By Dick Downey
Will Take Charge and Oxbow, one-two in the Grade II Rebel Stakes, were doing well Sunday morning. Plans for their next races are still undecided, said trainer D. Wayne Lukas.
“Both pulled up excellent and ate up well,” said Lukas. “They were fine this morning. I don’t know what we’ll do next. I will keep them separated. If I had to make a decision today – which I don’t and I won’t – the Arkansas Derby and the Blue Grass are obvious and the Louisiana Derby comes back too quick.
"I think it helped to come out of their own stalls and run on their home track. Sometimes horses with a lot of seasoning take to it, but then you also get some talented ones that don’t need it.”
By virtue of his wins in the Smarty Jones Stakes (10 Kentucky Derby qualifying points) and Rebel Stakes (50 points), Will Take Charge is virtually guaranteed a spot in the Kentucky Derby. Oxbow earned 20 points in the Rebel, bringing his total to 36 points.
Lukas potentially has four Kentucky Derby runners. Channel Isle, fourth in the Grade III Southwest Stakes, will run in the Grade III Spiral Stakes this Saturday. Titletown Five, most recently second in the Gazebo Stakes, is set for the Grade III Sunland Derby the next day.
Other Rebel Runners
Trainer Steve Asmussen reported that Carve, sixth in the Rebel, is fine today.
Super Ninety Nine, fifth as the favorite in the Rebel, and Den’s Legacy, third, were returned to Bob Baffert’s Southern California base Sunday morning. Den's Legacy looks likely to be returned to the Grade I Arkansas Derby, according to a tweet on Sunday by Jay Privman. Baffert told Privman he theorizes that Super Ninety Nine didn't like the deep track.