Stakes and Steaks Fuel Derby Fever

11 Mar

With two weeks of Derby Fever in the books, Randall Seeley finds himself alone atop the Leaderboard with three winners from four races. 22 players find themselves well within striking distance with two wins, and 60 are tied for third with a win apiece.

There’s two races on the docket this Saturday, the $1,000,000 Rebel Stakes (G1) at Oaklawn Park and the only race named after a steakhouse, the $250,000 Jeff Ruby Steaks (G3) at Turfway Park. While both races award qualifying points to the Kentucky Derby, it’s the Rebel that is drawing serious contenders like the Bob Baffert-trained Nadal, recent Southwest Stakes (G3) winner, Silver Prospector, Smarty Jones winner, Gold Street, and Grade I Hopeful winner, Basin – the latter trio hailing from the powerful barn of Steve Asmussen.

Toss in the unbeaten Lousisiana-bred No Parole and American Pharoah (G2) runner up, American Theorem, and we’ve got a serious horse race for a million bucks and 85 Kentucky Derby points, with 50 going to the winner.

While the Jeff Ruby Steaks at Turfway might rank a notch or two below the Rebel on the Derby Prep totem pole, it counts the same in Derby Fever, so you will want to spend just as much time trying to identify the winner. That might be a big more difficult, given the nuances of Turfway’s Polytrack surface and an expected large field.

Among the notable contenders are Invader, who won the local prep, the John Battaglia Memorial for trainer Wesley Ward, recent Grade III turf winner Field Pass for trainer Michael Maker, and Fair Grounds shipper Finnick the Fierce, who’ll try the poly after a pair of off-the-board finishes in the Lecomte (G2) and Risen Star (G2) for trainer Rey Hernandez.

PleasantonOTB will be taking the full Rebel card from Oaklawn and a partial Ruby Steaks card from Turfway Park. OTB doors open at 9:45am.

Be sure to pick up your FREE entry to our Derby Fever contest with admission or CHRB license. Even if you haven’t picked a winner yet, or haven’t even played, you can still qualify to win cash on Kentucky Derby day by picking a winner in either the Rebel Stakes or Jeff Ruby Steaks this Saturday at Pleasanton OTB.

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