Rebel Stakes, Saturday March 15th

Week 4 of the Derby Championship Series brings sees us visiting four tracks on the day.  Starting out with the Cicada stakes at Aqueduct, the Honey Fox at Gulfstream, and then 3 races at Oaklawn Park broken up by the Santa Margarita Stakes at (you guessed it) Santa Anita Park. The feature race of the day is the Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn, and it is also our last race of the day. This segment of the Pick 6 Challenge will follow the first and second legs of the Kentucky Derby Championship Series. The first race weekend will feature the Risen Star and Fountain of Youth on Saturday February 22, 2014. It will conclude 8 weeks later with the Arkansas Derby and Bluegrass Stakes on Saturday April 12.

Race 1: The Cicada Stakes.
The Cicada starts the day, and if you like front-runners then Jonesin for Jerry is your horse.  She’s got a high speed figure and will probably set the pace with Inspired Say Eye.  Mr. Pletcher has undefeated Red Minx running, and I think you’ll be lucky to get 10-1 on that horse at post time.  Mamdooha is coming of 3 straight wins, while Miss Behaviour tries to turn the ship around and get her figures back up.  I don’t know why, but Alpaca Fina speaks to me, maybe it’s the fact that Cornelio V is on top, and he’s running for H.G. Motion.

Race 2: The Honey Fox Stakes.
How could we not include the Honey Fox?  Effie Trinket has hit the board her last 7 races, but looks a bit slow to me vs. the competition today.  Run a Risk has great numbers, but seems to find a way to get beat, Paranda won 4 of her last 5, but I love me some cat horses, so look out for Tapicat and Kitten’s Point, Meeeow!

Race 3: The Azeri Stakes.
Our first race at Oaklawn is the Azeri Stakes, where Close Hatches comes in off an astounding 107 at the Breeders Cup distaff, and she didn’t even win!  Hard to not think she’ll be the class of the field.  Don’t Tell Sofia is a 6 yr old, but has hit the board in all 10 of her last starts, including wins in the last 2.  If you look at the trainer and jockey win percentages, you’ll fall in love with Sister Ginger and On Fire baby, who may be the only horse with the speed to match Close Hatches.

Race 4: The Razorback Handicap.
There’s lots to like in the Razorback, so all I can say is good luck.  Taptowne looks great, and I’ll bet he loves that inside post, but Calvin Borel is on Right to Vote, Todd Pletcher brings Golden Lad to the fray, and you’ve got to believe he has him prepared for this race (winner of his last 3, 2 with Lezcano on top).  Called to Serve has some crazy good speed, and Bob Baffert is placing his money on a turnaround for Governor Charlie, Cornelio told me to watch out for that cagey veteran Mike Smith.

Race 5: The Santa Margarita Stakes.
Our fifth race brings us out to Santa Anita, so you better watch out for Bob Baffert.  Fiftyshadesofhay could use the help, she hasn’t won since June 2013.  A lot of these horses bring great jockey and trainer percentages, so who will distance themselves from the rest? Stanwyck has the veteran of the left coast Gary Stevens on top, but seems to be running a bit slow for my liking.  I think you would be making a mistake to leave out Iotapa in this race, even if that annoying Joe Talamo is riding him today.  I’d like Cornelio to take a few starts away from him, if I say so myself.

Race 6: The Rebel Stakes.
Which leads us to the feature of the day, the Rebel Stakes.  I hope you saved some picks.  Tapiture looks like a killer in the Rebel, and there is a lot to like about Strong Mandate and Kobe’s Back, who is stuck on the outside.  Calvin Borel will draw some love at the betting window on Street Strategy no doubt, but he seems a bit too pompous for my liking.

There you have the races for today, the 15th of March.  Good luck everyone!

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