May 25, 2024

Silver Knott earns first U.S. win in Elkhorn; Kingsbarns dominant in Ben Ali

Silver Knott wins at Keeneland (Photo by Coady Photography / Credit to Jetta Vaughns)

Bold Act was heavily favored to make it 2-for-2 over Keeneland’s turf in Saturday’s $313,750 Elkhorn (G2), but was toppled by Godolphin stablemate Silver Knott, who, like Bold Act, is a four-year-old gelding with potentially more good wins ahead of him.

Sent away as the third choice at more than 5-1 in the field of nine older runners, Silver Knott closely tracked longshot pacesetter Wentru for more than a mile, seized command around the third and final turn in the 1 1/2-mile test, and had plenty left in the final five-sixteenths of a mile to win by 1 1/2 lengths under Flavien Prat.

“He was pretty forward going into the first turn, and after that it was just a matter of getting him to relax,” Prat said. “He was traveling actually a bit strong. But it worked out well. I was very pleased when we were going down the backside, and then horses came alongside of us so that made us go a little bit. But it gave him a chance to actually get a nice breather, and once I called on him, as you could tell he had a great turn of foot.”

Trained by Charlie Appleby, Silver Knott covered the firm-turf test in 2:27.37 and paid $13.52. California invader and second choice Missed the Cut edged odds-on favorite Bold Act, who had captured the Sycamore (G3) at Keeneland last fall, for second by a neck.

The Elkhorn win snapped a seven-race losing streak for Silver Knott, which dated to October 2022, when he captured the Autumn (G3) at Newmarket for two-year-olds. A multiple Group 3 winner that season, Silver Knott was subsequently favored in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) at Keeneland, but was beaten a nose by Victoria Road.

Silver Knott raced five more times in the U.S. last season, placing in four. He finished second in the Twilight Derby (G2) and third in the Pennine Ridge (G3), Secretariat (G2), and Hollywood Derby (G1). The Elkhorn was Silver Knott’s first attempt beyond 1 1/4 miles.

Silver Knott was bred in England and is by Lope de Vega and out Group 1 winner God Given, a Nathaniel half-sister to multiple English highweight Postponed.

There was no stopping the favored Kingbarns in the $300,000 Ben Ali (G3) later in the card. Under Luis Saez, the four-year-old son of Uncle Mo registered his second career stakes win in comfortable style by 3 1/4 lengths over second choice War Campaign, with 25-1 chance Archie the Giza three lengths behind in third.

Winner of last year’s Louisiana Derby (G2) in his third career start and victorious in a seven-furlong allowance prep at Gulfstream Park on March 2 following an extended layoff, Kingsbarns returned $5.36 after completing 1 3/16 miles over a fast track in 1:57.74.

Owned by Spendthrift Farm and trained by Todd Pletcher, Kingsbarns was produced by the Grade 3-placed Lady Tapit, a Tapit half-sister to Grade 1 heroine Gozzip Girl. He was bred in Kentucky by Parks Investment Group and sold for $800,000 as a Fasig-Tipton March juvenile.