HOT SPRINGS, Ark. (AP) — Confidence Game won the $1 million Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park by one length in an upset on Saturday and earned 50 qualifying points for the Kentucky Derby.
Ridden by James Graham, Confidence Game ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:44.21 on a sloppy track. Sent off at 18-1 odds, the colt paid $39, $13.20 and $7.80.
“He had a ton left down the lane,” Graham said. “He keeps maturing and doing things the right way. I think the sky is the limit for him.”
Red Route One returned $8.20 and $5. Reincarnate paid $5.20 to show. Kentucky Derby points were awarded to the top-five finishers.
Red Route One survived a post-race objection from jockey John Velázquez, who unsuccessfully argued that his colt Reincarnate was the victim of interference. It was denied by the stewards.
After making his first five starts for trainer Bob Baffert, Reincarnate was transferred to Tim Yakteen, a former Baffert assistant. The owners of potential Kentucky Derby horses in Baffert’s barn must be transferred to other trainers by Tuesday in order to earn Derby qualifying points. Baffert recently lost a bid in federal court to overturn his two-year suspension by Churchill Downs Inc. ahead of the Derby on May 6.
Verifying was fourth, followed by Bourbon Bash, Giant Mischief, Gun Pilot, Frosted Departure, Powerful, Event Detail and Talladega.
Confidence Game was fifth most of the way under Graham, who urged him on in the second turn. The colt raced wide down the middle of the stretch before holding off Red Route One.
Confidence Game was purchased for $25,000 by trainer Keith Desormeaux on behalf of owner Kirk Godby of Don’t Tell My Wife Stables.
“I just pick good horses, we don’t worry about the price,” a smiling Desormeaux said.
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