Kim Loves Bucky, a 12-1 shot, upset grade I winner and 8-5 favorite Cetewayo to take Wednesday's $150,000 Elkhorn Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Keeneland. The winner, billed at 20-1 on the morning line, is owned by Kim Glenney and trained by her husband, John. He is their first stakes winner.
Trainer Christophe Clement's entry Craigsteel, led the field of 10 horses as they made their first lap around Keeneland's turf in the 1 1/2-mile race. Craigsteel, with Jose Santos aboard, recorded fractions of :26.11 for the first quarter mile, :51.93 for the half, 1:18.25 for six furlongs, and 1:44.19 for the mile. After the group passed the finish line for the first time, Cetewayo moved up gradually, as Craigsteel, followed by Kim Loves Bucky, continued to lead through the backstretch.
Entering the final turn, Kim Loves Bucky accelerated to eventually pass Craigsteel and with a quarter-mile to go, had a two-length advantage over Rochester. He was clocked at 2:09.31 for the distance. Rochester, who was fourth in the early going, kept moving forward, but neither he, nor Cetewayo, now in third, could catch the leader. Rochester stayed up for the place, with Cetewayo getting the show. Kim Loves Bucky finished the 12 furlongs in 2:32.49 and paid $26.80, $10, and $5. The 8-9 exacta returned $242.50 and the 8-9-5 trifecta paid $752.40.
"He was rating nicely, a few lengths behind," said winning rider Jorge Chavez. "When I couldn't hold him anymore, I let him go. He ran a great race."
The first and second-place finishers are both by Green Dancer (by Nijinsky II). George Strawbridge Jr. bred and owns Rochester, winner of last year's Sycamore Breeders' Cup Stakes at Keeneland. In his last out, Cetewayo finished second in the March 23 Pan American Handicap (gr. IIT), also run at 12 furlongs.
Profit Option finished fourth, a half-length behind Cetewayo. Full of Woner, Classic Par, Seattle Night, Lodge Hill, Craigsteel, and Bourbon Boogie completed the order of finish.
The Glenneys bred Kim Loves Bucky in Kentucky from the Great Above mare Moondust Mink. The only other stakes win by Kim Loves Bucky was in last year's Let It Ride.com Stakes at Del Mar. In his last start, a 1 1/2-mile allowance at Keeneland on April 6, the gelding was fifth. Kim Loves Bucky earned $93,000 for the win, his fourth in 16 starts.
"He's all heart," Glenney said. "Nothing tops this. He got a great ride." (Chart, Equibase