(from the Blood-Horse)

Hickory Tree Stables’ Rebellion, idle since running eighth in the Oct. 27 NetJets Breeders’ Cup Mile (gr. IT), stormed down the lane April 12 to catch longshot Elite Squadron by a head in the final strides in the $400,000 Commonwealth Stakes (gr. II) (VIDEO) on the Keeneland Polytrack.

Trained by Graham Motion, Rebellion was eighth and six-wide after a half-mile in the seven-furlong event. It was not until the stretch drive that the 5-year-old son of Mozart got into gear under Edgar Prado. He was finally able to run down the longtime leader, who went off at 38-1.

In recording his sixth win in 15 lifetime starts, the English-bred Rebellion earned his first graded stakes win. Out of the Lahib mare Last Resort, he was bred by Darley.

The final time on a fast Polytrack surface was 1:21.40. Medzendeekron finished third, three-quarters of a length in front of Forefathers.

“He didn’t run badly in the Breeders’ Cup,” Motion said. “He had a rough trip. We wanted to run him about a month ago, but he held out and it was worth it. Thanks to him for being so patient. He’s a pretty special horse.”

Tom Walters’ Elite Squadron, who was coming off a third-place effort in the Richter Scale (gr. II) at Gulfstream Park, led from almost the outset under John Velazquez, posting fractions of :23.05, :46.32, and 1:09.53. The 4-year-old Officer colt had a one-length lead at the top of the stretch, with Thousand Words and Forefathers right on his heels.

Rebellion was fourth with a furlong to go, but was eating up ground from the middle of the racetrack. He was all out in nipping Elite Squadron at the wire.

“The horse ran real well,” said Prado, who captured the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) one mount later on Monba. “Graham was very confident coming into the race. He said the horse has always been a trooper, and he proved that today.”

The winner paid $10.20, $5.40, and $4.60. The exacta (6-5) returned a hefty $368.40.
Prior to the Breeders’ Cup Mile Rebellion was second, a half-length back, in the Oct. 6 Phoenix Stakes (gr. III) at Keeneland. His last victory came Sept. 13 in the Steinlen Stakes on the Belmont Park turf. The first eight races of his career were in England.
(Photo by Z/Keeneland)