By Emily Shields
Sunday is the final day of the short, revamped Keeneland meet, with two stakes races to top off an action-packed week. The $175,000 TVG Elkhorn Stakes (G2) is the feature, with a field of 13 set to do battle including favorites Zulu Alpha and Arklow.
Zulu Alpha (8-5) is an 11-time winner of over $2 million. The Mike Maker trainee was third in this race last year but has been a Grade 3 winner on this course. Tyler Gaffalione will be aboard the gelded seven-year-old son of Street Cry, who is always tough and has been top three in 21 of his 33 starts. This is your winner of the Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational (G1) earlier this year.
3-1 Arklow is the main challenger. The son of Arch goes for Brad Cox with Florent Geroux aboard. They teamed up to win Saturday’s Ruffian at Belmont Park with Monomoy Girl. Arklow broke his maiden on this course back in 2017 and since then has racked up more than $1.8 million in earnings. He doesn’t win often; only six in 26 tries, but he is always right there and is a Grade 1 winner.
Only two other horses are on the morning line at less than 10 – 1. Nakamura is 8 – 1 for trainer Graham Motion; the son of Animal Kingdom was second in the Grade 3 Sycamore here in October and has been off since November 23. He has three bullet workouts in the last month to prepare for this spot, and gets John Velazquez on board.
He’s No Lemon is also 8 – 1, and is Motion’s second entry. The son of Lemon Drop Kid has been top three in seven of nine, including running third in the Louisville (G3) at Churchill Downs on June 13. Rafael Bejarano will ride the four-year-old gelding, who is a winner at the distance.
#13 Henley’s Joy on the outside is worth a look at 15 – 1. The Steve Asmussen trainee by Kitten’s Joy has over $1 million in earnings, and doesn’t win a lot but has run second in both his starts on this course. Both of those efforts were narrow losses in graded company, and it is feasible that he will relish a return to this course. Ricardo Santana, Jr. will ride.
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