Itsinthepost wins the San Luis Rey Stakes at Santa Anita Park

Itsinthepost wins the San Luis Rey Stakes at Santa Anita Park

Benoit Photo

Itsinthepost Aims to Keep Momentum Rolling in Elkhorn

Veteran gelding has won three straight graded stakes races.

When Jeff Mullins took over the training of Itsinthepost in the spring of 2016, conventional wisdom would not have suggested the gelding's best days were ahead of him.

A useful runner for his previous conditioner, Darrell Vienna, Itsinthepost seemingly had a clear niche—one that involved him being a fixture in the allowance ranks and picking up steady paychecks. And in his first six outings under Mullins' care, the son of American Post stuck to that script.

At the start of 2017, however, Mullins opted to see if Itsinthepost could hold his own if thrown into the waters of graded stakes company. The veteran gelding responded by constructing an entirely new narrative for himself, one that now involves him being a dominant figure in the marathon turf ranks.

Having started his 6-year-old campaign with three consecutive graded stakes wins, Itsinthepost will look to keep his momentum rolling April 21 when he faces 11 others in the $250,000 Dixiana Elkhorn Stakes (G2T) over 1 1/2 miles at Keeneland.

Since finishing second in the 2017 San Gabriel Stakes (G3T), Itsinthepost has raced exclusively in graded company, racking up six victories, including four of his last five. After capturing this year's San Gabriel in his season debut, the French-bred bay gelding went on to annex the Feb. 3 San Marco Stakes (G2T) and the March 24 San Luis Rey Stakes (G2T), besting fellow Elkhorn entrant Hayabusa One in those last two efforts.

"This horse, I don't think his career really got started until last year," Mullins said. "He's just starting to come into his own right now. He likes his job, and he's doing really good right now. He's a warrior, and he just fights to win."

Mullins laughs that it's not hard to map out a schedule for Itsinthepost because "there are not that many choices" when it comes to finding distance races on the turf. Given how well the gelding handled a soggy Keeneland course when he won the Elkhorn by 1 1/4 lengths last April, coming back to this year's test under what figures to be more ideal conditions was an easy call.

"He liked (Keeneland) last year, and it was actually pretty wet, so that was kind of a concern for us," Mullins said. "He's just been doing so good that we thought we would try and repeat that run he had last year. When he's ready to roll and something comes around, you just go for it."

Owned by Red Baron's Barn, Itsinthepost has won nine of 33 starts with $1,095,712 in earnings.

Before battling with Itsinthepost in their last two outings, Hayabusa One started his year by winning an allowance/optional claimer going 1 1/8 miles at Santa Anita Park Jan. 13. The 5-year-old Peter Miller trainee also has form over the Keeneland course, winning there over 1 3/16 miles in his North American debut in Oct. 2016.

Bullards Alley is the lone grade 1 winner in the Elkhorn field, but he has been winless in four starts since taking the Pattison Canadian International Stakes (G1T) by 10 3/4 lengths at Woodbine in October. Sixth in the Elkhorn last year, Bullards Alley enters this year's race off a fifth-place finish in the March 31 Pan American Stakes (G2T) at Gulfstream Park.

Entries: Dixiana Elkhorn S. (G2T)

Keeneland, Saturday, April 21, 2018, Race 9

  • Grade IIT
  • 1 1/2m
  • Turf
  • $250,000
  • 4 yo's & up
  • 5:30 PM (local)
11Some in Tieme (BRZ)Jorge Ricardo118Kenneth G. McPeek15/1
22Oscar Nominated (KY)Joel Rosario118Michael J. Maker5/1
33Call Provision (NY)Jose L. Ortiz118Chad C. Brown5/1
44Danish Dynaformer (ON)Robby Albarado118Roger L. Attfield15/1
55Dot Matrix (NY)Shaun Bridgmohan118Brad H. Cox30/1
66Canessar (FR)Ricardo Santana, Jr.118Arnaud Delacour15/1
77One Go All Go (VA)Keeneland Sales GraduateChris Landeros118Charles L. Dickey10/1
88Hunter O'Riley (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateFlorent Geroux120James J. Toner10/1
99Bullards Alley (KY)Corey J. Lanerie123Tim Glyshaw10/1
1010Itsinthepost (FR)Tyler Baze120Jeff Mullins5/2
1111Big Bend (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateGary L. Stevens118Thomas F. Proctor20/1
1212Hayabusa One (FR)Victor Espinoza118Peter Miller9/2