Las Vegas, NV - The Grade 3 Ben Ali Stakes comes our way from Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, Kentucky this Saturday, April 19. A group of horses four years old and upward will be after the winner's share of the $150,000 purse when they go 1 1/8 miles on Keeneland's dirt track.
A competitive field of 10 have been confirmed for the Ben Ali Stakes - race 8 on Keeneland's Saturday card. Post time is 4:42 PM. Here is a look into the past performances of all 10 combatants for this Grade 3 stakes.
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2014 Ben Ali Stakes Race Favorite Entries
Newsdad - had a win in the Grade 2 Pan American Stakes at Gulfstream March 29 for trainer Bill Mott after a seventh in an Allowance Optional Claiming March 1 an nearly a year away from the track. Before the layoff was a third in the 2013 Pan American Stakes and a terrific win on this track ahead of Nikki's Sandcastle in the Grade 2 Fayette Stakes in October 2012. He has been away from the track a fair bit the last couple of years but has two wins in four starts in his limited action. Newsdad has six wins, two seconds and six third in 23 career starts, holds the Keeneland track record over 1 1/4 miles and has been at his best in the last four starts overall. Joel Rosario will be in the saddle from the outside post Saturday.
Nikki's Sandcastle - has 38 career starts with 9 wins - the biggest coming four back in the 2013 Grade 2 Fayette Stakes at Keeneland October 26. He followed that with a respectable third behind Tetradrachm in the Grade 2 Ft. Lauderdale and has since failed to place in two starts. Last time out was a fourth in the Grade 3 Skip Away Stakes at Gulfstream March 29 after a fifth in the Grade 1 Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap February 9. Nikki's Sandcastle returns to the scene of his latest score looking to snap a three race losing streak - has two wins and a second in his last four starts on this track. Corey Lanerie has the mount from post 3.
Ben Ali Stakes 2014 | Remaining Contenders
Joha - was at his best in 2012 when he won the Grade 1 Dixiana Breeders' Futurity and finished second in the Grade 2 With Anticipation Stakes but has been just OK since. He enters off a pair of sixths - the Grade 2 Pan American Stakes at Gulfstream last time out March 29 and a disappointing sixth in the Grade 3 Canadian Turf Stakes February 22 which came after a decent third in the minor Duluth Stakes at Aqueduct November 17 and a win in the minor Basket Weave Stakes on that same track October 24. Joha hopes to regain his 2012 form Saturday and will have Javier Castellano aboard from gate 4.
Winning Cause - Todd Pletcher trained colt placed in nine of 11 starts in 2013 - the best result coming April 20 - a terrific win in the Grade 3 Lexington Stakes at Keeneland but fell off to finish tenth in the Grade 3 Ogden Phoenix Stakes at Keeneland October 4. He has runner up finishes in two of his last three starts - an Allowance last time out here April 13 and in the Grade 2 Fayette Stakes also on this track in October with a fifth in the Grade 3 Commonwealth Turf Stakes in November sandwiched in there. He also had a good second in the Grade 3 Ontario Derby at Woodbine September 15 and a pair of seconds in minor stakes action at Woodbine last year. Winning Cause has three wins and two seconds in his last six starts on this track and hopes for a similar fate this week. Joe Rocco Jr. has the mount on Winning Cause, who will break from post 6.
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Hattaash - has won two of his last three starts - an Allowance Optional Claiming at Hawthorne March 16 and another Allowance Optional Claiming in October with a seventh sandwiched in there in the Grade 2 Hawthorne Gold Cup. He has 42 career starts with 10 wins, five seconds and nine third place finishes and will be looking to hit the board for the first time in graded stakes action Saturday. Emmanuel Esquicel gets the call from post 5.
Frac Daddy - raced to a sixteenth in last year's Kentucky Derby and was fourteenth in the Belmont Stakes for trainer Kenneth McPeek but has looked much better in five starts since - two wins and two seconds. He enters this weekend off a pair of good seconds - last time out behind Red Rifle in the minor Maxxam Gold Cup at Sam Houston March 1 and in the Grade 3 Commonwealth Turf at Churchill Downs November 16. Before that was an Allowance score on this track in October. He won his only start on this track and is trending upward ahead of this weekend. Alan Garcia will ride from post 9.
Farhaan - Kiaran McLaughlin trainee enters the Ben Ali on a two race win streak - both minor stakes at Aqueduct. Last time out was in the Stymie Stakes February 22 after the Lord of the Night Stakes December 29. His only graded stakes action came in September - a sixth in the Grade 2 Bowling Green at Belmont Park. Farhaan has five wins, a second and a third place finish in 14 career starts and leaves from post 8 with Irad Ortiz aboard.
Red Rifle - Todd Pletcher trained colt has six career starts with three wins and a second place finish. Last time out was his first stakes score - the minor Maxxam Gold Cup at Sam Houston March 1 after a second in an Allowance Optional Claiming at Gulfstream in January. He has one graded stakes start under his belt - an OK fourth in the Grade 2 Hill Prince Stakes at Belmont Park in June. He looks for his second straight win Saturday with Robby Albarado in the reins from gate 7.
Norembega - Shug McGaughey trained colt has 11 career starts with three wins, three seconds and a third place finish and he has looked good lately. He enters off a pair of good seconds - the Grade 3 Skip Away Stakes last time out at Gulfstream March 29 and the Grade 3 Discovery Handicap at Aqueduct November 2. He won two of three starts before that - both Allowance races - the last coming on this track October 16. He looks for his first graded stakes win Saturday and should be competitive as per usual. Shawn Bridgmohan rides from the rail.
Stealcase - won the Grade 3 Ontario Derby in September, 2012 and has been OK in six starts since. He is coming off an Allowance Optional Claiming score at Oaklawn Park January 26 after a third in the minor Fifth Season Stakes January 11 and a fourth in an Allowance Optional Claiming in November. Stealcase's last graded stakes action came at Churchill Downs November 23, 2012 - a seventh in the Grade 1 Clark Handicap after nearly a year away. He raced six straight graded stakes in 2012 with some decent results and hopes to get on a similar streak starting Saturday. Stewart Elliot will be in the saddle from post 2.
2014 Ben Ali Stakes Entries & Odds
Race 8 on Keeneland Race Course's Saturday card with a Post Time of 4:42 PM.
|1||Norumbega||S. Bridgmohan||C. McGaughey III|
|2||Stealcase||S. Elliott||M. Casse|
|3||Nikki's Sandcastle||C. Lanerie||D. Kassen|
|4||Joha||J. Castellano||T. Albertrani|
|5||Hattaash||E. Esquivel||C. Winebaugh|
|6||Winning Cause||J. Rocco, Jr.||T. Pletcher|
|7||Red Rifle||R. Albarado||T. Pletcher|
|8||Farhaan||I. Ortiz, Jr.||K. McLaughlin|
|9||Frac Daddy||A. Garcia||K. McPeek|
|10||Newsdad||J. Rosario||W. Mott|