The GII Elkhorn Stakes

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Friday April 25  – Keeneland

Get Keeneland PPs for Friday

Race Nine
Scheduled local post time 5:13pm

The Grade 2 Elkhorn Stakes has drawn an overflow field of 14 on Friday’s closing day card at Keeneland. Hangover Kid (10-1) stretches out to a mile and a half after returning, after a layoff of 105 days, at a mile and a sixteenth. This somewhat lightly raced (record of 21-6-6-3) six-year-old son of Lemon Drop Kid has never run quite this far. However, his efforts at the slightly shorter distance of 1 3/8 miles indicate that he should like it just fine; in fact, he could very well thrive on it.

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In both of the 11-furlong races highlighted here, Hangover Kid closed quite well for minor shares, earning identical figures of 111. The latter effort ranks as the co-best Spotlight figure in the field. (
Click here for more information on our Spotlight figure.) Both times, he made up ground despite having to close into paces that did not significantly slow down late. Indeed, both races featured late pace figures that were rated as fast (in red) relative to the overall pace and final time of the race. This is further illustrated by looking at the result chart of his two-back effort in the Grade 3 Red Smith.

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Note that amongst the top eight finishers, only Hangover Kid and Tannery (who in his prior effort came from dead last to win the Grade 1 EP Taylor at a mile and a quarter) were able to make up any ground late. Little wonder; after crawling the third quarter of the race in 26 seconds, they went 24.67 to the 3/8ths pole, and then sprinted home from there. Hangover Kid zipped those last three furlongs in 35.85 seconds and missed by a diminishing half length despite swinging six wide turning for home. A look at the chart of his third-place finish in the G1 United Nations tells a similar story. With the second best late pace rating in the field–a solid 112–we think that the extra distance will play to his distinct advantage in the Elkhorn.

Trainer Jason Servis rarely ventures to Keeneland; he has no starts there over the last year. It would appear as if he has the best intentions in this Grade 2 spot. Hangover Kid’s fine rally for second in his return race should set him up perfectly for this marathon affair. Servis has a perfect trainer rating of 100 with horses running second time off the layoff. Hangover Kid is our selection.

Temeraine (5-1) has a fine record of 4-1-1-1 at this distance on the grass, and would seem an obvious contender. Amen Kitten (8-1), a son of the distance-loving Kitten’s Joy, has improved since stretching out in distance. Eagle Poise (8-1) has won going as far as a mile and three quarters.

The play: Hangover Kid to win.

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