left: Second place finisher Whitmore in the post parade. Trainer Ron Moquett said, "That horse was able to get his second quarter in 24 seconds. These caliber of horses don't come back from that. When you're a $900,000 Tapit, bred to be what he is, they don't back up. You give them a 24-second quarter, nobody went with him. I thought somebody would go with him."
Right: Third place finisher Creator in the post parade. The 8-1 shot trailed early under Ricardo Santana Jr. then rallied to get third beaten 3 lengths. The Steve Asmussen trainee improved his record to 1 win, 4 seconds, and 1 third in 7 starts, earning $168,320 for owner WinStar Farm.
Fifth place finisher and beaten favorite Suddenbreakingnews. The 5-2 choice was 13th early 11 lengths off the pace under Luis Quinonez, then put in a mild bid to get fifth beaten 4 3/4 lengths. The Donnie Von Hemel trainee improved his record to 3 wins, 3 seconds, and 0 thirds in 7 starts, earning $470,032 for owner Samuel Henderson.
Shortly after the start of the Razorback Handicap
7-1 Shotgun Cowboy was sent to the lead by Jareth Loveberry and he set fractions of 23.15, 47.50, and 1:12.94 while pressed by 6-1 Incremental and stalked by 10-1 Idolo Porteno. On the far turn, jockey Joe Bravo sent Upstart, 7th early, out 5 wide for room and he easily swept to the lead at the 1/8 pole through 1 mile in 1:37.77. 9-1 Domain's Rap attempted to close from 5th but Upstart easily held him off by a length in 1:44.12. It was another 1/2 length back to Idolo Porteno third.
Pgm Horse Jockey Win Place Show 7 Upstart Bravo 7.20 4.80 4.40 8 Domain's Rap Vazquez 8.20 5.80 5 Idolo Porteno Geroux 9.40 Winning Time: 1:44.12 $2 Exacta 7-8 87.80 $1 Trifecta 7-8-5 480.90 $1 Superfecta 7-8-5-4 3250.70
Left: Upstart in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Rick Violette said, "I couldn't be happier. He gave up ground on both turns but he was resolute up the lane. He ran right through. He's back to where we hoped he would be and I'm thrilled."
Right: Upstart heads back to the barn after the race. Winning jockey Joe Bravo said, "When you're off that long, it's tough to get a horse ready to run. He left there really nicely, relaxed really good the first turn. Probably a little farther back than Rick wanted. But, he was so comfortable and relaxed. I was really happy the way he was going. You saw the move he made around the turn. He's back. He's a pretty nice horse. He proved it to everybody. I'm just glad he's a big, happy horse for the rest of the season."
Left: Second place finisher Domain's Rap in the post parade. Trainer Federico Villafranco said, "This horse has been running so good. We tried to get him an easier spot, but we couldn't. We decided to give him a chance to prove himself. If he's still doing good, we'll have to think about the Oaklawn Handicap."
Right: Third place finisher Idolo Porteno in the post parade. Trainer Ignacio Correias said, "My horse ran awesome, just awesome. It was eight months with no racing, his first time in America and his first time around two turns. He was awesome. I don't know yet what we'll do next with him."
The start of the Razorback Handicap.
First time by in the Azeri Stakes
Joe Bravo sent 25-1 High Dollar Woman to the lead first time by and she set fractions of 23.11 and 47.83 while stalked by 12-1 Sarah Sis and stalked by Untapable. On the far turn, Untapable, slowest out of the gate, swept to the lead and opened up a 1 1/2 length lead midstretch through 3/4 in 1:13.15 and 1 mile in 1:38.20. However, Call Pat, last for the first 3/4 mile, came through between horses to nail Untapable at the line by a head in 1:44.44. It was another 1/2 length back to Streamline third.
Pgm Horse Jockey Win Place Show 1 Call Pat Rocco Jr. 12.20 3.40 2.40 7 Untapable Geroux 2.40 2.10 4 Streamline Landeros 3.60 Winning Time: 1:44.44 $2 Exacta 1-7 33.60 $1 Trifecta 1-7-4 36.90 $1 Superfecta 1-7-4-3 147.10Results Chart from DRF.
Right: Call Pat after the race. Jockey Joe Rocco Jr. added, "It was your typical Call Pat fashion. She falls back there and I just let her do her thing. We just kind of picked our way through there. She's a nice mare. If you conserve her, she comes running."
Left: Second place finisher and beaten favorite Untapable in the post parade. She was the beaten favorite in the 2015 running as well. Trainer Steve Asmussen said, "I was disappointed she ran second , but she ran solid. The rider said she lost a little focus and didn't see that filly on the outside (Streamline) and she was kind of looking up. I think she ran well. The winner runs well here and we always know how that is when you come into Oaklawn. It is a horse for course place. She will definitely stay here and train and be pointed for the Apple Blossom next."
Right: Third place finisher Streamline in the post parade. The 9-1 shot was 4th early under Chris Landeros then passed the tiring pacesetter to get third beaten 3/4 length. The Brian Williamson trainee improved her record to 6 wins, 1 second, and 3 thirds in 11 starts, earning $200,276 for owner-breeder Nancy Vanier and Cartwright Thoroughbreds.
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