Scully's plays for March 13

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March 12th, 2021

Saturday’s $1 million Rebel S. (G2) at Oaklawn Park is the biggest race of the weekend, and a couple of major Kentucky Derby contenders -- Caddo River and Concert Tour -- are set for the 85-point qualifier.

Here are some thoughts on a few Oaklawn stakes, as well as a pick for Laurel Park.

Rebel S. (G2) – Race 11 (6:16 p.m. ET)

#1 Caddo River will face stiffer competition than the Jan. 23 Smarty Jones S., which he won comfortably by 10 lengths, but he may be the controlling speed again from post 1.

Concert Tour rated comfortably in third when capturing the San Vicente S. (G2) last out, and I don’t envision him staying on even terms with the pacesetter during the opening stages.

A lack of pace pressure plays to the advantage of Caddo River, who showed an impressive turn of foot to squash rivals on the far turn of his last two outings. I’m giving the Brad Cox-trained colt the edge in the Rebel.

Essex H., Oaklawn Park – Race 7 (4:08 p.m. ET)

#6 Green Light Go caught a tough allowance field off a lengthy layoff last time and was beaten only 1 1/4 lengths in the six-furlong test. He stretches out to 1 1/16 miles in an Essex field lacking much pace.

Throw out a pair of early-season losses last year – Green Light Go wasn’t the same horse that displayed enormous potential at age two. He was eventually transferred to Jerry Hollendorfer and now has a tightener under his belt. I’m expecting a strong showing on the front end.

Hot Springs S., Oaklawn Park – Race 10 (5:45 p.m.)

Whitmore will be seeking a fifth straight win in the Hot Springs, but the eight-year-old gelding did drop his first start at Oaklawn last season when finishing second in the King Cotton S. at short odds.

#2 Flagstaff recorded a rallying fourth when coming back from a layoff in the Feb. 6 King Cotton, and I like the addition of blinkers for the gelding. The John Sadler trainee broke poorly when posting a fast-closing second in the Count Fleet Sprint H. (G3) at Oaklawn last spring, and he was away slowly from the gate last time before finishing well.

Facing only six rivals on Saturday, Flagstaff has a shot at the upset if he can establish better positioning from the gate with blinkers.

Harrison E. Johnson Memorial S., Laurel Park – Race 6 (3:03 p.m. ET)

#6 Dixie Drawl didn’t appear comfortable in traffic when chasing a contested pace in the Feb. 20 John B. Campbell S., but I expect him to get in the clear and receive a better trip in the Harrison Johnson Memorial.

The 5-year-old gelding should appreciate the stretch back out to 1 1/8 miles, earning a 101 Brisnet Speed rating for a sharp 9 1/4-length allowance triumph at Laurel two starts back, and Dixie Drawl looks appealing at 6-1 on the morning line.