The $250,000 Elkhorn S. (G2) is the co-feature of closing week at Keeneland, which will be run here on Friday. At least ten runners are pointing for this 1 ½ miles turf run and there should be a lot of value at the windows. Group 1 winner Lucayan is in very good current form for conditioner Neil Drysdale and will be a big player from off the pace in this current cycle. The five-year-old import was a fine winner of the Hollywood Turf Cup (G2) two back, and his best stacks up well with most or all of his foes in this run.
Amen Kitten was a fine second in the Mac Diarmida H. (G2) at Gulfstream Park most recently and would be a major factor in this one with a step forward. Roger Attfield’s Forti Dei Marmi was pulled up in this race after taking a bad step last campaign, but he is a winner on this lawn and had a decent prep in readying for this grassy challenge. Tricky Hat, third in the Sycamore S. on this lawn in the fall, figures to be a big presence for trainer Shug McGaughey. The gelded son of Hat Trick was a game second on this turf in his seasonal debut last out in a prep run for this, and he should improve from a fitness perspective for this contest.
Todd Pletcher’s Unitarian, Tom Proctor’s Temeraine, old veteran Suntracer, multiple graded stakes winner Optimizer, United Nations H. (G1) third Hangover Kid and Canadian Grade 3 hero Eagle Poise, are all headed in this direction.
The Thursday feature at this sublime venue is the $150,000 Bewitch S. (G3). This 1 ½ miles turf affair for fillies and mares always attracts a nice field of stayers, and the likely field for this run proves the point. Juddmonte’s blue-blooded Romantica was a huge second in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf (G1) in her U. S. debut and her best looks to be very good. Now in the hands of Bill Mott, the daughter of Galileo is out of the superb Banks Hill and looks like a chip off the old block from what we have seen. The Group 1 victress is training well and looks like the favorite to us.
Other top notables include Christophe Clement’s Aigue Marine, Angel Terrace, winner of the Valley View S. (G3) on this lawn in 2012, the Todd Pletcher-trained Viva Rafaela, second in the Orchid H. (G3) most recently, Attfield’s Meri Shika, Long Island H. (G3) queen Inimitable Romanee and recent stakes vixen Always Kitten.