Already regarded by many as the best 3-year-olds in the land, Fox Hills Farms’ Old Fashioned will look to solidify himself as the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) favorite when he takes on eight rivals in the $300,000 Rebel Stakes (gr. II) March 14 at Oaklawn Park.
Trained by Larry Jones, Old Fashioned is undefeated in four starts, including his no-doubt-about-it 3 1/2-length score in the Southwest Stakes (gr. III) at the Arkansas track Feb. 16. The son of Unbridled's Song has worked just once since that victory, a five-furlong bullet move in :59-flat March 8. That is all he needs, said Jones, who has his eye on the future.
“You do not try to have him cranked up 100 percent for their first races by any means, because you know we’re looking at wanting to go through all the Triple Crown races,” said Jones, who also saddles top Derby prospect Friesan Fire the same day in the Louisiana Derby (gr. II).
“We have not had to do a lot of lifting between the last race and this, just normal gallops. We did breezing on (March 8) and he breezed a very quick work for Oaklawn Park standards and he just seems to be doing very well. And hopefully, we have it so he can run six races in a row and still not be over the top or ambitious.”
Smarty Jones: Looking back on the career of the 2004 Rebel & KY Derby Winner
Old Fashioned, who was bred in Kentucky by Rod Rodriguez and Lorraine Rodriguez, and was an $800,000 yearling, has already earned $323,280. He began his career with a pair of wins at Delaware Park and closed out his juvenile season with a sparkling 7 1/4-length score in the Remsen (gr. II) at Aqueduct.
Out of the Meadowlake mare Collect Call, Old Fashioned will be ridden by regular rider Ramon Dominguez in the 1 1/16-mile dirt contest. He drew post 1 and will carry 122 pounds, five to seven more than his rivals.
In the Rebel, Old Fashioned will face a pair of horses that he defeated in the Southwest, including runner-up Silver City, who set the pace for a half-mile before being inhaled by the winner. Also by Unbridled’s Song, Silver City won three consecutive races leading up to the one-mile Southwest–all of them sprints. His last win was in the 5 1/2-furlong Dixieland Stakes Jan. 16. He is the only other stakes winner in the field.
Silver City is owned by Clarence Scharbauer Jr. and trained by Bret Calhoun. Jon Court will get the mount for the first time and they will break from post 8.
Also coming out of the Southwest is Poltergeist, who finished eighth in his graded stakes debut. The Donnie Von Hemel trainee won a one-mile optional claimer at Oaklawn Jan. 17 to begin his season. Quincy Hamilton will ride.
If the track comes up wet March 14 (there is a chance of rain), it could benefit Stonesreet Stables’ Captain Cherokee and Robert Evans’ homebred Wise Kid, who both won in the slop last out.
Captain Cherokee has won both starts as a sophomore while racing at Fair Grounds. The Steve Asmussen trainee rolled to a 2 3/4-length score in a 1 1/16-mile optional claimer Feb. 14 under Robby Albarado. The son of Sir Cherokee was a $650,000 2-year-old purchase. Luis Quinonez will get the call in the Rebel.
Wise Kid did not race as a 2-year-old but has won two of three starts this year for trainer Tim Ritchey. He stalked the pace and drew away for a 4 1/4-length score in his Feb. 27 optional claimer at Oaklawn going 1 1/16 miles. Jose Caraballo will be in the irons.
Westrock Stable's Hamazing Destiny has a tall order in front of him since he’ll be making just his second career start. But the son of Salt Lake was mighty impressive in his debut, breaking his maiden by more than 10 lengths Feb. 7 at Oaklawn going six furlongs. His final time was 1:10.44. Hall of Famer D. Wayne Lukas has taken over training duties since that race. Terry Thompson is the new rider.