03/14/2005 1:00AM

Field of five for Rebel - including 'Rockport'


HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - With Afleet Alex, Rockport Harbor, and Greater Good all expected to start on Saturday in the Grade 3, $250,000 Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park, the race had only five probables as of Monday.

Along with the top three colts, officials expected the Rebel field to include Baston Challenge, an entry-level allowance winner in his last start for trainer Pete Vestal; and Jazzy Gallop, who has won his last two starts for trainer Steve Asmussen.

Rockport Harbor's status for the race was day-to-day as of Sunday, the day after an old laceration on his right hind foot flared up. But he was healing on Monday, and his trainer, John Servis, said he expected him to make the Rebel.

Servis planned to jog Rockport Harbor on Tuesday. "When I put him on the racetrack, that will be the telltale sign," Servis said.

Rockport Harbor was found to have foreign matter, possibly dirt, lodged in the site of his old laceration, on Saturday. On Monday, it appeared that the foreign matter, which has to be absorbed naturally by the body, was gone because there was no sign of drainage at the site of the old wound, according to Servis.

"The progress is good," he said.

Rockport Harbor, who is undefeated, sustained a half-inch-deep gash on his right hind foot in his last start, the Grade 2 Remsen on Nov. 27, when he was stepped on by a rival.

If the recent flare-up forces Rockport Harbor to miss the Rebel, an upcoming stakes option Servis said he would consider is the Grade 2, $500,000 Lane's End at Turfway Park on March 26.

Meanwhile, Afleet Alex figures to be favored in the Rebel, following his smashing win in the $50,000 Mountain Valley this month, for which he earned a career-best Beyer Figure of 106.

Afleet Alex walked the shed row on Monday, a day after he put in his final major preparations for the Rebel. Afleet Alex had a strong gallop Sunday to prepare for the Rebel and was credited by clockers with a four-furlong breeze in 50 seconds.

"He had an open gallop to just kind of get him to stretch his legs a little bit," said Ritchey.

John Velazquez has the mount Saturday.

Greater Good, who won the $100,000 Southwest in February, jogged 1 1/2 miles on Monday in his first day back to the track after working six furlongs in a bullet 1:13.40 on Saturday.

During his work, Greater Good broke off at the five-furlong pole and sat about five lengths behind a stablemate down the backside. He overtook his workmate near the sixteenth pole, and was up by better than a length at the wire. He then increased that advantage as he ran on to the seven-eighth pole. Jockey John McKee worked Greater Good.

Bob Holthus, who trains Greater Good, said the horse would stand in the gate on Wednesday and school in the paddock on Thursday.