The action continues! We've got two graded stakes races ahead of us this weekend at Keeneland. Friday is the $100K Baird Doubledogdare Stakes (G3) and Saturday is the $200K Elkhorn Stakes (G3). Let's have a closer look.
Friday, April 16th, 2021
The $100K Doubledogdare Stakes (G3) — 1 mile 1/16, Dirt, Fillies and mares, four-years-old and upward. Post Time 5:30 PM ET
G1 winner SPEECH is the morning-line favorite at 8-5 for trainer Michael McCarthy. She will be ridden by Javier Castellano for her comeback race of almost five months. She was last seen running 6th in the Breeder's Cup Filly and Mare Sprint (G1). She's going to be extremely tough to beat as she's already registered a victory over this track and distance when she won the Ashland Stakes (G1). In preparation for this race, she worked five furlongs on April 10th, going 1:00.40 handily, the eleventh fastest of 66 works at that distance. With no GAMINE or SWISS SKYDIVER type of class against her here —she should run well against this field.
ROYAL FLAG from the one-hole is the 5-2 second choice. She hails from the Chad Brown stable and will be ridden by Joel Rosario. She has hit the board in all 8 lifetime starts, while more recently, winning the Turnback The Alarm (G3) at Aqueduct. However, she, too, enters off nearly a five month layoff. Nevertheless, she's been training consistently and is ready. She hasn't missed a workout going as far back as February 26th, 2021. Her most recent drill was a five furlong breeze in 1:01.40, the 27th fastest of 43 works at that distance.
BONNY SOUTH at 3-1 is the third choice for Brad Cox. She comes in freshened from a three and a half month break. She competed in last November's the Falls City Stakes (G2), where she ran second but earned her highest speed figure to date. Today she's ready to fire — having fired a 5F bullet work in :58.80, the fastest of 28 works at that distance. She piloted by jockey Florent Geroux, who is riding fabulous this year, winning at a 27% rate, the highest he's achieved in his career.
Saturday, April 167h, 2021
The $200 Elkhorn Stakes (G2) — 1 mile 1/2, Turf, four-years-old and upward. Post Time 5:30 PM ET.
SAY THE WORD
TIDE OF THE SEA
RED KNIGHT from the outside posts looks to be a tough customer for trainer Bill Mott. He has put together three solid efforts since returning from his eighth-month hiatus. He finished first, then second, then first, all against Grade 3 company. He's registered a win over this track and distance and will try to improve off his loss to NORTH DAKOTA last time out.
CROSS BORDER from the inside post is looking for his first win since capturing the Bowling Green (G2) back in August 2020. He has finished in the money in his last four races, plus ran a solid third in the Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational (G1). Although he's never raced at Keeneland before, his sire English Channel has at least one win over the Keeneland lawn, where he earned an Equibase Speed Figure (ESF) of 107 in the effort. CROSS BORDER's solid second-place effort in the Sword Dancer Stakes (G1) at one mile and one-half puts him competitively in the mix.
SAY THE WORD from the two-hole warrants a good look, for he can come flying late. He was last seen in the San Luis Rey (G3) gobbling ground to catch UNITED, but had to settle for second. He earned an 111 ESF ratings, which is impressive considering he was making his first start since a two-month break. He should have more stamina this time around, and be able to initiate his rally earlier while finishing strongly.
TIDE OF THE SEA could make things interesting from the sixth slot. He's running better than ever. He's averaged a 106 ESF over his last four races, which shows he means business and his mind is on running. He'll still want to improve because last year's Elkhorn Stakes required a 116 to take first place. In preparation, TIDE OF THE SEA worked a sharp 5F in 1:00.60, the fastest of 11 works at that distance over the Churchill Training track.