Horse Racing

2024 Rebel Stakes Betting Odds and Contenders Preview

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2024 Rebel Stakes Betting Odds and Contenders Preview

The Arkansas spur of the Kentucky Derby trail continues on Saturday, February 24, with the Grade 2 Rebel Stakes. The race covers 1 1/16 miles on the Oaklawn Park dirt, and the spoils are rich: $1.25 million in prize money (up from $1 million last year) and 50-25-15-10-5 points on the road to the Kentucky Derby. This means the winner of the race is practically guaranteed a spot in the starting gate, and even the next few horses are in a good position if they run back well in a final prep.

The Rebel is the third of four races on the Road to the Kentucky Derby at Oaklawn Park. The series began with the Smarty Jones and the Southwest (G3), and it concludes with the Arkansas Derby (G1) on March 30. Like the rest of the series, the race is open to 3-year-old horses of any sex. However, all thirteen entrants in this year’s Rebel Stakes are intact male horses. The morning-line favorite is Grade 1 winner Timberlake. Other serious contenders include Just Steel, who has been second in the last two Oaklawn Park points races, and Northern Flame, who comes out of a smart allowance victory at Oaklawn Park.

The most important winner of the Rebel so far is American Pharoah (2015), who began his sophomore campaign in the race for Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert and went on to sweep the Triple Crown. Other important 21st-century winners of the Rebel Stakes include Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winner Smarty Jones (2004); Preakness Stakes winner, Belmont Stakes runner-up, and two-time Horse of the Year Curlin (2007); and sophomore champion Will Take Charge (2013).

Rebel Stakes 2024 Information

  • Race Date: Saturday, February 24, 2024
  • Track: Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort
  • Post Time: 5:23 p.m. Central Standard Time
  • Distance: 1 1/16 miles
  • Age/Sex: three-year-olds
  • Where to Watch: FanDuel TV
  • Where to Bet: and FanDuel Racing

Rebel Stakes Odds

This is the field for the 2024 Rebel Stakes, including post positions, trainers, jockeys, and morning-line odds for each horse. Thirteen horses entered the 2024 Rebel, meaning it will be a challenge on the track and a lucrative opportunity for horseplayers in all the betting pools.

1CarboneSteve AsmussenIsaac Castillo15-1
2Northern FlameKen McPeekJulien Leparoux5-1
3Common DefenseKen McPeekBrian Hernandez, Jr.30-1
4Tejon PassPeter MillerChris Landeros30-1
5Magic GrantEddie Milligan, Jr.Harry Hernandez50-1
6DimaticSteve AsmussenTyler Gaffalione8-1
7TimberlakeBrad CoxCristian Torres6-5
View Full Table

Rebel Stakes Prep Results

The thirteen Rebel entrants come out of seven different races, most of which happened at Oaklawn Park. Four come out of the previous race in the Kentucky Derby prep series there, the Southwest. Though winner Mystik Dan does not come back in the Rebel, returning horses include second-place Just Steel, fifth-place Common Defense, seventh-place Carbone, and tenth-place Magic Grant. Lagynos was last seen finishing sixth in the earlier Kentucky Derby prep over the local course, the Smarty Jones; Just Steel contested that race two back and finished second.

One other Rebel entrant comes out of a different stakes race at Oaklawn Park. Outside-drawn Time for Truth most recently ran second in the Ozark, a six-furlong sprint over the local course.

Five other horses come out of allowance company at Oaklawn Park. Northern Flame battled on the pace and won a one-mile race there on January 28, digging in late to hold off a rallying Mena by a neck. Both Northern Flame and Mena return for the Rebel. Three others come out of a different allowance dirt mile on the same day at Oaklawn. Woodcourt took advantage of a hot early pace to get up by a head over Next Level; Tejon Pass disputed the pace in that race but flattened out to fifth late.

One other horse comes out of a race at Oaklawn. Dimatic broke his maiden by three lengths in the slop on February 3. He is the only horse in the field who faces winners for the first time in the Rebel.

The only horse in the field whose most recent race was not at Oaklawn is Timberlake, the morning-line favorite. He has not raced since November 3, when he earned some Kentucky Derby points by finishing fourth behind Fierceness in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita.

Rebel Stakes Contenders

These are the contenders in the 2024 Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park, organized by post position:

Carbone: On his best day, he is one of the faster horses in the field early, and his performance in the Southwest suggests he might need the lead. He is going to need some luck at the beginning to stay out of trouble from the rail, but the return to a dry track could bring him back to his best and make him a factor from start to finish at a price.

Northern Flame: He battled on the pace and kept going to win an allowance race last out by a neck. He did that from the rail, which is a positive given that he drew toward the inside in this race as well. The field is much deeper for this race, but his maiden win suggests that the extra distance should not be a concern, and he has some stakes-level experience last year that he can build on.

Common Defense: He won by open lengths in a maiden race two back, but the race came back slow, and he did not build on it when trying Kentucky Derby trail foes in the Southwest on February 3. Perhaps the switch back to a fast track could move him forward, and he has shown tactical speed, but he needs to find a lot in order to go as fast as his better foes in this.

Tejon Pass: His sprinting form is solid, and he has shown enough sprint speed to get a good forward spot in this race. The question is the stretch out. He has tried two turns once before, in the allowance won by Woodcourt. He disputed the pace and flattened to fifth. His pedigree suggests that time and distance can move him forward, though he will have other speed to contend with, and he needs to take a serious step up to match more proven foes.

Magic Grant: He did well at Remington, breaking his maiden second-out in the Clever Trevor and finishing a close third behind Otto the Conqueror in the Springboard Mile. However, Springboard Mile form does not always translate to the Kentucky Derby trail, and he was no factor in the Southwest. Perhaps he can move forward and get a piece of the lower exotics if the pace gets hot, but that looks like the ceiling.

Dimatic: This son of Gun Runner is going the right way; he has steadily improved in three maiden special weight starts and graduated last out at Oaklawn. Blinkers might get him a little closer to the early pace, a positive given the likely setup in this spot. However, he will have to make significant improvement to match the top echelon, so he demands a price.

Timberlake: He is the class of the field: he finished his juvenile season with three straight Grade 1 starts, including a victory in the Champagne (G1) and a decent fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. His tactical speed should help him get a good trip, and it isn’t the biggest concern that jockey Florent Geroux is not there since he has the call on likely Saudi Cup favorite Saudi Crown. If he picks up where he left off, he has a strong shot, though the price will be short.

Next Level: With seven starts underneath him, he has experience, and he did come close in allowance company over the local course last out. However, he has yet to look a winner in any of the Kentucky Derby preps he has tried. Perhaps he hasn’t shown his best yet since several of those poor finishes have followed bad starts, but that is a concern, as is trainer Keith Desormeaux’s low hit rate in graded stakes.

Lagynos: His tactical speed is a plus, though there’s still a bit more possible speed drawn outside of him. The 1 1/16-mile distance is a positive, too, though at first blush, his pedigree reads sprinter-miler, and his race form shows good two-turn ability. The question is class, as he faltered in the Smarty Jones. Still, since he did that up front, he has a bit of longshot potential if he can work out a stalking trip.

Mena: He needed to drop to the claimer/starter ranks to get going, though he missed by a neck in an allowance-optional claimer last out, suggesting a level of class for an under-the-radar trainer whose runners can outrun their odds. His tactical speed could help him work out a trip, though he definitely needs to improve his speed figures.

Just Steel: With nine starts, this D. Wayne Lukas trainee is the joint most experienced runner in the field. And, he has been the most consistent horse on the Oaklawn Park spur of the Kentucky Derby trail so far, finishing second in both the Smarty Jones and the Southwest. This field is an even deeper group, meaning this is a tougher ask yet. However, his combination of tactical speed and good course-and-distance form means he fits in exotics, at least.

Woodcourt: Every midwesterner knows that Cipriano Contreras is shrewd at the claim box; sure enough, first off the $50,000 claim he turned around and won an optional claimer with Woodcourt. Class remains a question, as he was well beaten in a pair of stakes tries for his previous barn. He also needs to move up from a speed perspective. However, he is in the best form of his nine-race career, and his tactical versatility is a plus.

Time for Truth: The good news is, he should be able to get a clean trip on or near the lead. The bad news is, he will have several others to battle with, and may not be able to make the very top. He also has to prove himself at two turns. To his credit, his pedigree suggests the step up in trip should suit, at least eventually. He also hails from the barn of Ron Moquett, a sharp local who can surprise in graded races.

Rebel Stakes Past Winners Past Performances

With the race split into two divisions in 2019, there have been eleven editions of the Rebel in the last ten years. Out of those winners, just one came out of the traditional local prep, the Southwest: Long Range Toddy (2019) finished third.

All three last-out stakes winners to win the Rebel have come from California and have been trained by Bob Baffert: American Pharoah (2015) last ran in the FrontRunner (G1) (the race now called the American Pharoah), while both Nadal (2020) and Concert Tour (2021) came out of the San Vicente. Baffert, still ineligible for the Kentucky Derby, has not shipped a horse for the Rebel in 2024.

The three other recent Rebel Stakes winners to come from stakes company are Hoppertunity (2014), fourth in the Risen Star before coming to Arkansas; Un Ojo, who was second in the Withers (G3) before going to the Rebel; and Confidence Game (2023), who came out of a third-place finish in the Lecomte (G3).

The four other winners in the last ten years all won the Rebel in their stakes debut. Cupid (2016) and Omaha Beach (2019) both came into the race off of maiden special weight wins at Santa Anita, facing winners for the first time in Arkansas. Malagacy (2017) and Magnum Moon (2018), for Todd Pletcher, won allowances at Gulfstream Park and Tampa Bay Downs, respectively.

Rebel Stakes Undercard

The Rebel Stakes is the 11th of 12 races on Oaklawn’s Saturday card. The card features one other graded race, the $400,000 Honeybee (G3), which is the second-to-last Kentucky Oaks points prep of the Oaklawn meet. The card also features the $600,000 Razorback (G3), which features a field of 13 older dirt routers, and the $150,000 Carousel, a sprint that drew nine older fillies and mares.

With three-year-old action and big fields all day long, Saturday is an excellent day to bet Oaklawn. Stay tuned to FanDuel TV all day for the latest news and live footage of the races, and make sure to wager on the card through FanDuel and TVG!

Oaklawn Park History

Back in 1905, the Hot Springs Mayor declared a half-day holiday for the opening of Oaklawn Park, with over 3,000 people attending the track on its first day of racing. The holiday heralded the beginning of a tradition that has lasted for over a century!

Due to political issues, no racing took place at Oaklawn between 1907 and 1916 but after a sustained period of action, the now-famous Arkansas Derby was inaugurated in 1936 with a purse of $5,000 offered to entrants.

By 1952, Oaklawn could boast daily attendances of almost 8,000 people and an average daily handle of well over $400,000, figures which rose by the turn of the decade to 10,000 and $500,000, respectively, with the Arkansas Derby purse increasing to $50,000 by 1965.

The track continued to go from strength to strength, and during a 50-day meeting in 1970, an average of 11,000 people were attending daily, with over $43,000,000 wagered over the course of the meet.

In the mid-70s, Oaklawn gave birth to the Racing Festival of the South, with pari-mutuel wagering amounting to a cool $80,000,000 that season, and by the 80s, over a quarter of a million people were attending the festival each year. By then, the purse for the Arkansas Derby was up at $500,000, and a new single-day attendance record was set with 71,000 showing up to see Rampage win the big race in 1986.

Ten years later, Arkansas Derby day saw a total handle of over $10.5 million, and by the turn of the millennium, Oaklawn was still seeing increases in attendance and wagering, meaning the track stands as one of the best in the country at present.

Rebel Stakes FAQ

Q: When is the Rebel Stakes?

A: The 2024 Rebel Stakes will be run on Saturday, February 24, at 5:23 p.m. Central Standard Time. The race is the 11th of 12 on the Oaklawn card.

Q: Where is the Rebel Stakes?

A: It takes place at Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort in Hot Springs, Arkansas

Q: Which trainer has the most wins in the Rebel Stakes?

A: Trainer Bob Baffert has the most Rebel wins with 8, most recently in 2021 with Concert Tour. Baffert does not have an entrant in 2024. Among trainers with entrants, Steve Asmussen leads with four, most recently with Long Range Toddy in 2019. He sends out Carbone, Dimatic, and Lagynos this year.

Q: Who is the favorite for the 2024 Rebel Stakes?

A: Timberlake is the 6-5 morning-line favorite in the 2024 Rebel Stakes for trainer Brad Cox and jockey Cristian Torres. Timberlake is coming out of the Breeders’ Cup and is the only Grade 1 winner in the field, so expect him to hold favoritism.

Q: Who is the best Rebel Stakes jockey?

A: Mike Smith leads all jockeys with five wins in the Rebel, most recently in 2019 with Omaha Beach. Smith does not have a call in the race this year. Two of the riders in the 2024 Rebel have won the race before. Rafael Bejarano (Time for Truth) won with Secret Circle in 2012, while Ramon Vazquez (Just Steel) won in 2022 with Un Ojo.

Q: Who won the 2023 Rebel Stakes?

A: Confidence Game won the 2023 Rebel Stakes for trainer Keith Desormeaux and jockey James Graham. Graham does not ride the race this year, but Desormeaux teams up with jockey Jose Riquelme to send out Next Level.

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