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DAY 29 of 57

THURSDAY’S ESTIMATED ATTENDANCE 5,000

THURSDAY’S ON-TRACK HANDLE $367,944 THURSDAY’S OFF-TRACK HANDLE $3,154,015

THURSDAY’S TOTAL HANDLE $3,521,959 TODAY’S SIMULCAST SCHEDULE 11:20 a.m. Aqueduct; 11:30 a.m. Laurel Park; 11:35 a.m. Gulfstream Park; 11:35 a.m. Tampa Bay; 2:45 p.m. Golden Gate; 3 p.m. Santa Anita; 3:10 p.m. Hawthorne; 5 p.m. Fairgrounds; 5:05 p.m. Penn National; 5:15 p.m. Turfway Park; 6 p.m. Charles Town; 6:25 p.m. Daytona Beach (greyhounds); 6:30 p.m. Derby Lane (greyhounds); 7:15 p.m. Sam Houston.

THURSDAY’S STAR

David Cohen won two races. He won the first race with Single Gem ($7.60, $4.60, $2.40), covering 1 1/16 miles in 1:45.60, and the third race with Home It Tiz ($4.40, $3.00, $2.60), covering 1 1/16 miles in 1:46.39.

FIRST FEEL FOR OAKLAWN

Unbeaten champion Game Winner got his first feel of the Oaklawn racing surface Thursday morning, galloping after the renovation break in advance of his scheduled 3-year-old debut in the second division of Saturday’s $750,000 Grade II Rebel Stakes at 1 1/16 miles.

Game Winner (4 for 4) and unbeaten stablemate Improbable (3 for 3) arrived Wednesday morning after a flight that originated earlier in the day in Southern California. Improbable galloped before the renovation break Thursday morning. Both horses are under the care of Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert’s top assistant, Jimmy Barnes.

“I’d say we galloped just a little over a mile, probably a mile,” Barnes said. “We just went straight on, once around, and pulled up. Very good. Looked awesome on the track. Couldn’t be happier. They went over the surface very nice. Usually our ship-ins, our first day, that’s what we do. We just take it easy. Just let them get a look of things.” Game Winner was installed as the 4-5 program favorite for the second division (10 entrants). Improbable is the 3-5 program favorite for the Rebel’s first division (nine entrants).

Game Winner clinched an Eclipse Award for champion 2-year-old male in his last start, the $2 million Grade I Breeders’ Cup Juvenile on Nov. 2 at Churchill Downs. Improbable (3 for 3) hasn’t started since the $300,000 Grade I Los Alamitos Futurity on Dec. 8 at Los Alamitos.

Both horses were scheduled to make their 3-year-old debuts in the $500,000 Grade II San Felipe Stakes on March 9 at Santa Anita. They were rerouted to Arkansas after Santa Anita announced March 5 it was suspending racing indefinitely because of poor weather and track conditions. Splitting the Rebel helped horsemen affected by the San Felipe’s cancellation.

The split means the Rebel, originally a $1 million race, will be worth $1.5 million overall, with each division offering $750,000 and 63.75 qualifying points for the Kentucky Derby to the top-four finishers (37.5, 15, 7.5 and 3.75).

Baffert has won the Rebel a record six times — 2010 (Lookin At Lucky), 2011 (The Factor), 2012 (Secret Circle), 2014 (Hoppertunity), 2015 (American Pharoah) and 2016 (Cupid).

The Rebel is the final major local prep for the $1 million Grade I Arkansas Derby on April 13.

Information for this report was contributed by the Oaklawn media department.

Print Headline: AT THE POST

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