When the horses enter the starting gate for the first of two runnings of the Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park on Saturday, none will have a resume quite like Galilean.
The California-bred son of Uncle Mo is 3-for-4 with three stakes wins, including commanding performances that saw him take his last two races by a combined 13 lengths, including a nine-length wire-to-wire romp around two turns last year.
A muscular son of Uncle Mo, Galilean was purchased at the Barretts Two-Year-Old-in-Training Sale last spring for $600,000 by West Point Thoroughbreds, a racing partnership that has won over $49 million on the track and won the 2017 Kentucky Derby with Always Dreaming.
“He was a physical standout at the Barretts Sale and I know the consignor, Eddie Woods, was very, very high on him since buying him as a yearling,” West Point President and CEO Terry Finley told Bourbon & Barns this week.
West Point sent Galilean to the barn of Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer who targeted races at Los Alamitos and Santa Anita where the Cal-bred colt could take advantage of the Golden Gate Series races for Cal-breds.
“We knew he was an open company quality colt but it's so nice to have the strong Cal-bred program to work with,” Finley said.
Galilean made his first start in a 6 ½-furlong stakes race in September at Los Alamitos, winning by a neck. He returned in a November stakes race at Santa Anita where he lost by a neck, but fought gamely and was 16 lengths clear of the next finisher.
In December, Galilean returned to Los Alamitos where he gained wide acclaim for a resounding wire-to-wire nine-length stakes win in his first attempt at one mile. Last month, he made his first start of his three-year-old campaign, stretching out to a mile-and-a-sixteenth at Santa Anita, winning by four-and-a-half lengths.
The Rebel Stakes, which will be broken into two divisions, will be Galilean’s toughest competition yet. Galilean’s division of the race includes the favored Improbable who is trained by Hall of Famer Bob Baffert who guided the colt to a Grade 1 win last year and the top of Kentucky Derby watch lists. But Finley is encouraged by Galilean’s progress and thinks he’s ready for a big test on Saturday.
“When you watch this colt breeze, he's just so efficient and low to the ground,” Finley said. "He has inspired confidence with his work in the morning. That is why he started out in a stakes race, and his career has been building the right way for him to have a big test in open company, in a Triple Crown prep, on Saturday at Oaklawn. He is a very exciting colt."
Galilean is the second choice on the morning line in the first division of the Rebel behind Improbable.
Game Winner, last year’s two-year-old Eclipse champion, is favored in the second division of the race.
Post times for the two races are 4:57 p.m. and 6:06 p.m. (Central).