Consistent Kaigun Facing Seven Rivals in $250,000 Dixiana Elkhorn Stakes
Category : News
Sat 23/04/2016 - 00:45 EDT
On Saturday at Keeneland, the featured race is the $250,000 Dixiana Elkhorn Stakes. Scheduled to be run at one mile on the turf, the Grade 2 event has drawn a field of eight colts and geldings.
Kaigun tops the field as the morning line favorite at odds of 5-2 for trainer Mark Casse. A six-year-old son of Northern Afleet, the chestnut gelding is a six time career winner and a multiple graded stakes winner. He has been on the board in all three starts this year and was last seen winning the Pan American Stakes (G2) at Gulfstream Park. Joe Bravo will be in the irons and they are scheduled to break from post position seven.
Up With the Birds returning off short layoff
Second choice at morning line odds of 3-1 is Up With the Birds for trainer Graham Motion. A six-year-old son of Stormy Atlantic, he was Canada’s champion three-year-old in 2013 and is a seven-time career winner. A homebred for Sam-Son Farm, he will be making his first start of the year and returning off of a four-month layoff. John Velazquez will be aboard and they will break from post position two.
Twilight Eclipse trying to regain winning form
Also in the field at morning line odds of 3-1 is Twilight Eclipse for trainer Tom Albertrani. Owned by West Point Thoroughbreds, the seven-year-old gelding has won seven times and is a multiple graded stakes winner. He returned to action off of a five-month freshening after finishing eighth in the Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) and was seventh in the Mac Diarmida Stakes (G2). Julian Leparoux will be aboard from post six.
There will always be Kentucky Derby entrants that would be much better suited to skip the race entirely and find a better spot if not for the gusto of their well-meaning owners, but the Road to the Derby point qualifying system has been remarkably efficient at making the race more of a level-playing field since its inception four years ago.
With a largely underwhelming, and thus far, slow, group of three year-olds set to contest the 2016 Kentucky Derby, logical handicappers searching for a pick outside of the undefeated and likely highly-favored Nyquist may have already begun the hand-wringing process.
On Friday at Oaklawn Park, the featured race is the $600,000 Apple Blossom Stakes. Restricted to fillies and mares, the Grade 1 event will be contested at a mile and a sixteenth on the main track and has drawn a field of six.
The Grade 1, $300,000 Madison Stakes features a stellar field April 9 at Keeneland as 13 fillies and mares are set to contest the seven furlong event on the main track.