The competitive action on the Road to the Kentucky Derby continues this weekend, with the G2 Rebel Stakes being staged at Oaklawn Park.

This Grade 2 has been a regular prep race for the opening Triple Crown race since 2013, and it has been a key trial with a number of runners having competed in the Arkansas Derby on their way to Churchill Downs. This year’s renewal looks like a competitive affair, and you can find out more about the leading contenders here.

History & Records

The G2 Rebel Stakes has been staged annually since 1961. In its infancy, it was run as the Rebel Handicap, before it was renamed in 1984. It immediately gained traction as an important Derby prep, with Bass Clef winning the inaugural edition before finishing third in the Kentucky Derby.

Bob Baffert has dominated this race throughout history, with eight previous winners coming from his yard. Last year, the Rebel Stakes was won by Confidence Game for trainer Keith Desormeaux.

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Rebel Stakes Leading Contenders


All eyes this weekend will be on the returning Timberlake for trainer Brad Cox. The three-year-old was one of the most interesting Derby contenders as a two-year-old, having landed the Champagne Stakes at Belmont at the Big A.

However, his season ended with a disappointing fourth in the G1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. Doubts remain surrounding his ability to stay, but he is a deserving favorite at this stage given that he boasts the best form lines in the race.


Steven Asmussen has been unleashing no shortage of Derby contenders over the last few weeks, and he once again has another leading contender in the form of Carbone this weekend.

The three-year-old put in an out-of-sorts performance in testing muddy conditions over 1 1/16 in the G3 Southwest Stakes last time out, but was highly progressive before that effort after reaching high 90 speed ratings when winning back-to-back races at Oaklawn Park. Back on suitable ground, he’s worth his chance.

Just Steel

Justify offsprings have been in stunning form already this year, and it will be no surprise to see the Triple Crown winner produce another Derby contender in the form of Just Steel this weekend.

The runner for D. Wayne Lukas was second in the G3 Southwest Stakes on his previous start, meaning he could be a leading chance of the rain comes at Oaklawn Park. His speed figures at least put him in the mix this weekend. He also has plenty of experience over the distance, finishing second in the Smarty Jones Stakes on fast ground.

Rebel Stakes Prediction

As expected, there is a typically competitive renewal of the Rebel Stakes this weekend. Timberlake and Just Steel are both players for Exotics angles, but the most interesting win contender could come in the form of Time For Truth for trainer Ron Moquett.

This three-year-old looks to have been crying out for a step up in distance, and could be a great contender to score after staying on for second in the Ozark Stakes over six furlongs with a 93 speed rating at Oaklawn earlier this month.

Win: Time For Truth

Exacta Box: (7) Timberlake/ (11) Just Steel/ (13) Time For Truth