Concert Tour ran his rivals in Saturday's $1 million Rebel S. (G2) off their feet while giving trainer Bob Baffert his eighth win in the 1 1/16-mile Oaklawn Park fixture since 2010.
Breaking sharp under Joel Rosario, Concert Tour outran 6-5 favorite Caddo River to the lead heading into the first turn, led that rival by no more than a length to the stretch, and then kicked clear in the final quarter-mile to score in a dominating effort. A homebred racing for Gary and Mary West, Concert Tour crossed the wire 4 1/4 lengths on top in a time of 1:43.18 over a fast track and paid $5.40.
"I just told Rosario he's fast. I know Caddo River's fast. This horse
going two turns first out, just play the break and do what you think is right," Baffert said. "He's a very, very fast horse. He looked like he was doing it pretty easily,
though. They slowed up a little bit down the backside. Joel, you could really
tell he was controlling the race. This is a really top horse. I was going to be
disappointed if he didn't do what he did today."
Baffert also trains the Rebel runner-up Hozier, who had run a distant fourth behind Concert Tour in their mutual debut in mid-January and followed up with a two-turn maiden in his most recent start. Hozier edged fellow 18-1 chance Big Lake by three parts of a length, while Super Stock, the longest shot in the field, beat Caddo River for fourth by a neck.
Concert Tour earned his first 50 qualifying points for the May 1 Kentucky Derby (G1) with this Rebel win, virtually ensuring himself a spot in the starting gate for the Churchill classic. Hozier earned 20 points and Big Lake 10 points, respectively, while Super Stock earned five points to increase his total to nine.
Undefeated in three starts, Concert Tour won his aforementioned debut by 3 1/2 lengths going six furlongs at Santa Anita on Jan. 15. His closest race to date came next out in the San Vicente (G2) at Santa Anita on Feb. 6, in which he edged a determined stablemate, Freedom Fighter, by a half-length in the seventh and final furlong. Concert Tour has now earned $756,600.
Bred in Kentucky, Concert Tour is a son of champion and 2007 Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense and the Tapit mare Purse Strings. Also hailing from this female line is 2008 champion juvenile filly Stardom Bound.