LEXINGTON, KY (April 22, 2023) – Andrew Farm, For the People Racing Stable and Windmill Manor Farm’s Verstappen held off Red Knight by a head to win the 38th running of the $350,000 Elkhorn (G2) for 4-year-olds and up Saturday afternoon.
In the race following the Elkhorn, Lucky Seven Stable’s Rattle N Roll captured the 92nd running of the $300,000 Ben Ali (G3) for 4-year-olds and up by 1¼ lengths over Call Me Fast.
In the Elkhorn, Verstappen made his graded stakes debut a winning one as he outdueled Red Knight in deep stretch to prevail.
Trained by Brendan Walsh and ridden by Declan Cannon, Verstappen completed the 1½ miles on a turf course rated as good in 2:29.28. It is Cannon’s first Keeneland stakes victory.
Tiz the Bomb led the field of eight through fractions of :24.68, :49.69, 1:14.93 and 1:40 while being hounded by defending Elkhorn champion Channel Maker as Verstappen and Red Knight raced at the rear of the field.
At the top of the stretch as the field began to bunch up, Verstappen and Red Knight had clear running on the outside with Verstappen getting the first jump and taking the lead at the eighth pole with Red Knight challenging to his inside but unable to get by.
A Keeneland sales graduate, Verstappen is a 4-year-old gelded son of War Front out of the Peintre Celebre mare Andromeda Galaxy. Now owning a record of 12-4-3-2, Verstappen increased his earnings to $447,846 with Saturday’s $208,863 check.
Verstappen returned $34.30, $12.50 and $6.64. Red Knight, ridden by Gerardo Corrales, returned $8.22 and $5.50 and finished 2 lengths in front of Another Mystery, who paid $7.20 to show under Jareth Loveberry.
It was another 1½ lengths back to Channel Maker, who was followed in order by Tiz the Bomb, Howe Street, Rising Empire and Value Engineering.
Rattle N Roll Wins Ben Ali
In the Ben Ali, Rattle N Roll swept to the front passing the three-sixteenths pole and held off a late bid from Call Me Fast to claim his second graded stakes victory at Keeneland.
Trained by Kenny McPeek and ridden by Brian Hernandez Jr., Rattle N Roll covered the 1 3/16 miles over a fast track in 1:56.48. The victory is the third in the race for McPeek, who won in 2014 with Frac Daddy and in 2018 with Rated R Superstar, and the second for Hernandez, who was aboard Eagle for the victory in 2016. It was the third victory of the afternoon for Hernandez.
Pioneer of Medina led the field of seven through uncontested fractions of :23.34, :47.62 and 1:12.18 with Trademark stalking in second while Rattle N Roll raced in midpack.
Pioneer of Medina and Trademark reached the top of the stretch together with Rattle N Roll closing in from the outside with a clear run. Rattle N Roll blew the past leaders passing the three-sixteenths pole and opened a clear advantage with enough cushion left to hold off Call Me Fast.
Winner of the 2021 Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity (G1) and a Keeneland sales graduate, Rattle N Roll is a 4-year-old Kentucky-bred son of Connect out of the Johannesburg mare Jazz Tune. The victory was worth $181,350 and increased his earnings to $1,215,861 with a record of 16-6-1-2.
Rattle N Roll returned $7.98, $5.18 and $3.40. Call Me Fast, ridden by Julien Leparoux, returned $12.84 and $5.48 and finished a half-length in front of Pioneer of Medina, who paid $3.84 to show under Tyler Gaffalione.
It was another 3 lengths back to Happy American, who was followed in order by favored Skippylongstocking, Trademark and Tawny Port.