Solomini Makes 2018 Debut in Rebel Stakes with Kentucky Derby Spot to Winner
Race fans familiar with the great Curlin may want to tune in and watch his son Solomini run in the $900,000 Rebel Stakes (G2) Saturday, March 17 at Oaklawn Park. The Rebel is a Kentucky Derby prep race where the winner earns 50 Derby points and stamps his ticket into the starting gate for the May 5 Kentucky Derby. The race is also the final major Derby prep contested at 1 1/16 miles.
There are some solid contenders (preview) in this year’s 58th running of the Rebel, but if Solomini runs his race, he’ll be collecting more than a half a million dollars for his connections and securing his spot in the starting gate for the Kentucky Derby. Solomini makes his 2018 debut for trainer Bob Baffert. All Baffert has done is win six of the last eight editions of the Rebel Stakes. A victory for Solomini be his first stakes win, but he’s finished 2nd in a pair of Grade 1 races including the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile last November at Del Mar.
Solomini resumed training just about a month ago and has been warming up in the bullpen readying for this race in his 3-year-old debut. He’s been working superb with four straight bullet works at Santa Anita. The pace in the Rebel is likely to be moderate, which will give Solomini a greater advantage. Solomini crossed the finish line first in his last race in December but was disqualified in the Los Alamitos Cash Call Futurity, and Baffert’s other prized Derby contender McKinzie was declared the winner. Solomini posted a very strong 109 Equibase Speed Figure in that race, and this is a talented and massive colt who is primed to win, having shown well against stronger runners. Recall his sire Curlin won the 2007 Breeders’ Cup Classic after finishing 3rd in the 2007 Kentucky Derby, then winning the Preakness before finishing 2nd in the Belmont Stakes. Solomini looks like he’ll only get better with more ground.
Curlin was the 2007 and 2008 Horse of the Year, and you’ll want to tune in and watch his son Solomini run in the Rebel and his next race, because you’re going to see him in the Kentucky Derby and likely back at Churchill Downs again for the 2018 Breeders’ Cup. His progress, pedigree and persistence suggests we’re witnessing a future champion.
The Rebel Stakes is Race 10 at Oaklawn Park on Saturday, March 17 with post time at 7:09 ET.