Long Range Toddy and jockey Jon Court tracked down 2/5 favorite Improbable to score by a head in the Grade 2, $750,000 Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park on Saturday.
Although off slowly, Galilean set the early pace under Flavien Prat and long shot Classy John joined the front runner. They traveled a 1/2 mile in 47.58 before Extra Hope joined the fray and Improbable moved impressively on the outside. As they straightened for home, Drayden Van Dyke gave Bob Baffert trainee Improbable his cue and the pair roared off the turn, opened up and looked like they were home. But Jon Court and Long Range Toddy put it in high gear and made a sustained bid in the middle of the racetrack to run down Improbable on the wire.
Galilean ran third and Extra Hope held fourth.
Trained by Steve Asmussen, Long Range Toddy completed the 1-1/16 miles in 1:42.49 and improves his record to 4-1-1 from seven starts. The win assures the son of Take Charge Indy a spot in The Kentucky Derby on May 4.
Improbable never looked comfortable in the early stages of the race and was floated wide on both turns but he just didn’t show the punch he has in the past.