An excellent and well-matched field of eight sophomores will contest the feature at Oaklawn Park on Saturday, the $1 million Rebel (G2). The 2020 Road to the Kentucky Derby event attracted a returning Grade-1 winner, a few local standouts, as well as a pair of talented California invaders, in what promises to be a fantastic 1 1/16-mile endeavor.
Conditioner Steve Asmussen has a trio of players in the cast, and I will side with one from his shedrow for the top prize. Hopeful (G1) winner Basin is unraced in 2020, but the Liam’s Map colt shows 10 morning workouts in 2020 to prepare for his 3-year-old debut and will be fit on Saturday. He is the Expert Pick of the Week.
The Kentucky-bred was a sharp runner-up on debut at Churchill Downs prior to graduating second time out in a highly rated maiden special weight contest at Saratoga. In his initial try with winners, Basin roared to the front and drew off as a commanding winner of the Hopeful to lead a 1-2-3 finish for his trainer.
Basin has good early presence, but his ability to rate early and finish with energy makes the colt attractive in his comeback try. The $150,000 yearling purchase will receive a great trip just off a contested early pace, and he will get first run on the closers turning for home. Jockey Javier Castellano will come to Oaklawn to pilot the colt which is obviously a positive sign.
Jeremiah Englehart’s Three Technique is another 2019 Saratoga graduate with a world of potential. The son of Mr. Speaker, who was runner-up to Basin second time out, has run well in each lifetime appearance including a fine try in the Smarty Jones S. on this surface behind a loose-on-the-lead winner.
The $180,000 yearling purchase is training swiftly in preparation of his graded stakes debut, and he will relish the swift and contested early to aid his late kick on Saturday. Kentucky-bred draws well in his first assignment with jockey Luis Saez in the controls.
Expert Pick

Basin on top of Three Technique in the Rebel Stakes is the Best Bet of the Week.