Eleven Derby Hopefuls Clash at Oaklawn in the Mud
ELEVEN DERBY HOPEFULS CLASH AT OAKLAWN IN THE MUD – Thoroughbred racing’s Grade 2, $1 million Rebel Stakes extravaganza held today at Oaklawn Park in Little Rock, Arkansas will start separating Kentucky Derby contenders from pretenders.
Oaklawn Park is my third favorite racetrack in America, right behind Colonial Downs in Virginia and Saratoga.
This Derby qualifier sports a deep group of talented 3-year-olds and is one of the best preps we’ll see this year, top to bottom.
Trainer D. Wayne Lukas saddles 20:1 long shot Bourbon Bash in the 1 1/16-mile race that will award Kentucky Derby points to the first five finishers on a scale of 50-20-15-10-5.
This is a tough, wide open race and toss into the mix an 80 percent chance of rain and it’s balls to the walls for this field of 11.
A wet track would be a first for Reincarnate, my pick at 7-2, who ships in from Santa Anita off a win in the Grade 3 Sham where he was a beast coming off the far turn in wiring the field.
My sense is it won’t bother him at all. He’s a big, strong tough colt who’s showed poise and solid demeanor. That stretch run impressed me.
Reincarnate’s sire, Good Magic, ran second in the slop in the Kentucky Derby won by eventual Triple Crown winner Justify.
Reincarnate won the Sham on the front end and Vazquez will undoubtedly try to go wire to wire again today. I like his post and he can back down the half in a muddy track scenario.
I love the way he dueled and prevailed by a neck over Newgate in the Sham, who returned to win the Robert B. Lewis at Santa Anita.
Velazquez + Baffert
Reincarnate on Saturday breaks from post 6 under John Velazquez. Formerly trained by Bob Baffert, he will be making his first start for Tim Yakteen.
His effort in the Sham was gritty. He broke clean and carried his speed through solid fractions. That was a classy performance. I like the fact he’ll be pushing mud back on others, not getting whacked in the face with it.
Godzilla’s Pick: Reincarnate #6, Oaklawn Race 11, Morning Line 7:2