Three Diamonds Farm’s Bigger Picture rallied four wide in deep stretch to collar Red Knight and favored Zulu Alpha to post a half-length victory in the 34th running of the $250,000 Dixiana Elkhorn (G2) for 4-year-olds and up before a Saturday afternoon crowd of 17,256.
Trained by Mike Maker and ridden by Tyler Gaffalione, Bigger Picture covered the 1½ miles on a yielding turf course in 2:32.00. The victory was the third in the race for Maker, who won with Dark Cove in 2013 and Da Big Hoss in 2016.
Final Copy led the field of 10 through fractions of :24.45, :50.31, 1:16.36 and 1:41.85 as Bigger Picture saved ground while running in midpack. On the far turn, Red Knight, Zulu Alpha and Tiz a Slam moved at the leader as Bigger Picture waited behind horses.
In the stretch, Final Copy dropped out of contention as did Tiz a Slam, leaving a two-way duel until just inside the sixteenth pole, when Bigger Picture emerged on the scene to draw clear in the final yards.
The victory was worth $150,000 and increased Bigger Picture’s earnings to $1,646,635 with a record of 40-13-7-5. It was his sixth graded stakes victory.
Bigger Picture is an 8-year-old Kentucky-bred gelded son of Badge of Silver out of the Honour and Glory mare Glory Dancer.
Bigger Picture returned $16.60, $7.60 and $4. Red Knight, ridden by Luis Saez, returned $6.60 and $4.20, with Zulu Alpha finishing another half-length back in third under Jose Ortiz and paying $2.40 to show.
It was another half-length back to Tiz a Slam, who was followed in order by Vettori Kin (BRZ), Canessar (FR), Hunter O’Riley, Final Copy, Leitone (CHI) and Soglio.
Today, Keeneland recognized pioneering female jockey Patti Barton and the 50th anniversary of her first win, which came May 30, 1969 at Pikes Peak Meadows in Colorado. Among the first women to be licensed as jockeys, Barton is the first female rider to win 1,000 races.
Barton, who competed mostly in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Kentucky and Illinois, won 1,202 races from 10,199 mounts during her career that continued until 1984. She scored one victory at Keeneland, which came during the 1981 Fall Meet.
Her three children – Leah, Donna and Jerry – all rode races. Donna – now a well-known TV analyst – won 1,083 races from 1987-1998.
Keeneland is closed tomorrow, Easter Sunday, but will resume racing Wednesday with an eight-race program that begins at 1:05 p.m. ET.
Quotes from the $250,000 Dixiana Elkhorn (G2)
Tyler Gaffalione (winning rider of Bigger Picture)
“The horse broke good. He put himself in a nice position. We saved ground around both turns. I just followed Jose (Ortiz on Zulu Alpha) when he made his move, and (Bigger Picture) grinded it out. All the credit goes to (trainer) Mike (Maker) and his team; they do a fabulous job.”
On why the jockey has been successful at Keeneland
“Just good opportunities. I get to ride nice horses for good connections. My agent does a great job, so I’m just very thankful.”
Mike Maker (winning trainer)
“I think he was compromised last time by the slow pace (and finished seventh in the March 30 Pan American [G2] at Gulfstream Park).”
Luis Saez (rider of runner-up Red Knight)
“I had a perfect trip. He was traveling good, and he made a good move and just got beat. I saw the winner when he was right there. We just got beat; that was a tough beat.”
Jose Ortiz (rider of 6-5 favorite and third-place finisher Zulu Alpha)
“He digs in hard. He tried very hard. (We had) a little premature move on the backside for a mile-and-a-half (race) but I had no choice, I had to go. I was in my spot and the eight (Red Knight) came a little early – earlier than what I expected.
“That allowed Bigger Picture to go on and make his run. The top three (finishers) can get a mile and a half, and I’ve ridden all three of them. They are very good horses, and very similar. It just depends on who gets the trip, and today Bigger Picture got the better trip.”