The Road to the Kentucky Derby returns to Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Ark. where a field of 11 will compete in the Grade II 1 1/16 mile Rebel Stakes this Saturday. The race is worth 50 points to the winner on the Road to the Kentucky Derby points systems.
The new Kentucky Derby points system replaces the graded stakes earnings system as the determiner of Kentucky Derby entrants. In the first phase, the Kentucky Derby Prep Season that concluded Feb. 18, the top four finishers in 19 pre-determined races were awarded points of 10-4-2-1, respectively. A total of five Grade II and three Grade III races comprise the first leg of phase two, which began Feb. 23, in which the top four finishers in the pre-determined races are awarded points of 50-20-10-5, respectively. The second leg of phase two begins Mar. 30 and includes two Grade II and five Grade I events in which the top four finishers in these pre-determined races will receive points of 100-40-20-10, respectively. The series concludes with two wild card races in which the top four finishers will be awarded 20-8-4-2 points, respectively.
Bob Baffert is going after his fourth consecutive Rebel Stakes win with Super Ninety Nine. This son of Pulpit won the Southwest Stakes on a sloppy Oaklawn track by an impressive margin of 11 ¼ lengths. He will meet tougher competition on Saturday, but appears to be the horse to beat.
After a troubled start and fourth place finish in an allowance race in late December, Super Ninety Nine made his three-year-old debut in an optional claimer at Santa Anita Jan. 31. He won the one mile race by 3 ¼ lengths over fellow-Kentucky Derby hopeful Code West and earned a Brisnet speed figure of 103 for the effort. Super Ninety Nine followed that up with a figure of 101 in the Southwest wire-to-wire romp. He drew the outside post 11 for Saturday’s Rebel, but Super Ninety Nine has the speed and front-running style that should help him overcome the poor post. Rafael Bejarano has the mount.