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Uncontested to Skip Rebel Stakes

Smarty Jones winner will likely start next in the Arkansas Derby (G1).

Uncontested will likely make his next start in the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) April 15 at Oaklawn Park, co-owner Harry Rosenblum said Feb. 22.

Rosenblum said he and Uncontested's trainer, Wayne Catalano, are calling the Feb. 20 Southwest Stakes (G3) a "throw out" after the colt faded to sixth as the favorite.

"He's perfectly fine," Rosenblum said after seeing Uncontested Wednesday morning. "He looks good. We're tickled with where we are with him now and you're probably going to see the horse back in the Arkansas Derby."

Uncontested held a clear lead until late in the second turn of the 1 1/16-mile Southwest and was beaten 12 3/4 lengths by One Liner, who was making his stakes and two-turn debut.

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Uncontested was beaten a length for third by Lookin At Lee, who was making his first start since finishing fourth in the $2 million Sentient Jet Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1) Nov. 5 at Santa Anita Park.

"It was a good field," Rosenblum said. "We haven't lost any confidence in our horse. I think we just draw a line through this race, and congratulations to the horses that finished ahead of us."

Uncontested, in his 3-year-old debut, was a 5 1/4-length winner of the $150,000 Smarty Jones Jan. 16.

Oaklawn's four-race Kentucky Derby prep series continues with the $900,000 Rebel Stakes (G2) March 18. Uncontested will likely follow the same path as Far Right, who won the Smarty Jones and Southwest in 2015 for Rosenblum and co-owner Robert LaPenta, skipped the Rebel and ran second to eventual Triple Crown winner American Pharoah in the Arkansas Derby. LaPenta also co-owns Uncontested.

"It's the same kind of plan for a different horse," Rosenblum said, adding the $1 million Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (G2) April 8 at Keeneland is an outside possibility because of its timing. "I'd say we'd like to win the Arkansas Derby here at home, and the horse does well over this track."

Uncontested recorded the most lopsided margin of victory in the 10-year history of the Smarty Jones. His time of 1:36.32 was a stakes record and the second-fastest mile clocking by a 3-year-old during January at Oaklawn.