March 3, 2024

Grade 1 winners Channel Maker, Two Emmys head Elkhorn; Scalding, Warrant set for Ben Ali

Two Emmys wins the Muniz Memorials
Two Emmys wins the Muniz Memorials (Photo by Hodges Photography/Amdanda Hodges Weir)

Keeneland will offer a pair of graded stakes on Saturday’s 10-race program.

Elkhorn (G2) – Race 9 (5:16 p.m. ET)

Multiple Grade 1 victor Channel Maker, unraced since a fifth in the Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) at Del Mar, will open his eight-year-old season, and Grade 1 winner Two Emmys looks like the one to catch among nine runners in the $350,000 Elkhorn (G2) at 1 1/2 miles on turf.

A chestnut gelded son of English Channel, Channel Maker has experience over Keeneland’s turf, finishing a close third in the 2020 Breeders’ Cup Turf, and the Bill Mott trainee will be forwardly placed with Luis Saez.

Two Emmys just missed in the Sycamore (G3) over the course and distance last October, recording a neck second, and the six-year-old English Channel gelding led wire-to-wire in the Mr. D. (G1) at Arlington last summer. He returns to Keeneland in sharp form, romping gate-to-wire in the March 26 Muniz Memorial (G2) at Fair Grounds, and James Graham retains the assignment for McLean Robertson.

Phantom Currency enters with a three-race win streak, returning from 13-month layoff to capture the April 2 Appleton (G3), and the six-year-old adds more speed to the line-up. Irad Ortiz Jr. will guide for Brian Lynch. Grade 2 winner Bemma’s Boy and John B. Connelly (G3) upsetter Another Mystery are also entered.

Ben Ali (G3) – Race 8 (4:44 p.m. ET)

A nice field of eight older horses will contest the $300,000 Ben Ali (G3) at 1 1/8 miles on the main track.

A maiden winner in early January, Scalding has won three straight for Shug McGaughey in South Florida this year, making his stakes debut a winning one in the March 12 Challenger (G3) at Tampa Bay Downs. The dark bay colt will stretch out an extra sixteenth of a mile, and Javier Castellano will up on the frontrunning four-year-old son of Nyquist.

A multiple stakes winner last season, Warrant delivered a career-best performance when finishing a head second in the March 5 Santa Anita H. (G3). The four-year-old Constitution colt netted a field-best 104 Brisnet Speed rating, and Flavien Prat will be back up on the stalker for Brad Cox.

Proxy is a contender for Michael Stidham following a clear second to Olympiad in the March 26 New Orleans (G2) at Fair Grounds. A convincing allowance scorer two back, the four-year-old will have the services of Brian Hernandez Jr. Mighty Heart, the 2020 Canadian Horse of the Year and third most recently in the Harlan’s Holiday (G3) at Gulfstream in mid-December, should show speed with Graham.

Other runners of interest include Dynamic One, Tartufo, and Title Ready.