Lawyer Ron Powerful in Rebel Stakes Win: 2006 Kentucky Derby Preps
|Lawyer Ron Powerful in Rebel Stakes Win, Private Vow Fades to Seventh
by Ultimatecapper Horse Handicapper Kenneth Strong
March 18, 2006 – Any doubt as to Lawyer Ron’s ability to come from off the pace were impressively erased in the $300,000 Rebel Stakes-G3 at Oaklawn Park on Saturday, when he came from five lengths back early to power away from his opposition late.
Making an exceptionally athletic post parade appearance prior to the race, Lawyer Ron broke a step slow from post one and was back and inside early before gradually easing to the outside while stalking fractions of 23.61, 47.79 and 1:12.90.
Challenging five-wide into the stretch, Lawyer Ron quickly moved to the lead and was never in doubt after a mile in 1:37.76. Kept to task through the stretch by regular rider John McKee, Lawyer Ron accelerated when asked and drew out to win by three lengths over 23-1 longshot and stablemate Red Raymond. The final time for the mile-and-a-sixteenth was 1:44.09 over the fast track. It was a further neck back to $1.80-1 third choice Steppenwolfer, who actually moved into second position in early stretch the stretch but then hung.
The winner returned $5.60 to win as the favorite and stamped himself as a deserving second choice behind Brother Derek to win the 132nd Kentucky Derby on May 6. Trained by Robert Holthus for the estate of James T. Hines, the chestnut colt by Langfuhr-Donation by Lord Avie was winning his fifth race in a row and increasing his lifetime earnings to $620,908 from a career record of 6-1-3 in 13 starts.
Second choice Private Vow had every chance to win the Rebel but clearly came up short in the drive. Making his first start for trainer Steve Asmussen since winning the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes-G2 as a 2-year-old on November 26. 2005 at Churchill Downs, Private Vow settled between horses early and received a mildly tight trip from Shaun Bridgmohan before having to wait briefly late on the final turn. Private Vow had a clear shot at the winner in early stretch however, moving between horses to get within a length of the winner before quickly flattening out and fading to seventh.
Obviously in need of a race, Private Vow wasn’t abused in the stretch and improvement should be forthcoming in his next start if he’s truly the same quality horse he appeared to be as a 2-year-old. But even a win in his next race could leave him short on seasoning for the Kentucky Derby, which is now only six weeks away.
It was the fifth Rebel Stakes win for 9-time Oaklawn Park training champion Robert Holthus, who will now point both Lawyer Ron and Red Raymond to the $1 million Arkansas Derby-G2 on April 15 at Oaklawn Park, where they could meet a much fitter Private Vow.
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