Three Takeaways from 2021 Rebel Stakes

Mar 16, 2021 by James Scully/

Concert Tour stepped up for six-time Kentucky Derby-winning trainer Bob Baffert in Saturday’s $1 million Rebel S. (G2), posting an easy victory in the 85-point qualifier (50-20-10-5 scale) at Oaklawn Park.

Here are three Rebel takeaways.
  • Concert Tour confirms himself as a major Kentucky Derby contender

Concert Tour had everything his own way, and the Rebel wasn’t the fastest race, but I was blown away by the dominance in his two-turn debut.

The up-and-coming sophomore moves like something special.

Concert Tour broke running from his outside post with Joel Rosario, establishing a short advantage into the first turn, and comfortably led the way on moderate splits down the backstretch.

The Street Sense colt left the competition in shambles with a brilliant turn of foot approaching the stretch, quickly opening an insurmountable margin, and he rolled home impressively while under wraps.

Concert Tour seemingly has more to offer.

  • Two turns no issue for tractable colt

Concert Tour improved to three-for-three with the 4 1/4-length decision. The bay opened his career with a sharp wire-to-wire tally, taking a 6 1/2-furlong maiden special weight at Santa Anita in mid-January, and came back three weeks later to post a half-length win in the seven-furlong San Vicente S. (G2).

He showed the ability to rate in the San Vicente, settling an up-close third before striking, and Concert Tour effortlessly stretched out to 1 1/16 miles in the Rebel. His pedigree is built for longer distances. Concert Tour’s sire won the 2007 Kentucky Derby, and he’s out of a mare by Tapit, the sire of three winners of the 1 1/2-mile Belmont Stakes.

Look for his Brisnet Speed ratings to keep improving. Concert Tour received a 95 figure on Saturday, two points lower than his previous outing, but he won with plenty in reserve after soft fractions.

Concert Tour earned a commendable 98 Brisnet Late Pace rating, and the Rebel served a perfect building block toward an optimal performance on the first Saturday in May.

He probably will return to Oaklawn for the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) on April 10.

  • Also-rans

Hozier was still far back in the pack with five-sixteenths of a mile remaining, but the last-out maiden winner finished with good energy for second, completing a Baffert exacta. The Pioneerof the Nile colt stretched out to two turns to break his maiden the second time out on Feb. 15, and Hozier delivered an encouraging effort in his stakes debut.

Big Lake, who was exiting maiden and entry-level allowance wins at Fair Grounds, was arguably second-best in his first stakes attempt, but the Steve Asmussen trainee was interfered with by a retreating Caddo River in midstretch.  The American Pharoah colt is eligible to keep moving forward.

Caddo River appears off the Kentucky Derby trail following his fifth-place showing. Juvenile graded stakes winners Keepmeinmind and Get Her Number showed little finishing sixth and seventh, respectively, in their first outing of the year.

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