Laughing Fox Plenty Experienced
Laughing Fox will get his chance to be the first three-time winner at Oaklawn Park's current meet in the second division of the Rebel Stakes, all of the races at two-turns.
Owner Alex Lieblong said Laughing Fox was “absolutely” going to be a two-turn horse from day one.
“The 7-furlong races were more for education purposes,” Lieblong said. “Sure, we would have loved to have won the races, but I didn’t have any feeling that was going to happen. But that’s kind of what you’ve got to do with a horse like this, I think.”
Laughing Fox made his first career start for trainer Ron Moquett of Hot Springs before being moved to the barn of Steve Asmussen.
Lieblong, who chairs the Arkansas Racing Commission, purchased Laughing Fox for $375,000 at the OBS March 2-year-old in training sale.
Pricey yearling purchase Market King is scheduled to make his stakes debut in the second division of the Rebel with John Velazquez in the saddle.
A son of Into Mischief, Market King is coming off a third-place finish in a Feb. 24 allowance sprint for trainer D. Wayne Lukas. Market King was wheeled back in the six-furlong race after breaking his maiden at 1 1/16 mile on Feb. 9.
“I’ve done that before,” Lukas said Friday morning. “I thought I would just sharpen him a little.”
Market King races for Lukas’ longtime clients Robert Baker and William Mack, who purchased the colt for $550,000 at the 2017 Keeneland September Yearling Sale. The owner/trainer team finished third in the 2010 Rebel with Dublin, fourth in the 2014 Rebel with Strong Mandate and fifth in last year’s race with Sporting Chance.
Market King tuned up for the Rebel with a five-furlong bullet workout (1:01.20) March 8.
“It’s the time of the year when you need to find out where you’re at a little bit, whether you drop back with the lesser allowance horses or if you can move forward and maybe develop a horse with Triple Crown potential,” Lukas said. “We’ll just see.”
Lukas won the Rebel in 1989 with Manastash Ridge and again in 2013 with Will Take Charge, who went on to become the country’s champion 3-year-old male that year.