(Edited press release)
Last year’s Belmont Stakes (gr. I) winner Jazil is scheduled to make his turf debut against several accomplished grass runners in the April 27 Fifth Third Elkhorn (gr. IIIT) stakes on closing day of the Keeneland spring meet. Other top contenders are Ramazutti and last year's Elkhorn winner Pellegrino.
The 4-year-old son of Seeking the Gold, who finished second in both of his previous two races this year, drew the outside 12 post for the 1 1/2-mile turf race. Kiaran McLaughlin trains Jazil, who will be ridden by Fernando Jara, for Shadwell Stable.
Jazil was entered in a 1 1/8-mile allowance race on Keeneland’s turf course April 13, but his connections deemed that race too close to the Elkhorn. The colt instead worked the next morning, breezing four furlongs in :52.
The 120-pound highweight for the Elkhorn is Anstu Stables' Ramazutti, trained by Todd Pletcher, and ridden by John Velazquez. Ramazutti won the Mac Diarmida Handicap (gr. IIT) at Gulfstream Park in January, then finished behind winner Jambalaya in his next two races, the Gulfstream Park Breeders’ Cup Turf Stakes (gr. 1T) in February and the Pan American Handicap (gr. IIIT) in March. The five-year-old gelding was sixth in last year’s Elkhorn behind winner Pellegrino.
Gary Tanaka’s Pellegrino, who won the 2004 Hollywood Turf Cup Stakes (gr. I), returns to the Elkhorn after opening his 2007 campaign at Keeneland April 7. The 8-year-old horse finished sixth in that race, a 1 1/8-mile allowance race on turf for trainer Roger Attfield.
Fifth Third Elkhorn (gr. IIIT), $200,000, Keeneland, April 27, 1 1/2 miles
Horse, Jockey, Weight
Bee Charmer, Edgar Prado, 118
Drilling for Oil, Robby Albarado, 118
Cloudy’s Knight, Julien Leparoux, 118
Always First, Garrett Gomez, 118
Hard Deck, Javier Castellano, 118
Ramazutti, John Velazquez, 120
Transduction Gold, Kent Desormeaux, 118
Ascertain, Jamie Theriot, 118
Last Answer, Emile Ramsammy, 118
Spider Power, Rafael Bejarano, 118
Pellegrino, Shaun Bridgmohan, 118
Jazil, Fernando Jara, 118
*The race has one also-eligible: Fri Guy, Garrett Gomez, 118