Keepmeinmind Posts Final Rebel Stakes Work

Grade 2 winner Keepmeinmind completed major preparations for the $1 million Rebel Stakes (G2) for 3-year-olds March 13 at Oaklawn with a 5-furlong workout over a fast track Friday morning for trainer Robertino Diodoro.

Keepmeinmind breezed alone after the second surface renovation break under regular rider David Cohen. A late-running son of Laoban, Keepmeinmind was clocked in 1:02.20 and galloping out 6 furlongs in 1:16, according to clockers who recorded earlier splits of :13 for the colt’s opening eighth of a mile, :37 for 3 furlongs and :49.80 for a half-mile. The 5-furlong time ranked 23rd of 32 published at the distance.

“We were just looking for something easy,” Diodoro said after watching the work from the frontside. “David did a good job of keeping him nice and relaxed because he can get a little tough. It’s just about keeping him healthy and happy now.”

Friday’s work was the eighth this year at Oaklawn for Keepmeinmind, unraced since a last-to-first victory in the $200,000 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (G2) Nov. 28 at Churchill Downs.

Keepmeinmind has been scheduled to make his 3-year-old debut in the $750,000 Southwest Stakes (G3) Feb. 15 at Oaklawn before the 1 1/16-mile race was postponed twice because of harsh winter weather. The Southwest was run last Saturday, but Diodoro opted to begin Keepmeinmind’s 2021 campaign in the Rebel after Oaklawn lost 11 days of training (Feb. 12-22) because of arctic temperatures and heavy snow. Keepmeinmind returned to the work tab Feb. 26, covering 5 furlongs in 1:03.20.

“Those two weeks back training, having a couple of works in him, really seemed to do him a lot of good,” Cohen said. “Today was just an easy work, trying to keep him as quiet as possible. Still, a nice, long gallop out, with nothing too rapid. I was very happy with the way he broke off. He has a tendency to get real tough. He did it really relaxed. Was very within himself.”


Prior to breaking his maiden in the Kentucky Jockey Club, Keepmeinmind finished second in the $400,000 Breeders’ Futurity (G1) Oct. 3 at Keeneland and third in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) Nov. 6 at Keeneland. Essential Quality won the Breeders’ Futurity and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile en route to being named the country’s champion 2-year-old male and captured the Southwest in his 2021 debut for Eclipse Award-winning trainer Brad Cox to remain unbeaten in four lifetime starts.

The 1 1/16-mile Rebel is Oaklawn’s third of four Kentucky Derby points races and will offer 85 (50-20-10-5, respectively) toward starting eligibility for the first leg of the Triple Crown.

The Oaklawn racing department listed eight early probables Friday morning for the Rebel – Big Lake for Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen, Caddo River (Cox), Concert Tour (Bob Baffert), Keepmeinmind, Nova Rags (Bill Mott), O Besos (Greg Foley), Starrininmydreams (Dallas Stewart) and Super Stock (Asmussen).

Caddo River, a homebred for John Ed Anthony of Hot Springs, was a record-setting 10 ¼-length winner of the $150,000 Smarty Jones Stakes Jan. 22, Oaklawn’s first Kentucky Derby points race. Unbeaten Concert Tour (2 for 2) possesses a resume that is a carbon copy of last year’s Rebel winner, Nadal, another Baffert trainee.

Concert Tour broke his maiden Jan. 15 at Santa Anita and won the $200,000 San Vicente Stakes (G2) Feb. 6 at Santa Anita. Concert Tour will be making his two-turn debut in the Rebel, a race Baffert has won a record seven times. Nova Rags finished second, beaten a length, in the $250,000 Sam F. Davis Stakes (G3) Feb. 6 at Tampa Bay Downs in his last start.

The Rebel is among five stakes races to be run March 13 at Oaklawn, the others being the $150,000 Temperence Hill for older horses at 1 ½ miles, $200,000 Hot Springs for older sprinters, $350,000 Azeri (G2) for older females at 1 1/16 miles and the $500,000 Essex Handicap for older horses at 1 1/16 miles.

Whitmore, the country’s champion male sprinter of 2020, is scheduled to make his seasonal debut in the Hot Springs. The gelding has won the Hot Springs a record four consecutive years.

The Rebel is the final major local prep for the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) April 10.

It’s Back

Beginning this week, Oaklawn will open the infield, weather permitting, each Saturday for the remainder of the meeting.

Gates open at 11 a.m. (Central). General admission is on a first-come, first-served basis. No reservations are required, with all ages welcome. Based on Oaklawn COVID-19 guidelines, fans will only be allowed to enter the infield through the north alley, which is located off Central Avenue across from the Best Western Hotel. Oaklawn’s north parking lot will be open for parking.

Oaklawn management will monitor capacity throughout the day and masks or facial coverings are required for ages 10 and older. Social distancing protocols remain in place.

Chairs and blankets are permitted. Tents, coolers and backpacks are prohibited. Cliff & Susan will provide musical entertainment Saturday, with food trucks, concessions and wagering sites also available.

Oaklawn’s live season ends May 1.

Finish Lines

Joyful Cadence ($6.40) became the first Oaklawn winner sired by Runhappy in Thursday’s seventh race, a maiden special weights sprint for fillies and mares, 3 and up. Trained by John Ortiz, Joyful Cadence was an 8 ¾-length winner under Joshua Morales, Oaklawn’s leading apprentice jockey this year. Joyful Cadence is from the first crop of Runhappy, the country’s champion male sprinter of 2015. … Agent Doug Bredar said he began representing Martin Garcia, Oaklawn’s second-leading rider last year, earlier this week. Their first racing day together was highlighted by Garcia winning Thursday’s fourth race aboard Madison’s Luna ($25.80) for trainer Phil Bauer. Madison’s Luna also represented the first career Oaklawn victory for Bauer, who ran trainer Kenny McPeek’s Oaklawn division several years ago. … Favored Southern Grayce ($3.60) won Thursday’s eighth race, a first-level allowance sprint for 3-year-old fillies, to give Eclipse Award-winning trainer Brad Cox a victory in Oaklawn’s featured event for the third consecutive race day. Cox won last Saturday’s $750,000 Southwest Stakes for 3-year-olds (G3) with champion Essential Quality and Sunday’s $250,000 Bayakoa Stakes (G3) for older fillies and mares with champion Monomoy Girl.