It was a busy morning March 10 at Oaklawn Park for 3-year-olds pointing toward the $900,000 Rebel Stakes (G2), with top local prospects Petrov, Silver Dust, and Uncontested all posting impressive works.
Co-owner/trainer Ron Moquett has been leaning toward the 1 1/16-mile Rebel for approximately a week and confirmed the decision Friday morning after Petrov, a gray son of Flatter , breezed a half-mile in :49 under Greta Kuntzweiler just after the track opened.
Moquett, who co-owns the colt with Catherine Adams Hutt’s Rialto Racing Stable, said he had been considering training up to the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G2) April 15, Oaklawn’s fourth and final major prep for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (G1). Petrov finished second in both the $150,000 Smarty Jones Stakes Jan. 16 and the $500,000 Southwest Stakes (G3) Feb. 20.
“The way I looked at is, if this race had been a normal type of race, it would be a no-brainer,” Moquett said approximately an hour after Petrov’s work over a fast track. “But, you really have to consider the amount of effort these horses are going to have to give. This is a real, real tough race.”
Moquett said New York-based Jose Ortiz has the return call on Petrov in the March 18 Rebel. He rode the colt in the Smarty Jones and Southwest.
Other local horses pointing for the Rebel include Lookin At Lee and Silver Dust, third and fourth, respectively, in the Southwest; Untrapped, a recent arrival for Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen; and Silver Bullion for D. Wayne Lukas.
Untrapped had been based this winter at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, where he ran second in the $200,000 LeComte Stakes (G3) Jan. 21 and $400,000 Risen Star Stakes (G2) Feb. 25. Asmussen, a seven-time training champion at Oaklawn, also trains Lookin At Lee.
Following the renovation break Friday morning, Silver Dust breezed six furlongs in company in 1:14 3/5 for trainer Randy Morse.
Morse said Corey Lanerie will retain the mount on Silver Dust, who was making his stakes, two turn, and 3-year-old debut in the Southwest.
Also working just after the track opened Friday morning was Smarty Jones winner Uncontested, who blazed five furlongs in :58 4/5, easily the fastest time of the day for the distance, under regular rider Channing Hill.
Clockers caught the speedy son of Tiz Wonderful galloping out six furlongs in 1:10 3/5 and seven furlongs in 1:24 4/5.
“The time speaks for itself,” Hill said. “He went good.”
Co-owner Harry Rosenblum said following the work that Uncontested is “highly probable” for the Rebel “off of that breeze.”
“The way he came back, he wasn’t winded at all,” Rosenblum said. “Channing said the way he came back to the barn is exactly the way he pulled up—not winded at all.”
Uncontested, after leading for much of the race, finished sixth as the favorite in the 1 1/16-mile Southwest. Trained by Wayne Catalano, he was a record-setting 5 1/4-length winner of the Smarty Jones.