Bama Breeze is the 2022 Elkhorn Stakes Value Play

Profile Picture: John Mucciolo

April 21st, 2022

A sharp field of nine turf stayers will travel 1 1/2 miles on the Keeneland turf in Saturday’s $350,000 Elkhorn S. (G2). The grassy attraction sports numerous high class runners in what appears to be a wide open betting endeavor.

I will swing for the fences with my value play, #8 Bama Breeze (12-1). Trained by Rusty Arnold, the five-year-old gelding was unplaced in his seasonal bow but will surely improve over a surface that is more conducive to his running style.

The lightly raced son of Honor Code has shown improvement since adding blinkers a few races back, and it was his performance on the course last campaign that has me intrigued by him. The dark bay made a big middle move into a moderate pace in the Sycamore S. (G3) in October before ultimately finishing fourth, and the five-year-old will receive a more favorable set up on Saturday.

Bama Breeze has been mostly steady in his morning activity since the start of the year, and he seems poised to put in a fine late run at a huge number under Corey Lanerie. I don’t love his chances of winning, but the one-run closer should have a lot of tired legs to run at inside the final furlong in this spot.

#4 Phantom Currency (4-1) prepped for this with a wire-to-wire score in the Appleton S. (G3) at Gulfstream Park going one mile while showing his versatility for conditioner Brian Lynch. The Grade-2 winning Goldencents gelding looms large with a forward move in his second appearance off a 13-month absence, and I think that he is the speed-of-the-speed under Irad Ortiz.

Grade 2 victor #1 Bemma’s Boy (5-1) shows a pair of solid prep races at 1 1/16 miles in advance of Saturday and also received a fine rail draw. The Mike Maker pupil is a very good stayer who romped in his lone local showing, and the tactical sort might sit a dream trip just off the pace to the top of the lane under Umberto Rispoli.

Grade 1 heroes #3 Two Emmys (7-2) and #5 Channel Maker (2-1) are very obvious inclusions in the field as well. But each of the major contenders prefer to run on the front end and could be compromised by a sharp and contested early tempo.

Elkhorn Value Plays

  • $6 win/place/show #8 Bama Breeze ($18)
  • 50-cent superfecta 4, 8 with 4, 8 with 1, 3, 5 with all ($18)
  • $2 exacta box 1, 4, 8 ($12)
  • $2 trifecta box 1, 4, 8 ($12)
  • $2 exacta key box 8 with 3, 5 ($8)