Race Preview: Elkhorn Stakes - Keeneland, April 25, 2013

Matt Carter

April 26th, 2013


photo: Matt Carter

Friday is closing day at Keeneland and with that comes the traditional closing day feature, the Grade 2 Elkhorn Stakes.  The marathon 12-furlong race drew a field of 11; let's take a look.

The principles in the race are all drawn outside and right next to each other in posts eight through 11.  The race starts halfway around the backstretch, so the outside posts may contribute to some ground lost. 

Ioya Bigtime is the 3-1 morning line favorite, a designation likely due to the field and because the six-year-old horse had not won since September 2012, five races ago.  The positives are he is making his third start off the layoff and his last two wins have been at 12 furlongs.

Pool Play is an interesting runner and for some reason is 4-1 on the morning line.  He may win, but he is winless in eight starts on the turf and his biggest wins, a Grade 1 and Grade 2, were both on the dirt.  He should be well over his morning line when the gates open.

Forte Dei Marmi has not won since the Grade 2 Sky Classic over the turf at Woodbine last September and has not beat a runner home in his last two starts.  Julien Leparoux is in the irons and the seven-year-old gelding has a win over the Keeneland turf; those are the positives.

Al Khali will win every horse beauty pageant if there was such a thing.  He is a fine equine specimen; too bad that hasn't carried over to him visiting the winner's circle more times than not in his career.  The son of Medaglia d'Oro always seems to find one better.

The two upsetters are Sky Blazer and Reflecting, both drew better than their rivals in posts one and five.  Sky Blazer stretches out after a good finish in a nine-furlong race while Reflecting just easily dispatched of allowance foes over the course two weeks ago.  Reflecting gets the acid test on Friday, but trainer Shug McGaughey is hitting on all cylinders and Reflecting is on his game.

The Bewitch turned into a bomber of a race, can the Elkhorn do the same Friday?

As always, first post at Keeneland is 1:05 and the Elkhorn is scheduled to break from the gate at 5:13.