Nine-year-old Musketier defended his title in the $150,000 Elkhorn (gr. IIT) (VIDEO), as he rallied from off the pace to score by 1 1/4 lengths in the closing day feature April 29 at Keeneland.
With John Velazquez aboard for trainer Roger Attfield, Musketier bagged his first win of the season after hitting the board in a pair of graded stakes in Florida over the winter. The German-bred son of Acatenango covered 1 1/2 miles on the yielding turf course in 2:32.04.
Trained by Roger Attfield for Stella Perdomo, Musketier won for the eighth time in 38 career starts. He won last year’s Elkhorn, also with Velazquez aboard, by 1 3/4 lengths. He was runner-up in 2009.
"He's a wonderful old guy, isn't he? You look after them and keep them happy, they usually give you everything they've got, and he certainly does," Attfield said."
, who defeated Musketier by less than a length in the March 26 Pan American (gr. IIIT) last out, set easy fractions in the Elkhorn under Emma-Jayne Wilson, taking the field around in splits of: 25.67, :51.35, 1:16.79, and 1:42.42. The Crown Attorney gelding came off the third turn still in front, though a wall of horses was getting ready to make their charges.
Rallying from near the back, Pool Play
and Julien Leparoux were the first to make a threatening stretch bid, but after angling out wide and splitting horses in upper stretch, Musketier passed everyone late to win convincingly. Pool Play settled for second, one length in front of Windward Islands
, who was a neck better than Simmard. Rahy’s Attorney tired to finish fifth.
"I knew he has that kick," Velazquez. "He won here last year, so I was hoping that when I pulled him out he would respond in just the same way, and he did. I was very proud of the way he did it."
Musketier captured his fourth group/graded stakes win. He began his career racing in France before shipping to the United States in the winter of 2007. He has now earned $771,430.
The winner was bred by Gestut Gorlsdorf and is out of the Linamix mare Myth and Reality.
Sent off as the favorite, Musketier paid $6.60, $4, and $3. The exacta (11-4) returned $64.60 and the trifecta (11-4-6) was worth $402.40.
A crowd of 20,795 came out on a sunny, crisp afternoon at Keeneland.