Elkhorn Stakes at Keeneland Race Course

Dave Bond | OTB Writer

Las Vegas, NV - For the fourth week in a row, Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, Kentucky will host some graded stakes action. This Friday, April 26 horses four years old and upward will be featured in the Grade 2 Elkhorn Stakes - a one mile turf race with a purse of $150,000.

The Elkhorn has attracted a field of 11 for race 9 on Keeneland's Friday card. Post time is 5:13 PM. Here is a brief glance into the past performances of all 11 combatants for this Grade 2 stakes.

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2013 Elkhorn Stakes Race Favorites

Pool Play - is a multiple graded stakes winner who finished third in the Washington Park Handicap September 1 and followed that up with an impressive score in the Grade 2 Hawthorne Gold Cup October 6. He was an eighth in the Breeders' Cup Classic but followed that with a very good second in the Grade 3 Hal's Hope behind Csaba at Gulfstream January 13. Last time out was a letdown however - a sixth in the Grade 1 Donn Handicap February 9. Pool Play has 35 career starts with seven wins, seven seconds (one coming in the 2011 version of this race behind Muskatier) and six third place finishes and has some big wins under his belt.

Al Qasr - last year's Horse of the Year in Peru made his North American debut last time out in the Grade 3 Skip Away Stakes at Gulfstream March 20 and finished sixth. He won the Grade 1 25 de Mayo Stakes at San Isidro and then endured a 10 month layoff before that debut. He has eight wins, a second and a third place finish in 13 career starts and has shown in the past that he can handle this distance.

Elkhorn Stakes 2013 | Remaining Field Entries

Ioya Bigtime - started 2012 off slowly but enters the Elkhorn having placed in six of his last seven starts - a win in the Grade 3 Stars and Stripes Stakes at Arlington Park on July 14, a second in the American St. Leger Stakes in August, a win at the Grade 3 Kentucky Turf Cup September 14, a second in the Grade 2 Sycamore Stakes at Keeneland in October, an OK third in the Mac Diarmida behind Teaks North and Amira's Prince in February and a nice second last time out in the Grade 2 Pan American Stakes at Gulfstream March 23. He has been knocking on the door - Friday just may be his day.

Al Khali - had a pair of good seconds in the summer - in the Grade 1 Northern Dancer Turf Stakes at Woodbine in September and in the Grade 1 Sword Dancer at Saratoga August 18 to follow a decent third in the Grade 1 United Nations. He was out of action nearly six months and returned in March to an Allowance score at Tampa Bay Downs but followed that with a disappointing fifth last time out in an Allowance here April 6.

Reflecting - Claude McGaughey trained colt has 10 career starts with three wins and two second place finishes. Friday marks his stakes debut after two straight wins this year - an Allowance score last time out here April 11 and an Allowance Optional Claiming win January 31 at Gulfstream.

Elkhorn Stakes betting at Keeneland Race Course with OffTrackBetting.com

Forte Dei Marmi - had a pair of thirds this past winter - the Grade 1 Pattison International in October and in the Grade 1 Northern Dancer behind Wigmore Hall and Al Khali to follow an impressive win in the Grade 2 Sky Classic Stakes on August 19. He hasn't been the same since however - an eighth in the Grade 2 W.L. McKnight Handicap in November was followed by a distant seventh in his only start of 2013 - an Allowance here April 6. Forte Dei Marmi has been a tad inconsistent to say the least and is currently not in the best of form.

Sky Blazer - Barclay Tagg gelding was an OK third in the Grade 2 Bernard Baruch at Saratoga September 1 after a sixth in the Grade 1 Arlington Millions. He also had a pair of Allowance Optional Claiming scores to his credit but has struggled in his last three starts overall. He had a sixth in the Grade 3 Knickerbocker in October, an eighth in the Grade 2 Ft. Lauderdale at Gulfstream January 12 and was fourth last time out in an Allowance here April 6.

Side Road - has raced just one graded stakes race for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin - a ninth in last year's Grade 3 Gotham Stakes. Since then he has concentrated on Allowance Optional Claiming races. Four straight starts at Gulfstream produced a win last time out March 30, a second February 17, a fifth and a seventh place finish. He also has a MSW score among his nine career starts.

Macho Bull - raced to a sixth last time out in an Allowance here April 13 after a third place finish in an Allowance Optional Claiming at Fair Grounds March 2. He started his year with an Allowance Optional Claiming score January 27 and followed that with a second in a similar race in February. He raced the Grade 3 Mineshaft Handicap February 23 and finished sixth in his only graded stakes action since July.

Dark Cove - Michael Maker pupil last took part in graded stakes action in the summer of 2011 where he finished sixth in three straight races. This year he has three Claiming starts with a win two back at Gulfstream February 10 and a second place finish last time out March 7 also at Gulfstream.

Heliocopter - has 62 career starts with 20 wins, 10 seconds and 6 third place finishes but has yet to see any stakes action. He has four straight Claiming starts ahead of the Elkhorn with an eighth, two sixth place finishes and a fifth last time out April 2 at Beulah Park.

2013 Elkhorn Stakes Entries & Odds

Race 9 on Keeneland Race Course's Friday card with a Post Time of 5:13 PM.

Entry Horse Jockey Trainer ML Odds
1 Sky Blazer R. Napravnik B. Tagg
2 Al Qasr E. Prado J. Garoffalo
3 Side Road G. Stevens K. McLaughlin
4 Helicopter A. Cox W. Rice
5 Reflecting R. Albarado C. McGaughey III
6 Dark Cove J. Rosario M. Maker
7 Macho Bull B. Hernandez, Jr. G. Dorochenko
8 Ioya Bigtime J. Sanchez C. Block
9 Pool Play M. Mena M. Casse
10 Forte Dei Marmi (GB) J. Leparoux R. Attfield
11 Al Khali G. Gomez W. Mott