Saturday’s running of the Grade 2, $1 million Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park marks another stop along the Road to the Kentucky Derby. The field consists of 11 3-year-olds, and Derby qualifying points will be awarded to the top five finishers.
We’re here to examine Rebel Stakes odds and picks ahead of Saturday’s Derby prep race with the help of Circa Sports horse racing oddsmaker Paul Zilm.
Morning-Line Odds To Win 2023 Rebel Stakes
Here are the post positions, morning-line odds, jockeys, and trainers for the 11-horse field for the 2023 Rebel Stakes, which is contested over 1-1/16 miles. Post time is approximately 6:23 p.m. on Saturday, and FS2 has live coverage from Oaklawn Park.
|Morning Line Odds
|Red Route One
|Ricardo Santana, Jr.
|Iran Ortiz, Jr.
|Saffie Joseph, Jr.
|D. Wayne Lukas
Editor’s note: Morning-line odds are simply a prediction by track handicappers of what each horse’s price will be. They have no bearing on the odds a bettor ultimately receives on a bet. With pari-mutuel wagering, odds are determined by the amount of money bet on each entry, and closing odds are the prices at which each bet is effective.
Expert Rebel Stakes Picks From Circa Oddsmaker
Trainer Bob Baffert transferred Reincarnate to the barn of Tim Yakteen with the hope of gaining qualifying points for the Kentucky Derby. This came after Baffert recently had a motion to remove his ban from the Kentucky Derby denied in court. Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez will ride Reincarnate.
Veteran horse racing oddsmaker Paul Zilm, who sets odds for Las Vegas-based Circa Sports, expects an honest pace in Saturday’s race.
“I think there is enough speed in this field to push each other,” Zilm said. “It maybe won’t be scorching, but I do believe it will be on the faster side. Verifying from the rail, Reincarnate, Frosted Departure, maybe Gun Pilot I can all see maybe hitting the front.
“If a couple of them go and press each other, I think it sets up nicely for an off-the-pace type.”
Reincarnate won the Grade 3 Sham in January at Santa Anita after breaking his maiden last year at Del Mar. But trainer Brad Cox has a pair of top contenders in Verifying and Giant Mischief.
Verifying earned a perfect 100 speed rating in a win over Gun Pilot in his last race, which was run over a mile at Oaklawn Park.
“Gun Pilot is very interesting to me,” Zilm said. “Verifying beat him pretty clearly in January in an allowance race. Since then, Gun Pilot came back and won at the allowance level and had a nice kick turning for home to run right by the leaders. He came from off the lead and showed some versatility.
“I think he can sit right off the lead if all goes well and then possibly get the jump sooner than Red Route One.”
Like Gun Pilot, Red Route One finished runner-up his last time out in the Grade 3 Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park. Zilm likes both Gun Pilot and Red Route One in the Rebel Stakes, especially if they remain at mid-range prices.
“Red Route One benefits most if the pace can get really fast up front,” Zilm said. “He had a nice closing run in the Southwest in the rain and mud. He was clearly second to Arabian Knight, but his stretch run was good and he will benefit from a faster pace.
“Arabian Knight did set some fast fractions for him to run into, but visually it still looked like an impressive stretch run. Nobody else was moving like that down the lane.”
If pressed to bet on one horse to win, Zilm is siding with one of trainer Steve Asmussen’s three entries.
“I lean to Gun Pilot for a win bet,” he said. “If Gun Pilot stays at his 8/1 morning line odds or higher — or even 7/1 — I think I play a win bet on him. The favorites are deserving to be favorites, but I don’t think they are that much better than Gun Pilot.”
This Weekend’s Stop on Road to Kentucky Derby
The top five finishers in the Rebel Stakes will receive Kentucky Derby qualifying points on a 50-20-15-10-5 basis. Saturday’s winner will be in the catbird seat when it comes to starting in the Kentucky Derby. Here are Circa’s 2023 Kentucky Derby futures odds for horses competing in the Rebel Stakes.
|Circa Odds To Win 2023 Kentucky Derby
|Red Route One
“Verifying, Reincarnate, and Red Route One have all moved significantly in our futures at Circa Sports, while Giant Mischief and Gun Pilot behind him are just lurking not too far back,” Zilm said. “I would be surprised to not see at least two from this group in the gate come Derby Day.”
Also read: What is the Triple Crown of Horse Racing?