OTB Race Previews
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Las Vegas, NV - The Grade 2 Dixiana Elkhorn Stakes will take place at Keeneland in Lexington, Kentucky this Saturday, April 18. Horses four years old and upward will be after the winner's share of the $250,000 purse when they go 1 1/2 miles in Keeneland's turf track.
11 older entries will take to the track in the Elkhorn - race 9 on Keeneland's Saturday schedule. Post time is 5:13PM. Let's take a look into the past performances of all 11 entries for this Grade 2 stakes.
Unitarian - defending champion in this race - Todd Pletcher pupil hadn't looked great after her Elkhorn score before a nice win last time out in the minor H. Allen Jerkens Stakes at Gulfstream Park January 31. Sandwiched between the wins were three off-the-board finishes - a fourth in the Grade 3 WL McKnight Handicap in December, a fourth in the Grade 3 Red Smith Handicap in November and a fifth in the Grade 3 Sycamore Stakes here in October. Unitarian has 19 career starts with five wins, three seconds and four third place finishes and should be in the mix Saturday after regaining some confidence last time out. Javier Castellano has the mount from gate 4.
Holiday Star - H Graham Motion trained gelding has 14 career starts with four wins, two seconds and two third place finishes. He has two wins, two seconds and third in his last six starts overall but is coming off an eighth in the Grade 2 Hollywood Turf Cup in November. Before that result was an impressive win in the Grade 3 Sycamore Stakes at Keeneland October 16 and consecutive seconds - the listed PTHA President's Cup Stakes at Parx September 13 and the restricted John's Call Stakes August 6. Holiday Star had looked good in the fall of last year and hopes to rebound from an uncharacteristic performance last time out when she leaves from gate 6 with Rajiv Maragh aboard.
Biz The Nurse - Thomas Albertrani trainee has placed in 11 of 12 career starts - six wins, three seconds and a third place finish. He looked good in Italy before shipping in winning a Group 1 and two Group 2 races and placing in five other stakes and he did win an Allowance Optional Claiming in his only North American start at Gulfstream March 7. Translation - this horse can race and he excels at the longer distances. Biz The Nurse will be after his first North American stakes score when he leaves from gate 2 with Luis Saez in the irons.
Optimizer - was last seen running seventh in the Grade 1 Shadwell Turf Mile here in October which followed a good second in the Grade 2 Bernard Baruch Handicap at Saratoga August 30, a twelfth in the 2014 Grade 2 Elkhorn Stakes on April 25, a ninth in the Grade 1 Frank E. Kilroe Mile in March and seven months away. In 2013 he won the Grade 2 Colonel E.R. Bradley Handicap and the Grade 3 Fair Grounds Handicap February 23 to go along with a second in the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic at Churchill Downs May 4 - beaten by Wise Dan. Other results include a third in the Grade 2 Dixie Stakes at Pimlico May 18 and a second in the Grade 1 Manhattan Handicap June 8. Optimizer looks for his first win since February, 2013 and seemed to snap his 2014 slump two back but still enters in sketchy form. He departs from gate 8 with Corey Lanerie guiding him.
My Afleet - has three wins, two seconds and a third place finish in nine career starts and enters on a two race win streak - the minor Dueling Grounds Derby at Kentucky Downs in September and an Allowance at Saratoga in August. The wins followed a second and a third respectively in a pair of Allowance races last summer. My Afleet makes his graded stakes debut in good form but hits the track for the first time in seven months Saturday. Joe Rocco rides from post 3.
Java's War - Roger Attfield trainee won the Grade 1 Blue Grass Stakes at this time last year and finished second in the Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby so we know that he has the speed to contend. Java's War has failed to place in his last five starts however including a thirteenth in the 2014 Kentucky Derby and is coming off an eighth in the minor Challenger Stakes March 7, a ninth in an Allowance January 16, an eighth in the Grade 2 Pennsylvania Derby and a fourth in the Grade 2 Swaps Stakes. He looks to place for the first time since his Blue Grass Stakes a year ago when he leaves from post 7 with James Graham in the saddle.
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Aldous Snow - Malcolm Pierce trainee enters off a disappointing eleventh in the Grade 3 River City Handicap at Churchill Downs November 8 which followed a sixth in the Grade 1 Northern Dancer Turf in September, a sixth in the Grade 2 Sky Classic Stakes August 16 and a two race win streak - the Grade 3 Singspiel Stakes July 6 and an Allowance Optional Claiming in June. Aldous Snow has 23 career starts with four wins, five seconds and two third place finishes but has failed to place in his last three starts overall. He hopes to bounce back from three ugly efforts with Jose Lezcano in the reins from post 9.
Cary Street - had 10 starts last year with three wins, two seconds and three third place finishes. He enters his 2015 debut off a disappointing ninth in the Grade 2 Hawthorne Gold Cup here November 9 and wins in two of his three previous starts -. Two starts back was one of those wins - the Grade 2 Las Vegas Marathon at Santa Anita October 31 and the other came four back in the Grade 3 Greenwood Cup at Parx. He also had a third in the minor Temperance Hill Stakes behind Ever Rider sandwiched in there. Cary Street has placed in six of his last seven starts overall and will be eager to avenge an ugly outing last time out. Paco Lopez gets the call from post 5.
Dynamic Sky - Canadian bred Mark Casse trained colt looked very good early in his career - highlighted by a second in the Grade 1 Dixiana Breeders' Futurity at Keeneland in October, 2012. He went on to a sixth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, a win in the minor Pasco Stakes and a good second in the Grade 3 Sam F. Davis Stakes in February 2013. He has been OK since. Last time out was a sixth in the competitive Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap March 7 after a fifth in the Grade 2 San Marcos Stakes February 7, a sixth in the Grade 2 San Gabriel Stakes here January 3, a good win in the Grade 3 Red Smith Handicap at Aqueduct November 15, a solid third in the Grade 1 Pattison Canadian International October 19 and a second in the Grade 1 Northern Dancer Turf Stakes September 14. Dynamic Sky has placed in six of his last 10 starts but has failed to place in his last three. Julien Leparoux has been tabbed to get Dynamic Sky back on track from gate 10.
Dramedy - has 14 career starts with three wins, two seconds and a third place finish. He made his graded stakes debut in November and finished seventh in the Grade 3 River City Handicap and has placed in just one of four starts since - an Allowance Optional Claiming score three starts back at Tampa Bay in February. He has failed to place in two starts since however - a fourth last time out in the Grade 3 Appleton Stakes at Gulfstream March 28 followed a sixth in the minor Challenger Stakes at Tampa Bay March 7. He hopes to place in stakes company for the first time in his fourth try -from the rail with Joe Bravo in the reins.
Xtra Luck - Neil Howard trained gelding has 18 career starts with just two wins, three seconds and three third place finishes. He races in stakes company for the first time since February, 2014 - a fourteenth place finish in the Grade 2 Risen Star Stakes but has placed in his last two starts overall. Last time out was an Allowance score March 28 at Fair Grounds after a third in a similar race on that same track February 7. Xtra Luck looks to be in over his head Saturday when he leaves from the outside post with Brian Joseph Hernandez aboard.
Race 9 on Keeneland's Saturday card with a Post Time of 5:13 PM.
|1||Dramedy||J. Bravo||G. Aschinger|
|2||Biz The Nurse (IRE)||L. Saez||T. Albertrani|
|3||My Afleet||J. Rocco, Jr.||J. Lawrence, II|
|4||Unitarian||J. Castellano||T. Pletcher|
|5||Cary Street||P. Lopez||B. Walsh|
|6||Holiday Star||R. Maragh||H. Motion|
|7||Java's War||J. Graham||R. Attfield|
|8||Optimizer||C. Lanerie||J. Fernandez|
|9||Aldous Snow||J. Lezcano||M. Pierce|
|10||Dynamic Sky||J. Leparoux||M. Casse|
|11||Xtra Luck||B. Hernandez, Jr.||N. Howard|
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