03/23/2002 12:00AM

Windward Passage takes Rebel Stakes

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HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - Windward Passage scored one for the locals when he overtook 8-5 favorite Ocean Sound in the stretch to win the Grade 3, $100,000 Rebel by a length. It was 3 1/4 lengths back in third to Dusty Spike.

The Rebel is the final local prep for the Grade 2, $500,000 Arkansas Derby on April 13. Steve Asmussen, who trains Windward Passage for Team Valor, also won the first local prep for the Arkansas Derby when he sent out Private Emblem to win the Southwest Stakes on March 2.

Asmussen said Windward Passage will be pointed to the Arkansas Derby.

Windward Passage ($11.20) raced several lengths behind pacesetter Ocean Sound, who broke sharply in the 1 1/16-mile race and led the field through an opening half-mile in 47.80 seconds. Windward Passage moved up along the final turn, and ran down the leaders in the stretch, covering the distance over a fast track in 1:45. He was ridden by Donnie Meche.

Windward Passage earned $60,000 for the win, which improved his record to two wins from six starts for earnings of $105,920.

Windward Passage is a homebred son of Captain Bodgit.