The GII “Rebel Stakes” is the lone “Derby Trail” contest this Weekend!

Oaklawn Park runs the GII 'Rebel Stakes' here on Saturday!

This Saturday, Oaklawn Park plays host to this weekend lone 3yo Derby test in the GII “Rebel Stakes” , going 1 1/16 mile, for a purse of $300,000.

This is their 2nd of 3 big derby tests run every year at Oaklawn Park and in year’s gone by this race has produced winners like Smarty Jones, Curlin, Win Willy and last year Lookin at Lucky have all won this early Derby test. 

So this race and Oaklawn Park has drawn some of the top 3yo talent in the country to prep here for a date at Churchill Downs every first Saturday of May!

So the 3yo class of 2011 for this contest is a Preakness sized field of 13 hopefuls looking to snag a piece of that $300,000 pot and take one step closer to a Derby date in early May!

The favorite for this Saturday’s tilt is one of two California shippers in The Factor at odds of 2/1 on the morning line! This 3yo son of War Front has been stealing all the 3yo headlines out at Santa Anita this winter. First he broke the track record for 6f on opening day there then beat Sway Away and Premier Pegasus in the GII San Vicente last month going that 7f tilt in 1:20 1/5. So he has got big speed in early factions but can he go the 2-turns, rate and be a real derby contender? This is what his connections are looking to find out here on Saturday! He will set the pace here Saturday but the best we think you can hope for is a 3rd or 4th spot here. This isn’t that hot Santa Anita main track either!

Sway Away at 5/2 is the other SO/Cal shipper in this contest with a pair of 2nd’s in his last 2 outings to J.P.s Gusto in the GII Best Pal and 2nd to The Factor as stated above but he too is trying 2-turns for the first time and this again isn’t that quick Santa Anita surface.  He too has to rate here to be part of the stretch action or start thinking in terms of a sprinting career.

Both favorites here have much to prove Saturday and now is the time if they want to be in Louisville in early May!

Archarcharch at 8/1, J. P.’s Gusto at 5/1, Elite Alex at 8/1, Picko’s Pride at 20/1 and Caleb’s Posse at 20/1 were the 1, 2, 3, 4 and 6th respective finishers from last month’s GIII Southwest Stakes here in Oaklawn’s first derby prep race. All 5, have  returned to take another bit at the Derby apple.

Archarcharch, son of Arch, had as good a trip around the Oaklawn main track as it gets last month but the 1:38 and 1/5 for the mile covered that day isn’t going to set the world on fire. So all 5 of these Derby want-to-be’s will have to step up their games. We think Archarcharch, Elite Alex and J.P.’s Gusto have the best shot of these 5 to be there at the end.

At 12/1 is Alternation, son of Distorted Humor and a Seattle Slew mare has 3 straight wins at a mile or more, beating Elite Alex and Dreaminofthewin a 30/1 shot in this contest in his last 2 alw tests here. So he got the pedigree, experience at the distance at a track he can win at. Sounds like a good “Dark Horse” pick to us and 12/1 somewhere in your exotic’s feel’s just about right to us too!

The rest of this 2011 field for this GII Rebel Stakes are Dreaminofthewin at 30/1 sporting a pair of recent alw 2nd’s here, Saratoga Red at 30/1 with just a sloppy track, mile, maiden win here last month, 20/1 Glint with a pair of 6f stakes board hits will try two turns here Saturday, at 30/1 are J.W. Blue an alw winner here on Jan 29th beating Bluegrass Jam that day who has 3 of 4 board hits to his resume coming into this contest!

So this old handicapper is suspect of the 2 So/Cal hot spots here as they have no 2-turn experience over this strip, have yet to show an ability to rate as they have run full tilt at Santa Anita’s speed favoring main track this year! We’d use them in super’s only!

The real possibilities are J.P’s Gusto, Archarcharch, Elite Alex and Alternation to us! So maybe box up these four in your favorite exotic and through in that So/Cal pair into your super’s thoughts somewhere!

We expect hot early factions of 23, 46, 1:10 or 11 then a complete pace collapse by the mile pole where the closers will swarm in!

So you do have good value here in this race and if everyone chases these hot factions some of these good old boys at 20 and 30/1 could light up this Oaklawn board with big prices “ala” the Tampa Bay Derby last weekend!

Hey they are all 3yo’s that can grow up fast and it is the season for it too!

 Stay tuned folks, this one should be fun!

“Wood Memorial” gets new name and a new Million dollar purse!

Aqueduct will host the Apr 9th GI "Wood Memorial!

The NYRA announced today it is upping the purse for the GI “Wood Memorial” Stakes that will be run at Aqueduct on Apr 9th to $1,000,000!

They also announced today that the race will be renamed The Resorts World New York Casino Wood Memorial.

The resorts world people ponied up the additional $250,000 to the existing $750,000 purse for this biggest race of the Aqueduct meet, all in an effort to seal the deal to bring the 2yo Eclipse Award winning “Uncle Mo” to run here in this “Big Apple” 3yo clash on Apr 9th!

It’s been the desire of owner Mike Repole, Brooklyn native, to run his prized 3yo here all along but the extra 250k in the pot doesn’t hurt either. So look for “Uncle Mo” here in the “Big Apple” on April 9th for a race day that might be remembered for years to come.

Monmouth Park Unveils Stakes and Graded Stakes Schedule for 2011, despite its uncertain future!

Monmouth Park readies for a new season!

Today, Monmouth Park announced its Stakes and Graded Stakes schedule for 2011 despite all the uncertainty surrounding its future course!

The $1,000,000 GI Haskell Invitational and GI $750,000 United Nations are both fully-funded along with all the other Stakes and Graded Stakes events run here last year. 

It also appears, for now, that last year’s abbreviated meet dates will remain in effect again for 2011 with live racing only on Friday’s, Saturday’s, Sunday’s and Monday’s of holiday weekends with opening day probably being Saturday, May the 14th

Below is the schedule for now of the Stakes and Graded Stakes calendar for 2011 season!

Monday, May 30 Violet Stakes (gr. III), $150,000, F&M 3YO&UP, 1 1/16 miles (T)
Sunday, June 12 Monmouth Stakes (gr. III), $250,000, 3YO&UP, 1 1/8 miles (T)
Saturday, June 18 Pegasus Stakes (gr. III), $200,000, 3YO, 1 1/16 miles
Saturday, June 25 Boiling Springs Stakes (gr. III), $150,000, 3YOF, 1 1/16 miles (T)
Saturday, July 2 Salvator Mile (gr. III), $200,000, 3YO&UP, one mile
Sunday, July 3 Jersey Shore Stakes (gr. III), $150,000, 3YO, 6 furlongs
Saturday, July 9 Long Branch Stakes, $150,000, 3YO, 1 1/16 miles
Sunday, July 31 Haskell Invitational (gr. I), $1 million, 3YO, 1 1/8 miles
   Oceanport Stakes (gr. III), $200,000, 3YO&UP, 1 1/16 miles (T)
   Matchmaker Stakes (gr. III), $200,000, F&M 3YO&, 1 1/8 miles (T)
   Lady’s Secret Stakes, $100,000, F&M 3YO&UP, 1 1/16 miles
   Regret Stakes, $100,000, F&M 3YO&UP, 6 furlongs
   Teddy Drone Stakes, $100,000, 3YO&UP, 6 furlongs
   Majestic Light Stakes, $100,000, 3YO&UP, 1 1/16 miles
   Jersey Derby Stakes, $100,000, 3YO, 1 1/16 miles (T)
Saturday, Aug. 13 Monmouth Oaks (gr. III), $150,000, 3YOF, 1 1/16 miles
Saturday, Aug. 20 Philip H. Iselin Stakes, (gr. III), $250,000, 3YO&UP, 1 1/8 miles
Sunday, Aug. 28 Molly Pitcher Stakes (gr. II), $250,000, F&M 3YO&UP, 1 1/16 miles
Saturday, Sept. 3 Sapling Stakes (gr. III), $150,000, 2YO, 6 furlongs
Sunday, Sept. 4 Cliff Hanger Stakes (gr. III), $150,000, 3YO&UP, one mile (T)
Monday, Sept. 5 Sorority Stakes, $100,000, 2YOF, 6 furlongs

* Less monied stakes to be announced later!

“Uncle Mo” is 3/1 in early “Kentucky Derby” pools!

"Mo" winning at the Downs last fall!

After his season debut in Saturday’s “Timely Writer” Stakes win,  “Uncle Mo” tightened his grip on the top spot in all the early “Kentucky Derby” pools! Here’s how they stand right now, in alphabetical order!

1 Anthony’s Cross / 45-1 – S/A derby next for him, will be a factor in it!
2 Archarcharch / 50-1 – Southwest winner deserves a Rebel shot at least !
3 Astrology / 53-1  – No training plan, backed out of  Rebel, going nowhere fast!
4 Brethren / 30-1  – Needs a new plan after Satuday’s effort!          
5 Comma to the Top /85-1- Diddo for this one , as well!
6 Dialed In / 11-1- needed more work, got it, came late for 2nd in his Alw try! 
7  Elite Alex / 31-1- off the radar right now but needs a G/S board hit at 2-turns!
8 Gourmet Dinner / 42-1- put Calvin up on a off derby track and maybe he wins!
9 J P’s Gusto / 61-1- out in the Rebel this Sat., needs a good showing there!
10 Jaycito / 16-1 – S/A Derby bound after a decent 2nd in San Felipe Sat.!
11 Machen / 68-1 – put up or shut up time in the L.A. Derby!
12 Mucho Macho Man / 29-1 A good win in the L.A. Derby and big odds are gone!
13 Rogue Romance / 36-1 – Bruised heel, but can still make the derby field!
14 Runflatout / 31-1- Flatout got beat in Sat’s SanFelipe, a sprinter perhaps!
15 Santiva / 31-1 – Good horse but needs a big showing somewhere and soon!
16 Silver Medallion / 31-1- good horse maybe the Sunland Derby for him next!
17 Soldat / 13-1-Solid contender, Fla Derby bound, test for Uncle Mo there!
18 Stay Thirsty / 25-1 Fla or NY next for him, depends on where “Mo” goes!
19 Sway Away / 18-1 under the radar 3yo, needs a 2-turn good showing next!
20 Sweet Ducky / 75-1- privately sold, off to Dubai, no Ky Derby for him!
21 The Factor 32-1-Out Sat in the Rebel, 1st 2-turn try, will be a factor for 3/4’s
22 To Honor and Serve / 14-1- Training better, rust gone, gives Mo test in Wood!
23 Uncle Mo / 3-1- 22 and 4 in last 1/4 on Sat “ouch” Take 3/1 now, won’t be there on D-Day!
24 Mutuel Field (All Others) / 7-2- box 23 and 24 on Derby day, it’s the only way to win anything, right now!