2023 Rebel Stakes Betting Odds and Contenders Preview
The Road to the Kentucky Derby in Arkansas continues Saturday, February 25, with the Rebel Stakes (G2). The 1 1/16-mile race over the Oaklawn dirt drew a field of 11 to compete for rich spoils: a $1 million purse and 50-20-15-10-5 Road to the Kentucky Derby points for the top five finishers. It is the third points race in Oaklawn’s series: preceded by the Smarty Jones and the Southwest (G3), and followed by the Arkansas Derby (G1).
The race is open to three-year-old horses of any sex, though all of this year’s entrants are intact colts. Eight of the eleven have stakes-level experience, including Grade 1-placed Verifying, stakes-placed giant Mischief, and Sham (G3) winner Reincarnate. Three others step up for their stakes debut in this race.
The race’s most prominent winner is American Pharoah (2015), who made his sophomore debut in the Rebel and went on to sweep the Triple Crown. Other stars who won the Rebel in recent years include Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Smarty Jones (2004), Preakness winner and two-time Horse of the Year Curlin (2007), and 3-year-old champion Will Take Charge (2013).
Rebel Stakes 2023 Information
Race Date: Saturday, February 25, 2023
Post Time: 5:23 p.m. Central Standard Time
Distance: 1 1/16 miles
Where to Watch: FanDuel TV
Where to Bet: TVG.com and FanDuel Racing
Rebel Stakes Odds
This is the official field for the 2023 Rebel Stakes. The race drew a field of 11, meaning it should be an excellent betting challenge with great payouts. This is the field of the race, including post positions, trainers, jockeys, and morning-line odds:
|1||Verifying||Brad Cox||Florent Geroux||2-1|
|2||Powerful||Steve Asmussen||Isaac Castillo||20-1|
|3||Red Route One||Steve Asmussen||Cristian Torres||10-1|
|4||Gun Pilot||Steve Asmussen||Ricardo Santana, Jr.||8-1|
|5||Giant Mischief||Brad Cox||Irad Ortiz, Jr.||5-2|
|6||Reincarnate||Tim Yakteen||John Velazquez||7-2|
|7||Confidence Game||Keith Desormeaux||James Graham||15-1|
|8||Talladega||Rodolphe Brisset||Flavien Prat||30-1|
|9||Event Detail||Paulo Lobo||Gerardo Corrales||30-1|
|10||Bourbon Bash||D. Wayne Lukas||Mickaelle Michel||20-1|
|11||Frosted Departure||Ken McPeek||Francisco Arrieta||20-1|
Rebel Stakes Prep Results
Out of the eleven runners in the Rebel, six come out of stakes races last out. Only two come out of stakes at Oaklawn: Red Route One and Frosted Departure both come out of the Southwest (G3), where they crossed the wire second and third behind Arabian Knight, who does not return in the Rebel. Two runners come out of graded stakes wins: Reincarnate won the Sham (G3) at Santa Anita last out, and Powerful won the ungraded Ed Brown, a 6 1/2-furlong sprint at Churchill Downs, on November 26. The other two who last ran in stakes do come out of points races: Giant Mischief was second in the Remington Springboard Mile, and Confidence Game was third in the Lecomte (G3).
The other five come out of either allowance or maiden special weight company. Gun Pilot and Bourbon Bash both last raced in a one-mile allowance optional claimer at Oaklawn on February 4; Gun Pilot prevailed, with Bourbon Bash two lengths back in second. Verifying also comes out of a victory in a one-mile allowance optional claimer at Oaklawn, though his win came on January 14. Talladega comes out of a 1 1/16-mile maiden-breaker on the Oaklawn dirt on January 28, while Event Detail comes out of a maiden win in a one-mile race at Turfway.
Rebel Stakes Contenders
These are the contenders in the 2023 Rebel Stakes, organized by post position:
1) Verifying: Though he has yet to win a stakes, a second-place finish in the Champagne (G1) last year shows some quality. And, his pedigree shines for the step up to 1 ⅛ miles: he is a Justify half-brother to Midnight Bisou. However, at a short price, his post could spell serious trouble: he is buried at the inside of a large field, and his winning form has come either setting or pressing the pace. Hopefully, victory here will set the tone for upcoming Kentucky Derby odds
2) Powerful: This son of Nyquist still needs to prove himself at two turns: he is 2-for-4 lifetime, with both of those wins coming at extended one-turn trips. His pedigree offers promise for the stretch out, and he has had a few months to grow. It’s a concern that jockey Castillo has not been firing with the Asmussen barn. He also is likely to have a tough time pace-wise, as he is a speed horse drawn near the inside of a large group.
3) Red Route One: Though he has yet to win a stakes race, he is emerging as one of those who is always in the mix: third in the Breeders’ Futurity (G1), a close fourth in the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2), and second in the Southwest (G3). He has upside second off the lay, and he has proven himself versatile enough to get a piece whether the pace is furious or languid.
4) Gun Pilot: He steps up for his stakes debut after a two-length victory earlier in the month in an allowance at Oaklawn. He has never stretched past a mile, though being by Gun Runner out of a Smart Strike mare from a family that has shown stamina, his pedigree reads like one that will get better with time and distance. His maiden win proved a real stalking gear as well, giving him a chance to work a good trip.
5) Giant Mischief: He has yet to run a bad race in three starts: he won his first two, and even though he lost as a heavy favorite in the Springboard Mile, he blew the break and still finished a gaining second. There are questions at a short price: the Springboard often grades out poorly, and even though his damsire Giant Oak had all the stamina in the world, his dam Vertical Oak was nonetheless a sprinter. But, if the pace gets hot, he may be coming.
6) Reincarnate: Let the Baffert exodus begin: last year, the major Derby prospects in Bob Baffert’s barn went to Tim Yakteen to earn Derby points and make the Run for the Roses, and Reincarnate is part of that wave this year. The Sham winner has figured it out in his last two, but he is one of several speed horses in this race. At least he has proven he can battle on, and also he drew better than the inside speeds, but it still won’t be easy.
7) Confidence Game: He was no match for Instant Coffee or Two Phil’s in the Lecomte last out. It’s hard to see how that race has graded out so far: Instant Coffee hasn’t run back, while Two Phil’s looked like more of the same, running on for third in the Risen Star (G2) last weekend. His winning form comes on the lead, but he can plunk on for a piece off the pace on a good day; he has good wet-track breeding, and he’ll be a price.
8) Talladega: He needed some time to grow up, and finally broke his maiden fourth-out in a 1 1/16-mile race at Oaklawn a month ago. It’s a concern that he needed to be on the lead to do so, though, given how much other pace there is in this race. He is likely to ensure an honest clip, but a victory would require a huge step forward.
9) Event Detail He steps up to face winners for the first time, and he switches back to dirt and goes off Lasix. Since his two better starts have been his races on Tapeta and with Lasix, he comes in with a lot to prove. His late-running style might get a setup, but he still has a lot to find and will be a long shot for a reason.
10) Bourbon Bash: This D. Wayne Lukas trainee has nabbed placings in three of his last four, though he is left with tables to turn on many of these foes, including Gun Pilot, Frosted Departure, and Powerful. His forays into graded company have gone poorly, and he has yet to love that he is as effective at two turns compared to one. Furthermore, far outside posts at Oaklawn tend to be challenging.
11) Frosted Departure: The most experienced horse in the field with ten starts, he won the Renaissance Stakes by a head over a sprint trip at Oaklawn on December 31, though his two-turn tries have been less effective. Perhaps it is because both of those came on the slop, but with wet weather in the forecast for this weekend at Oaklawn, there is a good chance he gets those unfavorable conditions again.
Rebel Stakes Past Winners Past Performances
With the race split into two divisions in 2019, there have been eleven editions of the Rebel in the last ten years. Out of those winners, only two came out of the traditional local prep, the Southwest: Will Take Charge (2013) finished sixth in that race, Long Range Toddy (2019) third.
All three last-out stakes winners to win the Rebel have come from California and been trained by Bob Baffert: American Pharoah (2015) last ran in the FrontRunner (G1) (the race now called the American Pharoah), while both Nadal (2020) and Concert Tour (2021) came out of the San Vicente. (Reincarnate, now trained by Tim Yakteen, was previously trained by Baffert and he last won the Sham in California.)
The two other recent winners to come from stakes company are Hoppertunity (2014), fourth in the Risen Star before coming to Arkansas, and Un Ojo, who was second in the Withers (G3) before going to the Rebel.
The four other winners in the last ten years all won the Rebel in their stakes debut. Cupid (2016) and Omaha Beach (2019) both came into the race off of maiden special weight wins at Santa Anita, facing winners for the first time in Arkansas. Malagacy (2017) and Magnum Moon (2018), for Todd Pletcher, won allowances at Gulfstream Park and Tampa Bay Downs, respectively.
Rebel Stakes Undercard
The Rebel Stakes is the 11th of 12 races on Oaklawn’s Saturday card. The card features one other graded race, the $300,000 Honeybee (G3), which is the second-to-last Kentucky Oaks points prep of the Oaklawn meet. The card also features the Carousel, a $150,000 stakes race for sophomore sprinters.
With three-year-old action and big fields all day long, Saturday is an excellent day to bet Oaklawn. Stay tuned to FanDuel TV all day for the latest news and live footage of the races, and make sure to wager on the card through FanDuel and TVG!
Oaklawn Park History
Back in 1905, the Hot Springs Mayor declared a half-day holiday for the opening of Oaklawn Park, with over 3,000 people attending the track on its first day of racing. The holiday heralded the beginning of a tradition that has lasted for over a century!
Due to political issues, no racing took place at Oaklawn between 1907 and 1916 but after a sustained period of action the now-famous Arkansas Derby was inaugurated in 1936 with a purse of $5,000 offered to entrants.
By 1952 Oaklawn could boast daily attendances of almost 8,000 people and an average daily handle of well over $400,000, figures which rose by the turn of the decade to 10,000 and $500,000, respectively, with the Arkansas Derby purse increasing to $50,000 by 1965.
The track continued to go from strength to strength, and during a 50-day meeting in 1970, an average of 11,000 people were attending daily, with over $43,000,000 wagered over the course of the meet.
In the mid-70s, Oaklawn gave birth to the Racing Festival of the South, with pari-mutuel wagering amounting to a cool $80,000,000 that season, and by the 80s, over a quarter of a million people were attending the festival each year. By then, the purse for the Arkansas Derby was up at $500,000, and a new single-day attendance record was set with 71,000 showing up to see Rampage win the big race in 1986.
Ten years later, Arkansas Derby day saw a total handle of over $10.5 million, and by the turn of the millennium, Oaklawn was still seeing increases in attendance and wagering, meaning the track stands as one of the best in the country at present.
Rebel Stakes FAQ
Q: When is the Rebel Stakes?
A: The 2023 Rebel Stakes will be run Saturday, February 25, at 5:23 p.m. Central Standard Time. The race is the 11th of 12 on the Oaklawn card.
Q: Where is the Rebel Stakes?
A: It takes place at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Arkansas
Q: Which trainer has the most wins in the Rebel Stakes?
A: Trainer Bob Baffert has the most Rebel wins with 8, most recently in 2021 with Concert Tour. Baffert does not have an entrant this year, though he trained Reincarnate until recently, with the Rebel being that horse’s first start for Tim Yakteen. Baffert is ineligible to earn Kentucky Derby points this year, and moved horses to Yakteen’s barn to earn points last year as well.
Q: Who is the favorite for the 2023 Rebel Stakes?
A: The morning-line favorite for the Rebel is rail-drawn Verifying at odds of 2-1. He comes in off an allowance victory, but with a Grade 1 placing in the Champagne and a troubled sixth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1), he brings two-year-old class to the race.
Q: Who is the best Rebel Stakes jockey?
A: Mike Smith leads all jockeys with five wins in the Rebel, most recently in 2019 with Omaha Beach. Smith does not have a call in the race this year. No jockey named on a horse in the 2023 Rebel has won the race yet.
Q: Who won the 2022 Rebel Stakes?
A: Un Ojo won the 2022 Rebel Stakes for trainer Ricky Courville and jockey Ramon Vazquez. Neither Courville nor Vazquez returns for the race in 2023.