Exotics Plays for the 2024 Elkhorn Stakes

April 18th, 2024

An excellent cast of 11 turf stayers will run 1 1/2 miles on the Keeneland turf in Saturday’s $350,000 Elkhorn S. (G2). The grassy co-feature attracted an accomplished group and has a lot of appeal from a betting perspective. 

Elkhorn Exotics

  • $3 exacta box 3,4,7,8 ($36)
  • 50-cent trifecta 4,7 with 3,4,7,8 with all ($27)
  • 10-cent superfecta 3,4,7,8 with 3,4,7,8 with 3,4,7,8 with all ($9.60)

Group 2 winner and morning-line choice #4 Bold Act (3-2) will be formidable if he runs his best race, but he is not unbeatable. Four-year-old son of New Approach has been consistently very good in his career to this stage of his development, and his lone prior run on this course resulted in a Sycamore S. (G3) triumph in October, as well. I’ll surely use the Charlie Appleby trainee, but other contenders with better value also intrigue me.

#7 Winning Spirit (6-1) will make his first run in the States and for conditioner Christophe Clement in this spot. The four-year-old son of Soldier Hollow has displayed a good amount of ability in his first two years of racing, and he has been training steadily at Payson Park for a fine layoff trainer, too. Tyler Gaffalione will guide the German-bred colt

While I would have preferred that #3 Highland Chief (5-1) had a prep for this one coming off the extended layoff, I still consider the Grade 1 victor to be a major presence in the field for Graham Motion. The Gleneagles seven-year-old bagged the 2022 Sycamore (G3) on the course and hails from one of the better outfits running a horse off this kind of layoff. His tactical speed is a major weapon in a field lacking an abundance of pace. John Velazquez will be in the stirrups. 

For the exotics at a price, #8 Foreign Relations (15-1) has a lot of appeal to me. The Karakontie gelding removes blinkers, and he has performed well in his previous tries on the local lawn, as well. The chestnut is not overly consistent, but he can be quite good on his best day and will really boost the vertical plays if he delivers his best performance. Declan Cannon has the call.