Suddenbreakingnews drawn wide again for Rebel
The Rebel, which last year served as the season opener for eventual Triple Crown hero American Pharoah, is the leading prep for the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) on April 16. As part of the Road to the Kentucky Derby Series, the top four finishers will earn qualifying points of 50-20-10-5 for the Run for the Roses.
The Southwest was the season debut for Suddenbreakingnews, who was coupled in the wagering with Synchrony and was considered the lesser half of the Donnie Von Hemel-trained entry despite having won the Clever Trevor and missing by a nose in the Springboard Mile at Remington Park last fall. Beating expectations by a wide margin, Suddenbreakingnews fell as much as 15 lengths off the lead but circled the field with a seven-wide bid to win going away.
Whether Suddenbreakingnews is aided by a contested pace similar to that in the Southwest remains to be seen. He'll be joined by fellow Southwest entrants Whitmore, who finished a solid second after a rough trip, and American Dubai, who faded to third after tracking front-runner Siding Spring before taking the lead in mid-stretch.
In addition to Siding Spring, other Southwest also-rans returning for the Rebel are Discreetness, the Springboard Mile and Smarty Jones winner who showed little in finishing seventh, and Cutacorner, who remained far back after meeting interference from Z Royal around the first turn.
Newcomers to the Oaklawn classic prep series are an intriguing bunch. Ralis was highly impressive taking the Hopeful (G1) by nearly six lengths next summer, but fared poorly in both the Champagne and Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1) for Doug O'Neill. Trainer Bob Baffert, who has dominated Oaklawn's major three-year-old events this decade, has shipped in Cupid, who exits a 5 1/4-length maiden over a mile at Santa Anita. Cherry Wine, who has won his last two starts at Gulfstream and Churchill by open lengths for Dale Romans, is another who figures to get strong backing.
Also making their stakes debut is the Steve Asmussen-trained entry of Madtap and Creator. One of four Tapits in the Rebel field, Madtap appears more likely to threaten following a six-length allowance score over the track and distance. Creator also exits a big win, albeit against maidens in his sixth start.
The field is rounded out by Gray Sky and Spikes Shirl.
(Oaklawn Park/Coady Photography)