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Confidence Game wins Rebel Stakes as 18-1 shot



Hot Springs, Arkansas – Confidence Game pulled off an unexpected victory in the $1 million Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park on Saturday, earning the horse 50 Kentucky Derby qualifying points.

Confidence Game, ridden by James Graham, covered 1 1/16 miles in 1:44.21 on an uneven course. The colt, who was at odds of 18-1, paid $39, $13.20, and $7.80.

“He had a ton left down the lane,” Graham said. “He keeps maturing and doing things the right way. I think the sky is the limit for him.”

Red Road One gave $8.20 and $5 in change. Reincarnate made a $5.20 entrance fee. The top five finishers received Kentucky Derby points.

After the race, jockey John Velázquez attempted to disqualify Red Route One by claiming that his colt Reincarnate was the victim of interference. The stewards rejected it.

Reincarnate was switched to Tim Yakteen, a former Bob Baffert assistant, after making his first five starts for the trainer. By Tuesday, Baffert’s barn’s owners must transfer ownership to other trainers in order to receive Derby qualification points. Before the Derby on May 6, Baffert recently lost an appeal in federal court seeking to have Churchill Downs Inc. lift his two-year suspension.

Verifying came in fourth, followed by Talladega, Big Mischief, Bourbon Bash, Gun Pilot, Frosted Departure, Mighty, and Event Detail.

Graham, who encouraged him at the second corner, kept Confidence Game in fifth place for the most of the race. Before holding off Red Route One, the colt ran wide down the middle of the stretch.

Keith Desormeaux, a trainer, bought Confidence Game for owner Kirk Godby of Don’t Tell My Wife Stables for $25,000.

“I just pick good horses, we don’t worry about the price,” a smiling Desormeaux said.