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OffTrackBetting.com - The Grade 2 Dixiana Elkhorn Stakes will be contested this Saturday, April 23 at Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, Kentucky. Horses four years old and upward will be featured when they take to Keeneland's turf track and race 1 1/2 miles searching for the winner's share of the $250,000 purse.
A field of eight will give it a go in the Elkhorn Stakes - race 9 on Keeneland's Saturday card. Post time is 5:30 PM. Here is a peek into the past performances of all nine combatants for this Grade 2 stakes.
Kaigun 5-2 - 2014 winner of the Grade 2 Play the King Stakes at Woodbine, Mark Casse trained gelding ended 2014 with a terrific win in the Grade 2 Seabiscuit Handicap at Del Mar. He also finished second in two other Grade 1 stakes in 2014 - the Manhattan Stakes in June and in the Maker's Mile here behind Wise Dan. He has enters off a nice win in the Grade 2 Pan American Stakes at Gulfstream Park April 2 which followed four straight runner-up finishes - the Grade 2 Mac Diarmida Stakes March 5, the Grade 3 John B. Connally Turf Cup January 30 at Sam Houston, the Grade 3 WL McKnight Handicap at Gulfstream December 26 and the Grade 3 Red Smith Handicap at Aqueduct in November. Kaigun now six wins, eight seconds and three third place finishes in 27 career starts and hasn't been worse than second in his last five overall. He tries for his second straight graded stakes score with Joe Bravo in the irons of the morning line favorite from post 7.
Da Big Hoss 7-2 - has eight wins, a second and three third place finishes in 17 career starts for trainer Michael Maker and enters off a disappointing fifth in the Grade 2 Mac Diarmida Stakes at Gulfstream March 5. Before that was one of his wins - in the Grade 3 John B Connally Turf Cup at this distance at Sam Houston January 30, an OK third in the Grade 3 WL McKnight Handicap at Gulfstream Park December 26 and a sixth in the Breeders' Cup Turf. He also has a nice four race win streak last summer - in his graded stakes debut - the Grade 3 Kentucky Turf Cup at the Elkhorn distance September 14, in his stakes debut - the listed John's Call Stakes at Saratoga August 26, an Allowance Optional Claiming score in July 31 and a Claiming win in June. Da Big Hoss has won five of his last eight starts overall (three wins over Kaigun) but will be looking for a bounce back this week. Florent Geroux has the mount Saturday the rail as Da Big Hoss tries to rediscover the form he has last year.
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Up With the Birds 3-1 - Canada's 2013 Horse of the Year and Champion 3 Year Old Colt, Graham Motion trained multiple graded stakes winner looks for his first win since the Grade 2 Nijinsky Stakes at Woodbine in July, 2014. He was OK last year - six starts with a second and two third place finishes. Last time out was a disappointment however - a ninth in the Grade 2 Hollywood Turf Cup back in November which followed a good second in the Grade 1 Pattison Canadian International October 18 and consecutive fourths - the Grade 2 Commonwealth Cup in September and the Grade 1 Arlington Millions in August. Before that were two straight thirds in graded stakes company. Up With the Birds hasn't shied away from top company and has been in the mix almost every time out. He hopes to snap a nine race losing streak from gate 2 with John Velazquez aboard.
Twilight Eclipse 3-1 - is the world record holder at 1 1/2 miles on turf when he won the Grade 2 William McKnight Handicap December 28, 2013 in wire-to-wire fashion by seven lengths. He's placed in 10 of 13 races ahead of this weekend but hasn't looked great lately. Last time out was a seventh in the Grade 2 Mac Diarmida Stakes at Gulfstream March 5 which followed an eighth in November in the Breeders' Cup Turf. Before the Breeders' Cup were third place finishes in three straight races - the Grade 1 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic, the Grade 1 Sword Dancer August 29 and the Grade 1 United Nations Stakes July 5. He also had a win in the Grade 1 Man o' War Stakes May 9, a third in the Grade 2 Pan American Stakes March 28, a second in the 2015 Mac Diarmida Stakes and a third in the 2014 Breeders' Cup Turf. He now has 30 career starts with seven wins, five seconds and seven third place finishes and will be after just his second win in 24 months. Twilight Eclipse has Julien Leparoux guiding him from gate 6.
Idolo Porteno 12-1 - Argentinean bred Ignacio Correas trainee has four wins, a second and a third place finish in 11 career starts and was at his best at the end of 2014 at home when he won the Group 1 Carlos Pellegrini and the Group 1 Dardo Rocha. He has just three starts since - a fourth and a fifth in Group 1 races at home in 2015 and a respectable third last time out in his North American debut - the Grade 3 Razorback Handicap at Oaklawn Park March 19. Idolo Porteno has been in there with some good competition in the past and hopes his success from Argentina translates to his first win on 16 months. Paco Lopez will be in the saddle from gate 4 hoping to accomplish that goal.
Royal Albert Hall 15-1 - British bred Doug O'Neill trained gelding has just two wins in 17 career starts to go along with six seconds and four third place finishes. He has placed in six of his last eight starts - an Allowance Optional Claiming score last time out March 25 followed a second in a similar race March 5, an ugly thirteenth in the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby November 28, a third in the Grade 2 Twilight Derby October 24, a sixth in the Grade 3 Hill Prince Stakes October 3, a second in the Grade 2 Del Mar Derby September 6 and a third in the Grade 3 La Jolla Handicap in August. He looks for his first stakes score Saturday from post 5 with Flavien Prat in the irons.
St. Albans Boy 15-1 - has 24 career starts with just four wins and four third place finishes. He enters off on OK fourth in the Grade 2 Pan American Stakes at Gulfstream April 2 which followed a third in the minor H. Allen Jerkens Stakes January 31, a fourth in the Grade 3 WL McKnight Handicap December 26, a seventh in the Grade 3 Red Smith Handicap November 14, a good win in the minor Laurel Turf Cup October 31, a decent third in the Grade 3 Sycamore Stakes October 15 and a fourth in the Grade 3 Kentucky Turf Cup in September. St. Albans Boy hopes for his first graded stakes score Saturday and enters having failed to place in three of his last four starts. James Graham is scheduled to ride from the outside gate 8.
A Red Tie Day 20-1 - lightly raced Richard Baltas trainee has three wins and four third place finishes in 12 career starts. He makes his stakes debut Saturday off an Allowance Optional Claiming score at Santa Anita March 3, an eighth in a similar race February 7 and 16 months away from the track. He also had a two race win streak against lesser competition in June, 2014. A Red Tie Day steps up in OK form but looks as though he's be in over his head in this one. Gary Stevens has been tabbed to ride from post 3.
Race 9 on Keeneland's Saturday card with a Post Time of 5:30 PM.
|1||Da Big Hoss||7-2||Florent Geroux||Michael Maker|
|2||Up With the Birds||3-1||John Velazquez||H. Motion|
|3||A Red Tie Day||20-1||Gary Stevens||Richard Baltas|
|4||Idolo Porteno (ARG)||12-1||Paco Lopez||Ignacio Correas, IV|
|5||Royal Albert Hall (GB)||15-1||Flavien Prat||Doug O'Neill|
|6||Twilight Eclipse||3-1||Julien Leparoux||Thomas Albertrani|
|7||Kaigun||5-2||Joe Bravo||Mark Casse|
|8||St. Albans Boy||15-1||James Graham||Kelly Rubley|