Mucciolo’s Sophomore Spotlight Recap: Rebel Stakes
Rebel S. (G2):
The unbeaten MALAGACY tracked in second to the top of the lane, inched to the lead in early stretch and cruised to a two-length victory in this lucrative race for conditioner Todd Pletcher. Son of Shackleford strode home pretty well until drifting in a bit late, which adds to my concern that he is not a classic-distance type of runner. $190,000 chestnut did have a dream voyage every step of the way but give him credit for being so athletic to carve out his own trip with Javier Castellano in the silks, and the colt is eligible to improve going long for the second time next out. I am not thrilled with the 95 BRIS Speed rating, but he can surely move forward for expert connections.
A trio of runners were separated by a few nostrils for the minor awards, with UNTRAPPED being the most interesting to me. The Steve Asmussen trainee was wide while stalking near midpack early on and made a big middle move to draw nearly even with the eventual winner before finishing third under the wire. Dark bay colt has now placed in three straight graded races and I think he has more to offer this spring as a consistently good colt with versatility. With that said, the Kentucky-bred is another with a question mark around him as to how far he wants to travel.
Runner-up SONNETEER put in a lifetime best showing when rallying from well back and garnering second at 112-1 odds. Keith Desormeaux trainee is still a maiden and I can’t take him too seriously unless he continues to build upon the surprising effort in the final prep.
ROYAL MO and AMERICAN ANTHEM really disappointed me running ninth and tenth, respectively. Both of the California invaders looked to be well positioned in the early going before faltering in a big way late and I don’t have an excuse for either one. This is surely not the time of the year to throw in a clunker, though.