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To borrow Bill O'Reilly's tag line, the spin stops here in Saturday's $300,000 Rebel S. (G2) for the brilliantly-speedy THE FACTOR (War Front): will the Bob Baffert pupil pass his two-turn audition? Or might he fail to live up to the hype and burst his Kentucky Derby (G1) bubble? Either way, The Factor is entering the no-spin zone at Oaklawn Park.
Before attention is turned to the $150,000 Inside Information S. (G2) at Gulfstream Park on Saturday, a $55,600 entry-level allowance for three-year-olds will garner a share of the spotlight. Carded as the 3RD race, the one-turn mile features the WinStar homebred CAL NATION (Distorted Humor), a dazzling debut winner at Gulfstream on February 5.
D. Wayne Lukas, the last trainer to complete a Louisiana Derby (G3) and Kentucky Derby (G1) double with Grindstone in 1996, will have a chance to replicate that feat this year with one of two colts under consideration for the $1 million Louisiana Derby (G2) on March 26.
"I'm either going to bring the colt that won here the other day quite impressively," Lukas said, referring to March 12 Oaklawn Park maiden winner DUCA (Empire Maker), "or I've got a horse called QUIET ASSAULT (Quiet American) that I'm considering also."
Holy Bull S. (G3) runner-up SWEET DUCKY (Pulpit) will point to the $2 million U.A.E. Derby (UAE-G2) after being sold to undisclosed interests, according to a Monday report in The Blood-Horse.
Formerly owned by George and Lori Hall, Sweet Ducky had been training up to the April 3 Florida Derby (G1) for conditioner Kelly Breen.
Sweet Ducky is slated to ship to Dubai Tuesday, along with the other American horses who will run on the March 26 Dubai World Cup (UAE-G1) card.
With jockey Luis Quinonez aboard, ALTERNATION (Distorted Humor) geared up for Saturday's Rebel S. (G2) by covering four furlongs in :48 3/5 over a wet-fast track at Oaklawn Park Monday. He was a 3 1/4-length allowance winner against older rivals on February 21.
Premier Pegasus, who earned $150,000 for his runaway victory in Saturday’s Grade II, $250,000 San Felipe at Santa Anita, jumped from No. 27 to No. 13 on the Kentucky Derby 137 Graded Stakes Earnings List. The list will likely determine the field for the “Run for the Roses” on Saturday, May 7 at Churchill Downs.
The connections of Kentucky Derby (G1) contender PREMIER PEGASUS (Fusaichi Pegasus) were still basking in the glow of his 7 3/4-length conquest of Saturday's San Felipe S. (G2).
"He looked great after the race and we'll take a look at the Santa Anita Derby ([G1] on April 9) as the next step," said Raxon Cho, 17-year-old son of Myung Kwon Cho, 68-year-old owner/breeder/trainer of Premier Pegasus.
The Chos had plenty of reason to celebrate the most decisive San Felipe victory in its 74 runnings, topping Consolidator's 6 1/2-length win in 2005.
The early favorite for the 137th running of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (Grade I), Repole Stable’s unbeaten 2-year-old champion Uncle Mo, was just fine after stretching his legs against four overmatched opponents in Saturday’s $100,000 Timely Writer Stakes at Gulfstream Park.
But owner Mike Repole, having watched his son of Indian Charlie win his first race since a dominant victory in the $2 million Grey Goose Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (GI), was the one who was trying to recover.
KENTUCKY OAKS FUTURE WAGER / POOL ENDS WITH KATHMANBLU AS SOLID FAVORITE – The single pool of Churchill Downs’ 2011 Kentucky Oaks Future Wager (“KOFW”) looked very much like a wide open affair heading into the three-day betting pool, but Five D Thoroughbreds and Wind River Stable’s Kathmanblu (#11) turned the race for the role of favorite in the pool into a runaway.