Tapiture (white cap) set to contest the Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn ParkPICTURE: Coady Photography
Tapiture and Mandate set for Rebel Stakes
Preview: USA, Saturday 12.04am Sun GMT
Oaklawn Park (Arkansas): Rebel Stakes (Grade 2) 1m½f, dirt, 3yo
LADBROKES, who have a made a point of pricing up all this year's slew of Kentucky Derby trials, cannot split leading contenders Tapiture and Strong Mandate in what looks a highly competitive renewal of the Rebel Stakes, this weekend's premier Derby prep.
Tapiture (Steve Asmussen/Ricardo Santana) scored by more than four lengths on his seasonal reappearance in last month's Southwest Stakes at Saturday's venue Oaklawn Park, where Grade 1 winner Strong Mandate (D Wayne Lukas/Joel Rosario) took second place after a troubled wide trip.
The runner-up gets a 3lb pull here in a $600,000 event that also includes a pair of likely types jetting in from California in recent Grade 2 winner Kobe's Back (John Sadler/Jose Lezcano) and Hoppertunity (Bob Baffert/Mike Smith), whose trainer habitually sends a high-class representative to Arkansas for the Rebel.
He has won the race three times in the past, with Preakness Stakes victor Lookin At Lucky, top sprinter The Factor and dual Breeders' Cup winner Secret Circle.
Ladbrokes: 2 Tapiture, Strong Mandate, 4 Kobe's Back, 6 Hoppertunity, 16 Ride On Curlin, Street Strategy, 33 Sheltowee's Boy, 66 Jet Cat
Also on Saturday
Oaklawn Park: Azeri Stakes (Grade 3) 1m½f, dirt, 4yo+ f/m (10.52pm GMT)
A seasonal debut here for Juddmonte's Close Hatches (Bill Mott/Joel Rosario), who breaks from the rail on her first start since finishing second in the Breeders' Cup Distaff.