Un Ojo Surprises Everyone with a Remarkable Victory at Rebel Stakes
In a surprising turn of events, Un Ojo, a one-eyed gelding, emerged as the victorious underdog in the Grade 2 Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park. Despite being the longest shot on the betting board at 75/1 odds, Un Ojo showcased his resilience and determination, clinching a half-length victory in this Kentucky Derby prep race.
A Remarkable Triumph Against All Odds
Un Ojo, whose name translates to “an eye,” defied expectations and delivered an unforgettable performance. The son of the late Laoban captivated the attention of astute horseplayers who recognized his potential, resulting in the second-highest win payout in Oaklawn stakes history.
When Un Ojo crossed the finish line a mere half-length ahead of D. Wayne Lukas’ Ethereal Road, those who took a chance on this courageous gelding were rewarded with a remarkable win payout of $152.80 for a $2 bet. Additionally, Un Ojo generated returns of $41.80 for a place bet and $18.60 for a show bet. Only Rockamundo’s stunning $218 payout in the 1993 Arkansas Derby surpassed the shocker witnessed on Saturday at Oaklawn Park.
The Journey of Un Ojo
Trained by Ricky Courville, with assistance from his son Clay Courville, Un Ojo has exhibited exceptional talent throughout his racing career. This victory in the Rebel Stakes solidified his position as a legitimate contender for the upcoming Kentucky Derby. With the 50 points earned from this win, Un Ojo now has a total of 54 points, placing him in the second spot on the points ladder. Impressively, he has achieved a record of 2-2-0 in six starts, amassing earnings of $776,321.
Before his triumph at Oaklawn Park, Un Ojo proved his mettle in other notable races. He secured four points with a runner-up finish in the Grade 3 Withers Stakes at Aqueduct, where he spent the winter under the tutelage of trainer Tony Dutrow. Prior to that, Un Ojo exhibited his prowess by finishing second in the New York Stallion Series, a Black-Type class race for state breds held in December.
Un Ojo’s journey has been marked by steady improvement and commendable performances, enticing both his trainers and astute bettors who recognize his potential.
Following this unexpected victory, Un Ojo and his owner, Kevin Moody of Cypress Creek Equine LLC, are carefully charting their future race plans. While a well-deserved break is in order, it is highly likely that Un Ojo will be pointed towards the prestigious Grade 1 Arkansas Derby.
Ricky Courville expressed his intentions, stating, “Give him a couple of weeks and maybe head back up for the Arkansas Derby a week out, like we did.” Un Ojo’s supporters eagerly anticipate his next appearance, hoping to witness another awe-inspiring display of skill and determination.
Newgrange’s Surprising Performance
On the flip side, Bob Baffert’s Newgrange, who entered the Rebel Stakes as the 4/5 favorite and undefeated contender, faced an unexpected setback. Despite high expectations, Newgrange failed to deliver and finished a disappointing sixth, 4 Â¼ lengths behind the victorious Un Ojo.
Baffert expressed his disappointment, stating, “When the running started, he didn’t have it today. But that happens. He didn’t show up today. I really can’t think of any excuses today.”
Newgrange’s unexpected loss serves as a reminder of the unpredictable nature of horse racing, where even the most promising contenders can falter on any given day.
Un Ojo’s astonishing victory at the Rebel Stakes defied all odds and captivated racing enthusiasts. This one-eyed gelding showcased his resilience, determination, and undeniable talent, leaving both his trainers and bettors in awe. As Un Ojo prepares for his next challenge in the Arkansas Derby, his remarkable journey serves as a testament to the captivating and unpredictable nature of the sport.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How did Un Ojo lose his left eye?
Un Ojo lost his left eye in a pasture accident when he was just a yearling. Despite this setback, the resilient gelding has defied expectations and achieved remarkable success on the racetrack.
2. What is the significance of Un Ojo’s name?
Un Ojo’s name translates to “an eye” in English, reflecting his one-eyed status. This unique name symbolizes his resilience, determination, and ability to overcome adversity.
3. How does Un Ojo’s victory in the Rebel Stakes impact his Kentucky Derby prospects?
Un Ojo’s victory in the Rebel Stakes significantly strengthens his position on the road to the Kentucky Derby. With 54 total points, he ranks second on the points ladder, making him a legitimate contender in the prestigious race.
4. What are the future race plans for Un Ojo?
While Un Ojo will take a well-deserved break, his next target is likely to be the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby. Trainers Ricky Courville and Clay Courville are carefully planning his path to ensure he continues his remarkable journey.
5. How did the favorite, Newgrange, perform in the Rebel Stakes?
Despite entering the Rebel Stakes as the overwhelming favorite, Newgrange disappointed and finished sixth. Bob Baffert, his trainer, expressed his disappointment in the performance and acknowledged that sometimes horses simply have an off day.