Virtually cementing a position in the Derby Day starting gate were Haikal (#3, 50) and Tacitus (#4, 50), respective winners of the Gotham (G3) and Tampa Bay Derby (G2). Moving up the leader board was Gotham runner-up Mind Control (#6, 30), who previously earned 10 points winning the Jerome in early January, while Somelikeithotbrown (#8, 20) and Outshine (#10, 20) earned their first Derby points by winning the Jeff Ruby Steaks (G3) and finishing second in the Tampa Bay Derby, respectively.
A most-anticipated day of prep action will be confined to Oaklawn Park on March 16 when the Rebel (G2) will be run over 1 1/16 miles. With the cancellation of the San Felipe (G2) at Santa Anita, the Rebel will serve as the season opener for two-year-old champion Game Winner (#5, 30) and Improbable (#17, 10), both of whom are undefeated and are trained by Bob Baffert.
The possibility exists of the Rebel being split into two divisions. If it is not, qualifying points of 50-20-10-5 will be up for grabs in the $1 million race. If it should be split, each division will carry a purse of $750,000 and qualifying points will be divided as follows: 37.5 points for first, 15 for second, 7.5 for third, and 3.75 points for fourth.
Others in the current top 18 expected for the Rebel are Gunmetal Gray (#13, 18) and Long Range Toddy (#14, 16). Mucho Gusto (#15, 14) has been re-routed by Baffert from the Rebel to the Sunland Derby (G3) on March 24.
(Chelsa Durand/Coglianese Photography)