Three Technique breezes outside Wendell Fong on Feb. 29 at Oaklawn Park

One of the leading local candidates for the $1 million Rebel Stakes (G2) for 3-year-olds March 14 recorded a sizzling workout in advance of the 1 1/16-mile race Saturday morning at Oaklawn.

Three Technique posted a half-mile bullet (:46) just after the surface renovation break for Jeremiah Englehart, who trains the Mr Speaker colt for two-time Super Bowl-winning coach Bill Parcells’ August Dawn Farm. The work under exercise rider Marquel Lemon was the fourth for Three Technique since his runner-up finish in the $150,000 Smarty Jones Stakes Jan. 24.

Breezing over a fast track with stablemate Wendell Fong, a stakes-winning older horse, Three Technique covered his first 3 furlongs in :34 and galloped out 5 furlongs in :59.20. Wendell Fong, who was on the inside during the work, was also credited with a half-mile in :46. He is being pointed to next Saturday’s Hot Springs Stakes.

“I wanted him to be a little bit sharper,” Englehart said of Three Technique. “It kind of surprised me how well they looked and how sharp they worked. I was really happy with that.”

Three Technique, favored in all five lifetime starts, was beaten 2 ¾ lengths in the 1-mile Smarty Jones, the colt’s stakes and two-turn debut. The Smarty Jones is Oaklawn’s first of four Kentucky Derby points races. Englehart elected to pass the second, the $750,000 Southwest Stakes (G3) Feb. 17, and bring Three Technique up to the Rebel off works, with Saturday’s breeze his major move for the race. There were 119 half-mile works recorded Saturday morning.

“I want to come back next week with something a little lighter,” Englehart said. “I worked him five-eighths last week and he did it real easy, so I wanted him to get something out of this work this week. Then I can have a nice, normal work next week.”

Englehart said a rider for Three Technique “is up in the air” because Irad Ortiz Jr., a two-time Eclipse Award winner as the country’s outstanding jockey, has committed to a horse for Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert for the Rebel. Ortiz has ridden Three Technique in his last two starts. The jockey’s brother, Jose Ortiz, rode Three Technique is his first three career starts, but he is sidelined with a broken wrist.

“We’ve got a couple of different options,” Englehart said.

Rebel candidates Wells Bayou and Answer In, second and third, respectively, in the Southwest, posted half-mile works Saturday morning for trainer Brad Cox. Wells Bayou went in :49.20, while Answer In went in :48.60.

The Rebel will offer 85 points (50-20-10-5) to the top four finishers toward starting eligibility for the Kentucky Derby. It is the final major local prep for the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) April 11.

Nominations to the Rebel close Thursday, March 5.



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