Winner of the Aug. 26 Del Mar Handicap (gr. IIT) in his last start for trainer John Shirreffs, the 4-year-old son of Storm Cat has not run in New York since taking the Hall of Fame Breeders Cup (gr. IIT) at Saratoga in 2006, but is 2-for-2 at Belmont Park. His challenge will be shortening up to the mile distance and carrying the heavy weight of 124 pounds under Alex Solis, spotting between seven and 12 pounds to his rivals.
Jim Scatuorchio’s Icy Atlantic is also fresh off a win, the Sept. 1 Red Bank Stakes (gr. IIIT) going a mile at Monmouth Park. However, before that start the 6-year-old son of Stormy Atlantic had not won a race for trainer Todd Pletcher since the April 7 Arcadia Handicap (gr. IIT) at Santa Anita.
Stepping up to face older horses in a stakes race for the first time is Lazy F Ranch’s English Colony. The Rock of Gibraltar ridgling has won all but one career start at various distances from five to seven furlongs on the grass, including two overnight stakes at Belmont.
“This is going to be a big jump for him,” said trainer Angel Penna Jr. “He’ll be running against better horses than he did in his races against 3-year-olds. Before the last race, I didn’t think he could go a mile, but after the way he won going seven furlongs, I think a mile will be okay for him, as long as it’s not around two turns. At one turn, it’s a long sprint.”
Also stepping up to face older horses in the Kelso is Jayeff B Stable’s Strike a Deal, who has never been beaten more than 1 1/4 lengths in seven turf tries. The Smart Strike colt claimed his last victory in a May 23 overnight stakes at Belmont going one mile.
Juddmonte Farms’ Art Master already has a stakes win at the distance over the Widener Turf Course after taking the Poker Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Belmont this summer. More recently, the 6-year-old son of Royal Academywas a disappointing ninth in the Woodbine Mile.
Adding an international flavor to the Kelso is the French-based Kavafi (IRE), by Zafonic, who won the Aug. 26 Prix Quincey (Fra-III) at Deauville in his last start for trainer Carlos Laffon-Parias.
Palace Episode, Jet Propulsion, Trippi’s Storm, Got the Last Laugh, and Woodlander round out the field.
$250,000 Kelso Handicap (gr. IIT, race 9, 5:12 p.m.), 3 years and up, 1 mile (Turf)
PP, Horse, Weight, Jockey
1.Palace Episode (KY), 116, Jean-Luc Samyn
2. Jet Propulsion (FL), 116, Eduardo Nunez
3. Kavafi (IRE), 116, Eibar Coa
4. English Colony (GB), 113, Cornelio Velasquez
5. After Market (KY), 124, Alex Solis
6. Trippi's Storm (FL), 115, Javier Castellano
7. Strike a Deal (KY), 114, Ramon Dominguez
8. Icy Atlantic (FL), 117, John Velazquez
9. Got the Last Laugh (KY), 112, Kent Desormeaux
10. Woodlander (KY), 114, Eddie Castro
11. Art Master (KY), 117, Garrett Gomez