03/06/2012 4:21PM

Oaklawn: Sabercat to go in Rebel

Coady Photography
Sabercat, with Gerard Melancon riding, wins the Delta Downs Jackpot.

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - Sabercat, the winner of the Grade 3, $1 million Delta Downs Jackpot in his last start Nov. 19, will make his 3-year-old debut in the Grade 2, $500,000 Rebel at Oaklawn Park, said his trainer, Steve Asmussen. The 1 1/16-mile race is on March 17.

Asmussen said Monday that Corey Nakatani has the mount. The horse was to have flown into Arkansas from Southern California this week. Sabercat, who is owned by Winchell Thoroughbreds, had also been under serious consideration for the Grade 2 San Felipe at Santa Anita on Saturday.

"He needed one more week," Asmussen said of the decision to target the Rebel. 

Sabercat was to be joined on the flight by Tapizar, who Asmussen said will run in the Grade 3, $125,000 Razorback Handicap at Oaklawn on Saturday. Tapizar also races for Winchell Thoroughbreds and he, too, will be ridden by Nakatani. The horse last ran Feb. 4 and was fourth in the Grade 2 Strub at Santa Anita. Asmussen said the timing of the Razorback was one of the draws for Tapizar.

"He's a very heavy horse, a big horse, and I needed to get into a better rhythm with him, the spacing with his races," Asmussen said. "This fell into a reasonable time frame to keep him going."

Asmussen said the 1 1/16-mile distance of the Razorback also suited Tapizar, who won the Grade 2 San Fernando at the distance in January. Tapizar is the second highweight for the Razorback, at 118 pounds. The race is designed as a stepping-stone to the Grade 2, $350,000 Oaklawn Handicap on April 14.