03/05/2011 2:24PM

Oaklawn: J P's Gusto works for Rebel

Benoit & Associates
J P's Gusto worked six furlongs in 1:13.60 at Oaklawn for the Rebel Stakes there.

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – J P’s Gusto breezed six furlongs in 1:13.60 at Oaklawn Park on Saturday morning in preparation for the Grade 2, $300,000 Rebel Stakes on March 19. He is expected to be part of a large field for the 1 1/16-mile race, which is a stepping-stone in the Arkansas Derby.

J P’s Gusto worked by himself under Oaklawn leading rider Cliff Berry. Ramon Dominguez, who was aboard the horse when he finished second in the Grade 3, $250,000 Southwest last month at Oaklawn, has the mount in the Rebel. J P’s Gusto breezed after the renovation break, on an overcast 45-degree morning. The track was listed as fast.

“He worked very good,” said Joe Petalino, who trains J P’s Gusto for Gem Inc. “He went off good, finished strong, went very easily. He came back bucking and playing.”

J P’s Gusto came onto the track at 9:15 a.m., and backtracked to the three-eighths pole. He stood in for a while before turning around and heading to the six-furlong pole to begin his work. Clockers carried him through an opening eighth of a mile in 12.80 seconds, the first quarter-mile in 25, three furlongs in 37, and a half-mile in 49.20, while he covered his final quarter in 24.40. J P’s Gusto proceeded to gallop out seven furlongs in 1:28.20.

“We’ll work him another five-eighths next week,” said Petalino.

J P’s Gusto won the Grade 1 Del Mar Futurity, Grade 2 Best Pal and Grade 3 Hollywood Juvenile Championship last year at 2. The Southwest was his first start of the year, following a runner-up finish in the Grade 1 CashCall Futurity at Hollywood Park on Dec. 18. J P’s Gusto joined Petalino’s stable last month after beginning his career in Southern California with trainer David Hofmans.

Others expected for the Rebel include Archarcharch, who won the Southwest Stakes, and Elite Alex, who finished third in the Southwest. Caleb’s Posse, winner of the $100,000 Smarty Jones at Oaklawn in January, and Alternation, a sharp allowance winner last month, are also candidates for the Rebel.