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Submitted by Noel Michaels on Tuesday, March 12, 2013 at 12:00 AM

Oaklawn Park: Oxbow works bullet half-mile for Rebel Stakes

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – Oxbow fired a bullet Tuesday morning at Oaklawn in his final prep for Saturday’s Grade 2, $600,000 Rebel, which has a potential field of 14 starters. The 1 1/16-mile race is expected to lure shippers from both coasts, including Super Ninety Nine, Delhomme, and Den’s Legacy.


Oxbow could start as the Rebel’s third or fourth choice, behind some or all of those runners. He is the race’s top local prospect on the strength of his 11-length win in the Grade 3, $200,000 Lecomte at Fair Grounds in January. Oxbow has run once since, a close fourth-place finish in the Grade 2, $400,000 Risen Star, also at Fair Grounds. On Tuesday he breezed in the first set after the renovation break, covering a half-mile in 48.40 seconds under exercise rider Rudy Quevedo. The move was the fastest of 25 at the distance.


“He’s doing very good,” said D. Wayne Lukas, who trains Oxbow for Calumet Farm. “I’m very pleased with him.


“He’s coming out of his own stall this time, doesn’t have to ship. There’s some pluses.”


Oxbow jumped into his drill, covering his opening eighth of a mile in 11.80 seconds, according to clockers. He proceeded to cover his first quarter in 23.80, three furlongs in 35.60, and went out five furlongs in a well-controlled 1:02.40.


Mike Smith has the mount.


Lukas also sent out Will Take Charge for a half-mile work Tuesday, and the horse breezed in 49.40 in the second set under Quevedo. Jon Court has the mount in the Rebel. Earlier this meet, Will Take Charge won the $150,000 Smarty Jones.


Super Ninety Nine is the probable Rebel favorite off an 11-length win in the Grade  3, $300,000 Southwest at Oaklawn. He earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 102. Rafael Bejarano has the mount for trainer Bob Baffert.


Super Ninety Nine is scheduled to fly in from Southern California on Thursday, according to Oaklawn racing officials. The flight is also expected to bring Den’s Legacy, the runner-up in the Grade 2 Lewis, and Treasury Bill, who was second in the Grade 2 San Vicente. Others Rebel probables, according to Oaklawn stakes coordinator Glenn Reeder, are Delhomme, who was third in the Grade 2 Remsen, Texas Bling, Always In a Tiz, Hardrock Eleven, Carve, Big Lute, and So Raise Yourglass. Officials said Proud Strike is possible, while a decision on the late-running Stormy Holiday was to be made Wednesday, according to trainer Mac Robertson.


“It will be depending on how he works,” Robertson said Tuesday. “You’ve got all that speed going in there. He might fit.”


The potentially large Rebel field does not surprise Lukas.


“It’s a pretty nice little purse, and it falls in a nice spot date-wise, and it is 50 points [to the winner],” he said. “People have to start looking at these races if they’re interested in the Derby. It falls into a real good spot for most horses. They can go from this in any direction; they can go to any one of the 100-point races from here.”


Rebel entries were to be taken Wednesday.


Oaklawn is scheduled to open its infield for Saturday’s card, as well as for each of the meet’s subsequent Saturday programs through the closing-day on April 13.

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