2023 Elkhorn Stakes & Ben Ali Stakes Odds

Another fantastic card awaits us this Saturday at Keeneland. The race of the day looks to be the G2 2023 Elkhorn Stakes. One of the most established races that Keeneland hosts, this year’s renewal will be the 38th running of the race and a high-class field of ten will canter down to post. 

Multiple Grade 1 winner Channel Maker will look to become only the third horse in history to win consecutive Elkhorn’s. 

Considered one of the best horses of his generation, he is without a win in his last four starts. Whilst his days of winning Grade 1 contests might be behind him, he is certainly more than capable of winning at this level and repeating his success from 12 months ago.

Whilst the Elkhorn is one of the most anticipated races of the day, it will be supported by a fantastic undercard which includes the Grade 3 Ben Ali Stakes.

A wide looking affair, Rattle N Roll will hope a return to Keeneland will see a repeat of previous graded success at the track. 

He had his biggest success to date when winning the 2021 Breeders’ Cup Futurity back at the course in 2021. Now winless in his last two starts, his connections will be hoping he can stop the slide and win his first graded race since that memorable Breeders’ Cup victory almost two years ago. 

Elkhorn Stakes

Grade 2, 1 and a half miles, Turf, open to horses aged four and over. Total prize pool: $350,000

Ten horses will head to post for the 2023 Elkhorn Stakes. 

6-time Graded Stakes winner Channel Maker will headline the field and is looking to become only the third horse to win the Elkhorn back-to-back. 

A winner of over $3,000,000, he will be having the 51st start of his glittering career but heads back to Keeneland off the back of some questionable performances. 

Despite nearing the twilight of his career, he has been pitched into some of America’s finest races but has struggled to make an impact. Winless in his last four starts, many of his rivals will believe he can be beaten and there looks to be several other viable alternatives. 

A year ago Channel Maker edged out the Chris Block trained Another Mystery. Winless in his last six contests, he also finished as the runner up in last year’s renewal. Whilst the wins haven’t quite come, he will head into this year’s renewal as one of the most consistent horses in the field and shouldn’t be discounted. 

When Another Mystery was last seen it was in the Grade 2 Muniz Memorial Classic. Whilst he could only finish fourth that day, he did finish above the Kenny McPeek trained Tiz The Bomb.

A former Grade 1 winner, he can also boast a second-place finish in the 2021 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf. His 2021 campaign suggested he had the world at his feet, but life has been tougher since. Now winless in his last five, many believe his best days are behind him. Clearly capable, he could be one of the best value options of the race but comes with several questions to answer. 

Michael Maker has a fine record in this race and has won the race on four different occasions. This year he saddles two and his best chance looks to be with Value Engineering. 

A gutsy winner of the Grade 2 Mac Diarmida Stakes, his win looked easier than the slim of margin of victory suggested. Potentially a horse to keep an eye on, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him bag his second successive Grade 2 race here. 

Maker’s other runner Red Knight also heads to Keeneland thriving. The oldest horse in the field, he will be looking to back up his victory in the Grade 3 William McKnight Stakes.

Highest Honors and Shawdyshawdyshawdy will be hoping to reverse the form of the Mac Diarmida as they were only able to finish 4th and 6th respectively. 

2023 Elkhorn Stakes Odds & Betting Pick

Whilst Channel Maker is garnering a lot of the pre-race focus, Value Engineering will head into the contest bang in form. Despite his win in the Mac Diarmida being narrow, he always looked to be travelling like the best horse in the race and could well land his second successive Grade 2 contest here. 

HorseJockeyTrainerOdds by Jazzsports
Channel MakerJohn VelazquezBill Mott+450
Value EngineeringTyler GaffalioneMichael Maker+350
Rising EmpireFlorent GerouxBrendan Walsh+600
Another MysteryJareth LoveberryChris Block+1500
Red KnightGerardo CorralesMichael Maker+250
ShawdyshawdyshawdyAdam BeschizzaJorge Abreu+3000
Howe StreetFlavien PratJorge Abreu+1000
Highest HonorsIrad Ortiz JrChad Brown+500
VerstappenDeclan CannonBrendan Walsh+2000
Tiz The BombBrian HernandezKenny McPeek+3000

Ben Ali Stakes

Grade 3, 1 and 3/16 miles, Dirt, open to horses aged four and over. Total prize pool: $300,000

Seven horses are due to head down to post for this year’s Ben Ali Stakes. A competitive looking affair, all seven horses will believe they have a real chance of victory. 

Rattle N Roll will return to the scene of his greatest success in the hope he can add to the three stakes races he has already won. The winner of the Breeders’ Cup Futurity Stakes back in 2021, he has been expensive to follow since. 

The winner of the Oklahoma Derby last season, he has just had the one run in 2023 which saw him finish fourth in the New Orleans Classic. Used to competing in races of the very highest quality, he could well find a return to calmer waters in his favour, and he looks a live contender. 

Tawny Port was able to win the Grade 3 Lexington Stakes over course and distance last year and will be hoping to add further success this Saturday. 

Without a victory in his last four contests, this will be his first time back at Keeneland since his 2022 Lexington win and his connections will hope it will spark an upturn in form. 

Many will believe that Skippylongstocking has a great chance of adding another graded success to his ever-growing list of victories. A winner of the Grade 3 Harlam Holiday Stakes back in December he backed that up with a win in the Michelob Ultra Challenger Stakes last month. 

A horse that likes to dictate the pace of his races, look for him to be on the front end of affairs throughout the race. The key will be whether he can have the stamina to last all the way home. 

Pioneer of Medina has had a mixed start to his 2023. A narrow winner of the Grade 3 Mineshaft Stakes, he could only finish a distant sixth in the New Orleans Classic. Finishing two places behind Rattle N Roll, it looks like he has a bit to find on his rival. Clearly capable of winning races of this nature he could be one to keep an eye on. 

Happy American finished one place higher than Pioneer of Medina in the New Orleans Classic but was well beaten in the Mineshaft. A winner of the Grade 3 Hagyard Stakes he must be respected but like Pioneer of Medina his inconsistencies might require a leap of faith. 

Trademark finished a long way behind Skippylongstocking in the Challenger Stakes but prior to that race had won the Grade 3 Commonwealth Turf Stakes. Another who is capable, it could be that turf is his preferred surface and he could be vulnerable to a horse that thrives on the dirt track. 

Rounding out the field is the Michael Puhich trained Call Me Fast. He is likely to start as the complete outsider of the field following his last place finish in the Grade 3 Essex Handicap Stakes last month. 

Ben Ali Stakes Odds & Betting Prediction

There is a case that all seven horses in this year’s Ben Ali line-up have a great chance of victory. Rattle N Roll clearly likes the Keeneland dirt and could be the one to beat. Whilst inconsistent his recent form stacks up and he should have a major say in proceedings.

HorseJockeyTrainerOdds by Jazzsports
Pioneer of MedinaTyler GaffalioneTodd Pletcher+350
TrademarkRafael BejaranoVictoria Oliver+600
Call Me FastJulien LeparouxMichael Puhich+2000
SkippylongstockingIrad OrtizSaffie Joseph+140
Rattle N RollBrian HernandezKenny McPeek+300
Happy AmericanJames GrahamNeil Pessin+1200
Tawny PortFlavien PratBrad Cox+800

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