Secret Circle narrowly won the Southwest by a half-length over a front-running Scatman (8-1) who also returns for today’s contest. While 8-furlongs may be the best distance for both horses, they should have the breeding to stretch out further.
As a 3-year-old, Eddington, the sire of Secret Circle, won the 9-furlong Calder Derby and finished third in the Gotham Stakes (G3), Wood Memorial Stakes (G1), Preakness Stakes (G1) and Travers Stakes (G1).
As a 3-year-old, Scat Daddy, the sire of Scatman, won the 9-furlong Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2) and Florida Derby (G1). Grand Slam, the damsire of Scatman, won the 9-furlong Peter Pan Stakes (G2) and finished second in the Swaps Stakes (G2).
While it remains to be seen if Secret Circle and Scatman have any classic potential, I look for them to be competitive in today’s race.
A young colt that intrigues me the most is Najjaar (6-1) who definitely has the breeding to be a classic prospect and a win in today’s race would be a step in the right direction.
Darshaan, the damsire of Najjaar, won the 1984 French classic Prix du Jockey Club and he’s also the damsire of the classic champions Marienbard, Sendawar, High Chaparral and Darsi. As a sire, Darshaan sired the classic champions Mark of Esteem and Dalakhani.
Najjaar appears to have been a slow developer, finally breaking his maiden on the fifth attempt when he made his 3-year-old debut in January at Oaklawn Park. Najjaar followed up that win with another victory on March 2 traveling the same route of ground at the same track.
In six career starts, Najjaar has been in the money in five of those races and another move forward will make him competitive in today’s race.
In eight career starts, Jake Mo is one of the more seasoned runners in the today’s field and he’s finished in the money five times. The Rebel will be his first attempt for Jake Mo to run 8½-furlongs and he has the breeding to perform better as the races get longer.
A sharp work out on March 4 and another move forward in his third start for the season will make Jake Mo competitive at a nice price.
Sabercat (5-1), making his 3-year-old debut in the Rebel off of a three-month layoff, already earned his spot in the Kentucky Derby starting gate when he cruised to a 4-length victory in the Delta Downs Jackpot at Delta Downs last November.
Sabercat may not be in top form, just yet, as trainer Steve Asmussen will be looking for him to peak going into the Kentucky Derby. However, if he repeats the form of his Jackpot win last November he should be competitive.