May 19, 2019

Optix Looks Through the Rebel Stakes Field

by EMILY GULLIKSON

The $900,000 Rebel Stakes is Saturday at Oaklawn Park. For handicapping reports, CLICK HERE.

#1 TITLE READY (8-1) the rail draw with a horse that prefers to be forwardly placed will force his hand. He does not look like a horse that will be comfortable rating behind horses should rider try that route. He had a PERFECT trip last out, and will take more pressure here. Has to take a step forward on many accounts, and would have to earn it under pressure on the front end.

#2 CURLIN’S HONOR (12-1) is light on seasoning and heavy on talent. He has really grown up physically from his debut at Keeneland, going two turns will not be an issue. All signs from the last race give the indicator on move forward ability, from racing tight in TRAFFIC to late stretch TROUBLE, and finally getting fitness asking him to continue to run out after the wire. There is enough there to give this horse a look in this race at a square number given he will be really stepping up in class in his first route attempt.

#3 SOLOMINI (3-2) can’t really knock anything he has done from a class standpoint. My reservation with him comes from OptixFIG. Now granted those numbers are from his two-year-old season, and could step forward he has not shown much improvement throughout those four starts. A slight improvement puts him within range but given the short morning line, and a competitive field, have to look elsewhere.

#4 MAGNUM MOON (7-2) was on the radar following his eye catching win at Tampa Bay Downs. We expected to see him in the Tampa Bay Derby, and think it is encouraging they opted for a tougher spot here. Pletcher has brought his top derby prospects to Oaklawn over the years, and will be testing this one to see if he’s the real deal.

#5 HIGHER POWER (20-1) local hopeful will be taking his best shot here after a perfect trip last out. Right now he ranks below the top contenders and seems a minor award is the ceiling.

#6 PRYOR (30-1) caught the right part of the race track to break his maiden last out. He earned a solid figure but could be inflated based on the BIAS.

#7 SPORTING CHANCE (5-1) despite some late issues that may have cost him a better position he gave a real honest effort making that first start off the layoff. Overall should get something out of the start he most likely needed. I have some questions still on the distance as he does not strike me as a real distance route type.

#8 HIGH NORTH (12-1) gives an honest account every time, and ran better than that 5th place finish last out might indicate. He is a “C” type horse in horizontal, and an “A” in verticals.

#9 ZING ZANG (20-1) is a bit light on figures, but trips and race flow have factored. His late running style is at the mercy of the race shape and should be factored. In the Southwest, he was against the flow and the inside profile; ran a good race all things considered. There is “fire” contention in Q1 on OptixPLOT and signals that the field could be bunched early, something that will help him significantly.

#10 COMBATANT (8-1) made his move outside while winner was able to make that similar move along the fence on the better part of the track. There are some seemingly talented, new shooters in the mix, but given his last couple races should not be discounted.

#11 BODE’S MAKER (50-1) ran his career best last out racing on the deeper part of the track. I get that connections would be encouraged off that race to take a shot, and taking a shot they are.

Emily Gullickson handicaps for OptixEQ. Follower her on Twitter @EmilyOptixEQ