Rebel Empire upsets Dover Stakes at Delaware Park

Friday, August 27th, 2021

Rebel Empire wins second straight in Thursday’s Dover Stakes at Delaware Park. Hoofprints Inc. Photo.

By Tom Law

Rebel Empire didn’t make the most auspicious start to his career – stumbling badly and losing his rider on debut in late June. The Sky Kingdom gelding bounced back with a win a month later and became a stakes winner Thursday with a victory in the $50,250 Dover at Delaware Park.

Sent off as the second longest price of seven at 16-1, Rebel Empire rolled to a 4-length victory over odds-on favorite No Sabe Nada and Under the Radar in the 5 1/2-furlong stakes on the main track. Ridden by Aubrie Green for trainer Lynn Ashy, Rebel Empire won in 1:04.41 over the fast track.

Bred by Ron & Betsy Sapp LLC and running in Ron Sapp’s green and blue colors, Rebel Empire improved to 2-for-3 with $49,625 in earnings.

Rebel Empire came into the Dover off of a nose victory in $40,000 maiden claiming company in a 5-furlong race July 22. He vied for the lead early that day and led most the way, a far cry from his June 21 debut at Delaware when he stumbled at the start and tossed jockey Skyler Spanabel.

Ashby breezed Rebel Empire once on the Delaware main track July 15 before his second start then three times at Middletown Training Center and once more at Delaware before the Dover. Stormy Bonnie and Stevethevandriver battled for the lead early in the Dover, clicking off splits of :22.23 for the quarter and :46.10 for the half with Rebel Empire just off the pace in third. Rebel Empire took command approaching the quarter pole and drew off through the lane.

Rebel Empire is a third generation homebred for the Sapps. They bred and raced his granddam, the winning Maryland-bred Ops Smile mare Flight Ops, along with his dam, the $100,879-earner and two-time winning Pennsylvania-bred Yankee Gentleman mare Rebel Lady. Rebel Empire is the fourth foal produced by Rebel Lady and the first to make it to the races.

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