A field of nine will line up on Saturday at Keeneland in the $350,000 Elkhorn (G2), a 1 1/2-mile turf marathon.
The Bill Mott trained Channel Maker was installed as the 2-1 morning line favorite. The gelding makes his first start since his fifth-place finish in last fall’s Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1). The eight-year-old went 0 for 6 last year, his best finish a runner up finish in the Neon Turf Cup in Saudi Arabia last February.
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The co-feature on Saturday’s card at Keeneland is the $300,000 Ben Ali (G3), a 1 1/8-mile test on the main track that drew a field of eight.
Here is a quick look at the field for the Elkhorn in post position order:
The Mike Maker trainee makes his third start off a long layoff. The gelding was beaten just a head last out at Fair Grounds over good ground against third level optional claimers. His last win came in March of 2020 when he won the Pan American (G2) at Gulfstream Park at today’s distance. Looks like a player in this spot and picks up Rispoli.
This guy was not a threat in the 2020 Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes and has not seen the inside of the winner’s circle since June of 2020. Tough to make a case for him off his recent form.
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This gelding earned a career top speed figure last out wiring the field at Fair Grounds in the Muniz Memorial (G2). The gelding will not have things as easy up front as he did last out as there are a couple of foes in this spot that can assure we are going to see an honest pace. He may end up an underlay coming in off his career best performance.
The Brian Lynch trainee came Back off a 13-month layoff to take the field gate to wire to win the Appleton (G3) last out at Gulfstream Park going a mile. The extra half mile here is the question mark. He is a Grade 2 winner at 1 3/8 miles and should move forward second off the long layoff. His win over the Keeneland turf was against first level allowance foes way back in 2019.
This old timer is a multiple Grade 1 winner making his first start since a fifth-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1). He looks like he lost a couple of steps last year where he went 0 for 6. His last win was in the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic (G1) in October if 2020. His Hall of Fame trainer is good with runners coming back off the bench but the 2-1 morning line sures seems light.
Here is another gate to winner in his last out, although it came over the fake stuff at Turfway Park against much easier than these. He does not appear to have the class or speed figures to beat this group at 1 ½ miles and is just 1 for 17 lifetime on turf.
This gelding came off the bench to beat second level optional claimers at Turfway Park. He is a four-time winner on turf but looks outclassed here.
This guy raced near the back of the pack early and was not a threat in an eighth-place finish in the William L. McKnight (G3) at Gulfstream Park at today’s distance. He got no pace to run and will get it today. Two back he put in a decent effort in a fourth-place finish here in the Sycamore (G3) last fall. He should be coming late and is going to be a decent enough price.
He was eighth in the Muniz last out at Fair Grounds at 21-11. He regressed off a game effort two back in a deadheat victory in the John B. Connally G3) at Sam Houston at 1 ½ miles. He picks up Prat and his late running style fits here as he should get a sharp early pace to run at. He may need a career top to beat this classier field but worth tossing in the mix here at a decent price.