All eyes toward Oaklawn this weekend with the Rebel featuring the anticipated return of 2YO male champion, American Pharoah. He’s the second top contender to return to the track in the last two weeks; Carpe Diem made a successful return to the races with an impressive performance winning the Tampa Bay Derby last Saturday:
Looking back at American Pharoah, he was lights out last summer in Southern California, cruising to victory in two straight Grade I races — the Del Mar Futurity and the Frontrunner:
Reports are that he was been training aggressively for this return and that he has looked sharp doing so. On paper, if he returns to last season’s sharp form (or better) on his return, he shouldn’t have too many problems with today’s field. He’s significantly faster than anyone else in the field, and it’s difficult to see someone improving to his level. He still has to favor the quirky Oaklawn surface — not a given and something that raises the risk.
It’s a small field compartively, with only 7 horses going forward. If American Pharoah is a bit shaky, look to Gulfstream shipper Madefromlucky. Its tough to tell much from his last race, but he may have more than shown here:
The final to watch is The Truth or Else, who either loved the wet track last out in the Southwest or improved off the layoff. If he improved, he should be a strong factor, but only for the top if American Pharoah isn’t at his best.
Enjoy the Rebel!
Image: Sandwich, Copyright 2014.