10/17/2008 12:00AM

Rebellion leaing toward Dirt Mile


As good as he is, Rebellion needs things just right. He has won 4 of 9 starts on a synthetic surface and finished in the money seven times. He has won 3 of 10 on turf and finished in the money seven times. Pretty similar. It is distance, though, where Rebellion is particularly finicky.

For the Breeders' Cup at Santa Anita, Rebellion was pre-entered this week in both the Turf Sprint, at 6 1/2 furlongs on Santa Anita's hillside turf course, and the Dirt Mile, both next Saturday. The distance of neither race is ideal, according to trainer Graham Motion.

"He's a very hard horse to place," Motion said Friday after Rebellion worked five furlongs in 1:00.40 on Santa Anita's Pro-Ride surface. "He's a seven-furlong horse."

Trouble is, there is no seven-furlong Breeders' Cup race for Rebellion, who is clearly of Breeders' Cup quality. He was fourth on the hillside turf course in the Morvich Handicap on Sept. 24. This summer at Del Mar, he was second going seven furlongs in the Pat O'Brien Handicap and fifth in the San Diego Handicap at 1 1/16 miles. Earlier this year, Rebellion won the 7 1/2-furlong Ack Ack Handicap at Hollywood Park and the seven-furlong Commonwealth Stakes at Keeneland.

After weighing the pros and cons, Motion said he was leaning toward running Rebellion next Saturday in the Dirt Mile.

"I think 6 1/2 furlongs down the hill is a little too quick for him," Motion said. "A mile and a sixteenth was stretching him a little. I'm hoping a mile will suit him. It's hard to imagine he could win going 7 1/2 at Hollywood and not at a mile."

Motion said he thinks the synthetic track Dirt Mile "suits him better, though I think the race is tougher."

Edgar Prado will ride Rebellion in the Dirt Mile, Motion said.

Lewis Michael, who won the Pat O'Brien, is among the leading contenders in the Dirt Mile. He worked seven furlongs in 1:25.60 on Friday at Keeneland for trainer Wayne Catalano.

Others scheduled to run in the Dirt Mile are Albertus Maximus, My Pal Charlie, Slew's Tiznow, Surf Cat, Two Step Salsa, and possibly Pyro and Well Armed.

Trainer Randy Morse confirmed Friday that Jonesboro, who was pre-entered in both the Dirt Mile and Marathon, would not run in either race.