An impressive field of 12 older males have been entered on Friday's running of the Fifth Third Elkhorn Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Keeneland. Topping the list in the $200,000 race appears to be Pellegrino, a Brazilian-bred gelding who captured the 2004 Hollywood Turf Cup Stakes (gr. IT).
The Elkhorn Stakes, run at 1 1/2 miles, is the ninth race on the card on the closing day of Keeneland's spring meet. All horses will be evenly weighted at 118 pounds.
Bred by Haras Equilia, Pellegrino, a son of Nugget Point--Vale Mas, by Good Bloke, won the Hollywood Turf Cup in 2004 by a head over Megahertz as a 10-1 shot. Trained by Donald Burke and owned by international financer Gary Tanaka, Pellegrino will be making his 2006 debut in the Elkhorn and will break from post 3. Jockey Shaun Bridgmohan will be aboard for the race, which could break a seven-race losing streak for Pellegrino.
Another one to watch for is Augustin Stable's 10-year-old Rochester, who has had a highly seasoned career of 11 wins from 46 starts, including three grade III victories. Trained by Jonathan Sheppard, who is also a successful steeplechase conditioner, Rochester won last year's Sycamore Breeders' Cup Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Keeneland and has captured the Kentucky Cup Turf Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Kentucky Downs twice. Running third in last year's Elkhorn, this will be his fourth attempt to win the race, which is the first of his 2006 season. Rochester will be ridden by Robby Albarado and will break from post 8.
Racing most his career on the opposite coasts of New York and California, Cosmonaut goes into the Elkhorn off a 4 1/4-length victory in the Golden Gate Fields Handicap (gr. III) March 25. A 4-year-old son of Capote, bred by Patricia Pavlish and owned by Flying Zee Stable, Cosmonaut is trained by Patrick Biancone, who has won three grade III races this year with his Irish-bred Silver Cup.
With three grade III wins under his belt, Stephanie Clark's homebred Silverfoot is yet another older, proven gelding to look out for in the Elkhorn. Trained by Dallas Stewart, the son of With Approval will have a rematch with his millionaire rival Rochester, whom he beat by 6 3/4 lengths in last year's Kentucky Turf Cup Sprint (gr. IIIT). Pellegrino, who heads up the Elkhorn field, finished sixth in the race.Fifth Third Elkhorn Stakes (gr. III), $200,000, Keeneland, April 28, 4-year-olds and up, 1 1/2 miles, approx. post 5:15 p.m. EDT
PP - Horse, Jockey
1 - Gunning For, Brice Blanc
2 - Dynantonia, Javier Castellano
3 - Pellegrino, Shaun Bridgmohan
4 - Ramazutti, Christopher DeCarlo
5 - Westmoreland Road, Corey Lanerie
6 - Silverfoot, Mark Guidry
7 - Dreadnaught, Rafael Bejarano
8 - Rochester, Robby Albarado
9 - Watershed Event, Rene Douglas
10 - Cosmonaut, Julien Leparoux
11 - Dynalympic, James Graham
12 - Go Deputy, Garrett Gomez