Curlin, Flying First Class New Faces in Rebel

Curlin, Flying First Class New Faces in Rebel
Photo: AP Photo/Danny Johnston
Teuflesberg en route to front-running upset victory in the Southwest Stakes.
Teuflesberg and Officer Rocket, the first two finishers in the Southwest Stakes last month, return to Oaklawn Park Saturday for the $300,000 Rebel Stakes (gr. III) for 3-year-olds where they will meet spectacular maiden winners Curlin and Flying First Class.

The quartet -- all individual entries in the the last pool of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager -- head a field of nine entered for the 1 1/16-mile event.

The Rebel, the second of the Oaklawn Triple Crown series, was swept last year by Lawyer Ron.

Sanders, Logsdon & Kelly's Teuflesberg surprised the local fans in the one-mile Southwest Feb. 19, leading every step of the way at odds of 23-1 to win easily by 1 1/2 lengths. The Jamie Sanders trainee has made 13 starts, with the Southwest being his second stakes win. The Johannesburg colt also captured the six-furlong Sugar Bowl on a sloppy track at the Fair Grounds in December and has won three of his past four starts.

Frank Fletcher Racing Operations' Officer Rocket, meanwhile, is coming off two troubled trips for trainer Bob Holthus, who saddled Lawyer Ron to his local successes last year. The British-bred Officer Rocket won both the Spectacular Bid and Arlington-Washington Breeders' Cup Futurity (gr. III) at Arlington Park last summer, but did not perform up to expectations in two subsequent stakes at Churchill Downs and Delta Downs. The Officer colt turned in his best effort of the 2007 season in the Southwest in spite of having to alter path after being shuffled back. Luis Quinonez rides Officer Rocket for the first time Saturday, replacing Calvin Borel.

Judy and E.W. Johnston's California-bred Flying First Class flashed his ability Feb. 19 with an eight-length maiden win at Oaklawn, and the D. Wayne Lukas trainee's return has been much anticipated. On the undercard of the Southwest the bay son of Perfect Mandate sped six furlongs in 1:09 4/5, the second fastest time of the meet. The 109 Beyer Speed Figure accorded Flying First Class is the highest number yet recorded by a 3-year-old this season. Lukas is confident his colt, who breezed a bullet 1:12 last week in preparation for the Rebel, should handle two turns.

Curlin was purchased for more than $3 million following a 12 3/4-length maiden win at Gulfstream Park on Feb. 3. The chestnut son of Smart Strike has shown his brilliance for trainer Steve Asmussen at his training headquarters in New Orleans. Curlin also breezed 1:12 for six furlongs in the past week.

$300,000 Rebel Stakes (gr. III, Race 10, 6:04 p.m.), 3-Year-Olds, 1 1/16 Miles
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Wannabeinclued (KY), 115, Joe M. Johnson
2. Flying First Class (CA), 115, Edgar S. Prado
3. Sumac (KY), 117, Timothy T. Doocy
4. Teuflesberg (KY), 122, Stewart Elliott
5. U D Ghetto (KY), 119, Terry J. Thompson
6. Officer Rocket (GB), 119, Luis S. Quinonez
7. Xchanger (FL), 117, John Jacinto
8. Curlin (KY), 115, Robby Albarado
9. Going Ballistic (FL), 119, M. Clifton Berry

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