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Tricky Hat Stuns Optimizer At Keeneland

Posted by on 4/23/2014 8:53:13 PM

It is a busy time for horse fans with the Kentucky Derby on the horizon. However, there is still some action this weekend and for a change, the big-money race is on Friday as the Grade-2 Elkhorn Stakes will be run at Keeneland. This race has a purse of $250,000 and will be run over 1 ½ miles on turf with a classification of four years old and up. This year’s winner will hold off a hard-charging veteran as Tricky Hat will end up in the winner’s circle.

What: Horse Betting
When: Friday, April 25th, post time TBA
Where: Keeneland Race Course, Lexington, KY
Pick: Tricky Hat

Amen Kitten followed up a third-place run in the Grade-1 Hollywood Derby by coming in second in the Grade-2 Mac Diamarda, and this four-year-old has made all but four of his 16 career starts on turf, which will help.

Eagle Poise won the Grade-3 Valedictory in 2012 and then recently finished second in the same race, and at eight years old, he does have some history to live up to. Musketier won this race at eight in 2010, then at nine in 2011.

Forte Dei Marmi was last seen finishing fifth in an allowance race at Keeneland earlier this month, his first start in six months. He finished well back in 11th place last year in the Elkhorn Stakes.

Hangover Kid finished second in his 2014 debut, an allowance race at Gulfstream Park last month, and this will be his third graded-stakes start; he finished third in the Grade-1 United Nations last July, and then second in the Grade-2 Red Smith Handicap in November.

Old Time Hockey has finished higher than fourth just once in six graded-stakes races, but that was a win in the Grade-2 La Jolla Handicap, albeit way back in August 2012. He did win an allowance race at Tampa Bay Downs, but that was on dirt.

Optimizer is probably the most highly-touted horse in the field, but he is coming off a ninth in the Grade-1 Frank E. Kilroe Mile, although that was his first start in seven months. At five years old, Optimizer has started 29 races; take that into account.

Rapscallion is making his graded-stakes debut after winning an allowance race at Keeneland earlier this month, so there aren’t high hopes for this four-year-old, which has made four of his seven starts on turf.

Royal Bench comes from Ireland and this will be his third start on North American soil after a seventh at the non-graded John’s Call last July, and then a 10th in the non-graded Bowl Game at Belmont in October. That was his last start, so there should be lowered expectations for this seven-year-old.

At six years old, Suntracer will be making his 30th start, in which he has won five times, but three were either allowance or maiden races, and the other two were non-graded events. He hasn’t finished in the top three in his last four starts, and the sun might be setting on Suntracer’s career.

Tattenham is coming off an allowance win at Gulfstream Park in February, but he hasn’t finished higher than fourth in two previous graded-stakes starts, so it might take an extra gear for this four-year-old to make it to the top three.

Temeraine is quite inconsistent, as he’ll follow up a fifth-place run with a runner-up and then he started off 2014 by finishing eighth in the Grade-2 San Marcos Stakes, then coming in third in the Grade-2 San Luis Rey. Which version of this five-year-old colt will show up on Friday?

Tricky Hat was bred in Chile, but has done all of his racing in the United States and has finished third or better in his last six starts, including the Grade-3 Sycamore Stakes in October. This is a horse you need to watch out for on Friday.

Unitarian had won two straight allowance races, all at Gulfstream Park, before finishing seventh in the Grade-3 Fair Grounds Handicap. This will be an even bigger test for the four-year-old, and he is another one worth keeping an eye on.

War Dancer rounds out the field after a seventh-place result in the Grade-3 Skip Away last month, and since winning the Grade-1 Virginia Derby last July, he hasn’t finished better than sixth in a race. That can’t be a good sign.

How It Will Play Out

It could get crowded down the stretch in this 14-horse field, but Tricky Hat will outlast the field on Friday.

Elkhorn Stakes Betting Pick: Tricky Hat

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