The $150,000 Elkhorn Stakes (gr. IIIT) on Wednesday at Keeneland boasts a field of many of the nation's top turf marathoners set to square off at 12-furlongs on the Central Kentucky oval.
Mansell Stable's Quest Star will draw a lot of attention by virtue of his recent Pan American Handicap victory at Gulfstream Park. Paired with arguably the hottest jockey on the grounds in Edgar Prado, the Elliott Walden trainee has the tactical speed to get a good position early, which is so crucial in a three-turn race.
Owned and trained by Rick Violette, Man From Wicklow has been on the board in his last seven races. He captured the Gulfstream Park Breeders' Cup Handicap in February and then finished second to Quest Star in the Pan American. Hall of Fame jockey Jerry Bailey has been his regular rider of late and will take the reins again on Wednesday.
Niagara Falls Breeders' Cup Handicap winner Full of Wonder had a solid prep race at the Fair Grounds after taking the winter off. The Sam-Son Farm colorbearer should be set to run a smasher with that race under his girth. Jockey Frank Lovato, Jr. will get a leg-up from trainer Mark Frostad.
Last year's Elkhorn winner, Kim Loves Bucky, returns to defend his crown. Unraced since Keeneland's fall meeting, the son of Green Dancer posted an excellent six-furlong drill on the main track recently. Kent Desormeaux will don the distinctive purple and green blocks of owner Kim Glenney and her trainer husband, John.
Augustin Stable's Rochester is no stranger to the Keeneland winners' circle. The Jonathan Sheppard trainee's most recent stakes score came in the Sycamore Breeders' Cup, defending his championship, during last fall's meeting. Pat Day, who seems to get the best efforts from the Pennsylvania homebred, will be in the saddle.
The Elkhorn field from the rail out: Quest Star (Prado), Muntej (Calvin Borel), Mystery Giver (Robby Albarado), Gritty Sandie (Cornelio Velasquez), Williams News (Brice Blanc), Candid Glen (Elvis Perrodin), Kim Loves Bucky (Desormeaux), Rochester (Day), Man From Wicklow (Bailey), Full of Wonder (Lovato, Jr.), Macaw (Mark Guidry) and Dr. Brendler (Larry Melancon).