Fred Bradley’s homebred Brass Hat will make the 24th start of his career in the $200,000 Fifth Third Elkhorn Stakes (gr. IIT) at Keeneland April 25, but he’ll be up against a field of established turf contenders like morning line favorite Stream of Gold, second choice True Cause, Drilling for Oil, Dancing Forever, and Transduction Gold.
The 1 1/2-mile Elkhorn, the final stakes race at Keeneland on the spring meet’s closing day, has drawn a full field of 12 plus an also-eligible runner, Gestut Ittlingen’s homebred Lauro, who looks to make his first start in the U.S. and initial start for trainer Andreas Wohler, after racing to three victories in Germany.
In deep, Brass Hat will have to improve on his most recent performance, a fourth-place finish in the New Orleans Handicap (gr. II) behind Circular Quay, Grasshopper, and Reporting for Duty. With his most recent win coming in the Sept. 22 Massachusetts Handicap, the 7-year-old Prized gelding hasn’t started on the turf since November 2005. His only attempt on the Keeneland grass course goes back further—to the fourth start of his career, when he was second in the 2004 editon of the Forerunner Stakes.
“We had talked about getting him back on the grass at some point, and we were gonna go to Oaklawn, but he ran such a flat race in New Orleans, and his blood came back really low,” said trainer William “Buff” Bradley. “We just spent some time regrouping and trying to get ready for this race; he’s run good on grass before, so maybe he’ll like a surface switch.”
Zabeel Racing International’s Stream of Gold is 5-2 on the morning line and carries the high weight of 122 after winning Gulfstream Park’s March 16 Mac Diarmida Handicap (gr. IIT) in a record-setting 2:10.87 for 1 3/8 miles. The 7-year-old Rainbow Quest gelding, bred in Ireland by Ballymacoll Stud Farm, has yet to finish worse than fourth in six races in the U.S. for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin. He owns a 4-5-2 record from 19 career starts.
Stream of Gold denied Godolphin Racing’s True Cause of the Mac Diarmida victory by just a neck, and the 5-year-old Darley-bred son of Storm Catwill run in the Elkhorn while attempting to reverse that order. In 13 starts on the turf for trainer Saeed bin Suroor, True Cause has a 3-5-2 record.
Third in the Mac Diarmida after leading at the head of the stretch was Joseph Joyce’s Cougar Bay. The 5-year-old Daylami gelding, bred in Ireland by Citadel Stud, lost that race by one length after being out-finished by the top two. Prior to that start, he had run fourth in the Gulfstream Park Turf (gr. IT).
The Feb. 23 Gulfstream Park Turf was a race just missed by Dancing Forever, who conceded the victory by a neck to Einstein after making a big move from the back of the pack. The 5-year-old Rahyhorse, bred in Kentucky by Phipps Stable, has a 3-6-2 record from 17 starts for trainer Shug McGaughey.
Bruce Lunsford and Lansdon Robbins' Drilling for Oil, meanwhile, ran against a different crowd April 5 when he tackled the Pan American Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Gulfstream. His runner-up effort to Presious Passion in that race was preceded by a fifth-place finish behind Stream of Gold and others in the Mac Diarmida for trainer Kenny McPeek.
Also one worth watching is Transduction Gold, a 5-year-old Formal Gold gelding who returns from a layoff following an eighth-place finish in the John Deere Breeders’ Cup Turf (gr. IT) at Monmouth Park Oct. 27. Trainer John Glenney, who is co-owner and co-breeder, will saddle Transduction Gold, whose last win came at Keeneland in the Oct. 5 Sycamore Stakes (gr. IIIT).
$200,000 Fifth Third Elkhorn Stakes (gr. II, race 9, approximate post 5:10 p.m. EDT), 1 1/2 miles for older horses, turf
PP, Horse, Weight, Jockey, Morning Line Odds
1. French Vintage, 118, Edgar Prado, 12-1
2.Stream of Gold, 122, Eddie Castro, 5-2
3. Embossed, 118, Robby Albarado, 20-1
4.Pellegrino, 118. Jesus Lopez Castanon, 20-1
5. Dancing Forever, 118, Rene Douglas, 5-1
6. True Cause, 118, John Velazquez, 7-2
7. Brass Hat, 118, Willie Martinez, 15-1
8. Transduction Gold, 120, James Graham, 15-1
9. Bee Charmer, 118, Shaun Bridgmohan, 15-1
10. Silverfoot, 118, Jamie Theriot, 12-1
11. Drilling for Oil, 120, Kent Desormeaux, 8-1
12. Cougar Bay, 118, Eibar Coa, 10-1
AE. Lauro, 118, Eduardo Pedroza, 15-1