Newgrange and Barber Road set for rematch in Saturday’s Rebel – Horse Racing News
The pitch at the top of the stretch in the G3 Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park. Eventual winner Newgrange (yellow cap) looms on the outside, followed by runner-up Barber Road (grey and dark blue silks on the outside).
The Road to the Kentucky Derby championship series continues Saturday at Oaklawn Park with the $1 million Rebel (grade 2) where 10 horses from the 1 1/16 mile event are currently eligible to earn a maximum of 85 points to qualify for the $3 million Kentucky Derby (G1) on the first Saturday in May.
A total of 11 horses passed the entry box at Oaklawn on Monday for the Rebel, including undefeated colt Newgrange, who was made the morning line favorite 9-5. Son of Violence, owned by SF Racing (Gavin Murphy), Starlight Racing (Jack Wolf, et al.), Madaket Stables (Sol Kumin), Robert Masterson, Stonestreet Stables (Barbara Banke), Jay Schoenfarber, Waves Edge Capital (Gregg Slager), Catherine Donovan, Golconda Stable (Ben Goldberg) and Siena Farm (Anthony Manganaro), is not eligible to earn points in the Rebel because his trainer Bob Baffert is suspended by Churchill Downs Incorporated.
The Rebel will compete in the 11 of 12 race with a start time of 6:22 p.m. (all times Eastern). The race in Oaklawn will be featured on America’s Day at the Races on Fox Sports 2 from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m.
On his last start, Newgrange dug deep in the latter stages of the $750,000 Southwest Stakes (G2) to fend off rival Barber Road. The duo are about to have a rematch in the Rebel. Trained by John Ortiz, Barber Road finished fourth on his Colonial Downs debut but, after adding blinders, did not turn worse than second in his next five starts. The gray son of Race Day will be ridden by Reylu Gutierrez from the No. 9 post at a morning line odds of 9-2.
“I’m not really too worried,” said Ortiz, who trains Barber Road for former Walmart executive William Simon. “I’m afraid that my horse will have its best race. We have already faced the best horses here. We’re just going for a ride. The speed is inside. I think Reylu, he will have the right plan. Everything is in his hands.
Newgrange and Barber Road were the Southwest doubles but the three horses who finished directly behind them are also entered in the Rebel: Ben Diesel (post 6, 6-1); Kavod (post 1, 12-1); and Dash Attack (post 11, 8-1).
One of the newcomers to the field is the first Ethereal Road winner for owner Aaron Sones and trainer D. Wayne Lukas, a four-time Kentucky Derby winner. Ethereal Road, which will break under Luis Contreras from post 10 at odds of 12-1, memorably picked up its first victory after trailing 16 lengths in a special 1 1/16 mile first weight contest. In the far bend, the son of quality road began a quick charge around his rivals and finished ahead by four lengths.
“It takes them three-eighths of a mile to get that momentum going again,” Lukas said of Ethereal Road, who is 16.3 hands tall and weighs around 1,300 pounds. “But when they start, if they have the ability, again I emphasize that – they have to have the ability – when they start they overtake the horses if they have the ability. What he did in the turn, if you just took the video and ran it the half mile and said, “Oh, here, let’s watch this” – from the half mile (pole) to the wire, it was spectacular. , he was overtaking a horse.
Lukas won the Rebel in 1989 with Manatash Ridge and 2013 with Will Take Charge.
One variable horses may face on Saturday is the weather. The National Weather Service forecast said a quarter to a half inch of ice is possible through Thursday night in Hot Springs, Ark. Conditions are expected to improve on Friday with mostly sunny skies and highs near 45 degrees.
The Rebel field projected 11 horsepower from the rail:
- Kavod, Francisco Arrieta to mount, 117 pounds, 12-1 on the morning line;
- Newgrange, John Velazquez, 122, 9-5;
- Cairama, Geovanni Franco, 117, 15-1;
- A Ojo, Ramón Vazquez, 117, 12-1;
- Texas red Hot, Ricardo Santana Jr., 117, 12-1;
- Stellar Tap, Cristian Torres, 117, 10-1;
- Ben Diesel, Jon Court, 117, 6-1;
- Chasing time, Tyler Gaffalione, 122, 8-1;
- Barber Road, Reylu Gutierrez, 117, 9-2;
- Ethereal Route, Luis Contreras, 117, 12-1; and
- Dash Attack, David Cohen, 122, 8-1.