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– 1st Star: CUPID – Surprise! It’s not Oaklawn Park…it’s Baffert Park! Bob Baffert won his sixth Rebel Stakes in seven years Saturday, with a horse that was just coming off of a maiden victory. Cupid wasn’t the most professional looking winner in that maiden race, but couldn’t have been more professional in the Rebel as he cruised wire to wire in victory. The major step up in class seemed to not bother the gray son of Tapit, and even though he was lightly raced he showed that he was game when he had to fend off a very tough Whitmore throughout most of the stretch. The win lands Cupid 50 Kentucky Derby points, and catapults him into the top 10 of most Kentucky Derby rankings. If Cupid can build on this victory and keep improving he could run his best race at the right time…the first Saturday in May.
– 2nd Star: UPSTART – Just one year ago Upstart was labeling himself as a serious contender for the Kentucky Derby, but things didn’t end up working out for him and he disappointed for most of the year. Making his 2016 debut several question marks still loomed with Upstart, but he did his best to quiet the critics for now as he was able to win the Grade 3 Razorback Handicap against a competitive field. Upstart looked like the best horse by a mile in the paddock and on the track before the race, and ran to his looks once the gates opened. After stalking the pace throughout Upstart was able to wear down the front running Domain’s Rap late, and win by a little over a length. He should now improve off of this win, and will most likely be heading back to the Oaklawn Handicap on closing weekend. Perhaps Upstart is back in good form and ready for a strong 2016.
– 3rd Star: CALL PAT – There is no doubt this horse has a flair for the dramatic as she picked up her second straight win at Oaklawn Park on Saturday in the Grade 2 Azeri Stakes in her normal late running fashion. Last down the backstretch as normal, jockey Joe Rocco kept her inside on the turn saving all the ground, and split horses late to get up for the victory. There is no questioning the favorite in the race Untapable was suspect once again for the second straight year in the Azeri Stakes, but Call Pat is turning into a very solid older mare. You would have to think the Grade 1 Apple Blossom will be the next target for this exciting stretch running horse.
– UNTAPABLE – Sure finishing second in a graded stakes isn’t bad, but she continues to not be the same horse she was in her three year old year. Perhaps she will move forward off of this race, but how much does she have left in the tank? It’s getting iffy at this point.
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