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Nationwide horse-racing gamblers have an abundance of wagering opportunities on Saturday with a blockbuster card featuring the Rebel Stakes from Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Arkansas. Here, we look at contenders and the field for this weekend’s Kentucky Derby prep race.

Saturday’s Oaklawn card is the most lucrative program in the country with $2,283,000 of purse money, by far tops in the industry. Bettors can access the action via FanDuel TV.

2023 Rebel Stakes Field

Here is the field for Saturday’s Rebel Stakes, with Verifying, Giant Mischief, and Reincarnate listed as the top contenders by the track handicapper.

PPHorseML OddsJockey Trainer
1Verifying2-1Florent GerouxBrad H. Cox
2Powerful20-1Isaac CastilloSteven M. Asmussen
3Red Route One10-1Cristian A. TorresSteven M. Asmussen
4Gun Pilot8-1Ricardo Santana, Jr.Steven M. Asmussen
5Giant Mischief5-2Irad Ortiz, Jr.Brad H. Cox
6Reincarnate7-2John R. VelazquezTim Yakteen
7Confidence Game15-1James GrahamJ. Keith Desormeaux
8Talladega30-1Flavien PratRodolphe Brisset
9Event Detail30-1Gerardo CorralesPaulo H. Lobo
10Bourbon Bash20-1Mickaelle MichelD. Wayne Lukas
11Frosted Departure20-1Francisco ArrietaKenneth G. McPeek

Saturday’s Oaklawn Racing Schedule

It is a 12-race package, starting at 1 p.m. ET and offering several stakes races throughout the card.

The headliner is the $1 million Rebel Stakes that carries an automatic berth to the May 6 Kentucky Derby for the winner. A field of 11 hits the post at 6:23 p.m. ET and will run 1 1/16 miles.

The $300,000 Honeybee Stakes is a companion headliner, open to fillies who will go 1 1/6 miles. Post time is 5:43 p.m. ET with a field of 12.

A little earlier, the $150,000 Carousel Stakes at 6 furlongs goes at 4:06 p.m. ET.

The entire card is stacked. Many of the races are adorned with big fields, which provide exceptional betting value along with a handicapping challenge.

Some gamblers prefer medium-sized fields that are easier to handicap. Others like large fields in which it may be tough to unearth winners, but the payouts are extraordinary.

Defining one’s comfort zone is a good place to start the wagering process.

Rebel Stakes Contenders and Overview

Verifying, Giant Mischief, and Reincarnate have performed slightly better than the others heading into this.

They have early betting odds ranging from 2-1 to 7-2 top choices and that will fluctuate on race day. Betting odds become final at post time, per pari-mutuel regulations.

Rebel Stakes: Contenders & Overview of the Field for Saturday’s Kentucky Derby Prep Race
Florent Geroux (here aboard Fenwick in the 2022 Preakness Stakes) rides Verifying in Saturday’s Rebel Stakes (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Verifying ran a good sixth in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and won his next race.

Giant Mischief rallied from dead last to second in the Springboard Mile after being a couple of steps slow out of the gate.

Reincarnate has a win over this distance at Santa Anita and survived two wicked speed duels to capture the Sham Stakes. That’s important because he may be joined on the front end by several competitors. Giant Mischief would be among the beneficiaries if a speed duel develops.

Is There a Live Longshot in the Rebel Stakes?

Yes, Red Route One deliberately sat 15 lengths behind the field in his last race and made a bold move to nearly overcome them. He finished a strong second to Arabian Night, who may blossom into a Kentucky Derby contender.

Exotics bettors may take a long look at Gun Pilot, Confidence Game, and Frosted Departure as longshots who can get into the trifecta or superfecta.

Handicapping the Rebel Stakes

It would be worth the time to watch races 2, 3, and 4. All are 1 1/6 miles, which is the exact distance as the Honeybee and the Rebel.

Otherwise, the Honeybee, which occurs just before the Rebel, is an ideal handicapping tool. It’s the same distance and also has a large field of 12.

These races can indicate whether the track is favoring frontrunners or closers. Are the winners coming from the pack that breaks first or from a stalking position?

Earlier races also matter regarding the track surface. Light rain is expected in the Oaklawn forecast for Friday and Saturday. If it gets heavier than expected, the track could be listed as “good,” which is heavy or “sloppy” and some horses don’t handle it at all.

Earlier events will tell bettors whether or not the rain impacted the surface for the big race.

Rebel Stakes Betting Analysis

See who the public falls in love with on Saturday.

Verifying, Giant Mischief, and Reincarnate enter with the best past credentials. One of them might be bet heavily, leaving one or the other two with exceptional value. If you agree with that assessment, the win and place bet on your favorite selection is the best place to put the bulk of the money.

If you like a mid-to-longer-priced horse, this is even more applicable.

If all the favorites run well, the trifectas won’t be where the money is in this race, but one nice exacta box could pay well.

Rebel Stakes Notable Results

There was a big one last year. Un Ojo began the day 12-1 and drifted to 75-1. The public had fallen in love with Newgrange at 4-5 and Un Ojo, who had raced in New York, was overlooked.

Newgrange ran out of the money and Un Ojo rallied up the rail for a piece of longshot heaven.

In 2015, American Pharoah won this event at the start of a magical campaign. This race qualified him for the Kentucky Derby, which he then won. After that, it was the Preakness and Belmont Stakes, as American Pharoah became the first horse in 37 years to sweep all three.

Honeybee Stakes Contenders and Overview

Grand Love, the 3-1 lukewarm morning-line favorite, gets massive class relief after finishing sixth in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies in November.

Wet Paint came from dead last to win the Martha Washington here last month. The recent form is a major plus, as is a victory over the track.

Defining Purpose was run down by Wet Paint in the Martha Washington and finished third — victimized by a speed duel on a track that’s often kind to closers.

Are There Meaningful Longshots in the Honeybee Stakes?

Taxed came out of that race and was a gallant second at 27-1. Listed at 15-1 here, she would be of extraordinary value if she can rise to that level again.

Condensation, 12-1, comes off a nice Oaklawn victory at 1 mile in allowance optional claiming on Feb. 11. Connections are taking a fit horse and hoping she can stretch out off the win.

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About the Author
Dave Bontempo

Dave Bontempo

Dave Bontempo is an award-winning writer and broadcaster, who has covered the sports industry since the 1970s. He won the Sam Taub Award for Excellence in Boxing Broadcasting by the Boxing Writers Association of America in 1997, and is in the New Jersey and Atlantic City Boxing Halls of Fame. Bontempo has broadcast major fights all over the world. The advent of legalized sports wagering shifted his focus to this exciting new industry in 2018.

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