Oaklawn News

Rebel Winner Cupid Reaches Millionaire Status with West Virginia Derby Score

Cupid became the fifth consecutive winner of Oaklawn’s Rebel Stakes to reach $1 million in career earnings with his wire-to-wire four-length victory in the $750,000 West Virginia Derby (G2) Saturday at Mountaineer.

Ridden by Rafael Bejarano, Cupid covered 1 1/8 miles over a fast track in 1:50.54 to earn a preliminary Beyer Speed Figure of 95. The gray son of Tapit paid $5 as the 3-2 favorite.

The victory, Cupid’s fourth in eight lifetime starts, pushed his career earnings to $1,326,803 for owners Michael Tabor, Mrs. John Magnier and Derrick Smith and Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert.

Cupid was coming off a front-running victory in the $500,000 Indiana Derby (G2) July 16 at Indiana Grand. His most lucrative victory to date came in the $900,000 Rebel Stakes (G2) March 19 at Oaklawn.

Cupid follows Secret Circle ($3,670,790), Will Take Charge ($3,924,648), Hoppertunity ($2,902,675) and American Pharoah ($8,650,300) as Rebel winners to become millionaires.

Secret Circle, Hoppertunity and American Pharoah were also trained by Baffert, who has won the Rebel a record six times since 2010. American Pharoah became racing’s first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978 en route to Horse of the Year honors in 2015.

Hall of Famer D. Wayne Lukas trained Will Take Charge, the country’s champion 3-year-old male of 2013.

In addition to Cupid, a $900,000 Keeneland September Yearling Sale graduate, this year’s Rebel has produced the winner of the Arkansas Derby and Belmont Stakes (Creator) and the Preakness runner-up (Cherry Wine). Creator and Cherry Wine ran third and fourth, respectively, in the Rebel.

Madefromlucky won the 2015 West Virginia Derby after finishing second to American Pharaoh in the Rebel.

Claim to Fame

W.B. Smudge, who headlined trainer Matt Kordenbrock’s first Oaklawn meet this year, reached two career milestones in the $100,000 Robert C. Byrd Memorial Stakes Saturday at Mountaineer.

W.B. Smudge held off Oaklawn-raced Wilbo by a head to record his first career stakes victory and surpass $500,000 in career earnings. The gelding, ridden by Corey Lanerie, ran 6 furlongs over a fast track in 1:09.86 and paid $7.40.

On behalf of owners Robert O’Hara Jr. and Gwyneth Gower, Kordenbrock claimed W.B. Smudge out of an Oct. 14, 2014, victory at Indiana Grand for $25,000. He set a 6-furlong track record that day (1:07.59).

W.B. Smudge ran five times this year at Oaklawn, winning two allowance/optional claimers and finishing third in the $100,000 King Cotton Stakes Jan. 30. Overall, the 7-year-old son of Oaklawn Handicap winner Grand Reward has won 14 of 52 starts and earned $515,352.

Kordenbrock had a 4-4-3 record from 23 starts at this year’s Oaklawn meeting. He saddled his first winner in 2006, according to Equibase, racing’s official data gathering organization.

Finish Lines

Arkansas Derby/Belmont Stakes winner Creator worked a half-mile in :50.94 Monday over Saratoga’s training track. ... Four-time Oaklawn riding champion Ricardo Santana Jr. is eighth in the standings after three weeks of racing at Saratoga. Santana has eight victories from 65 starts and purse earnings of $523,898. Santana’s eight victories have come for six trainers: Steve Asmussen (two), John Terranova (two), David Cannizzo, Kiaran McLaughlin, Rusty Arnold and Al Stall. Asmussen has won seven Oaklawn training titles. … Oaklawn-raced Smack Smack won Saturday’s $175,000 Downs At Albuquerque Handicap at Albuquerque for trainer Don Von Hemel of Hot Springs. Von Hemel, 82, was Oaklawn’s leading trainer in 1981. Smack Smack ran fifth in the $350,000 Razorback Handicap (G3) March 19 at Oaklawn. … Razorback Handicap winner Upstart ran third in the $1.25 million Whitney Stakes (G1) Saturday at Saratoga, a nose ahead of Effinex, winner of Oaklawn’s $750,000 Oaklawn Handicap (G2) April 16. … Texas Chrome won the $100,000 Super Derby Prelude Stakes Saturday at Louisiana Downs for trainer J.R. Caldwell, an Oaklawn regular. Texas Chrome, in his 3-year-old debut, finished third in the $150,000 Bachelor Stakes April 15 at Oaklawn. Saturday's victory earned Texas Chrome a free starting berth in the $400,000 Super Derby (G3) Sept. 10 at Louisiana Downs. … Oaklawn-raced Hawaakom, Departing and Allied Air Raid ran 1-2-3, respectively, in the $200,000 West Virginia Governor’s Stakes Saturday at Mountaineer. … Oaklawn-raced Black Bear finished second in the $100,000 West Virginia Legislature Chairman’s Cup Saturday at Mountaineer