LEXINGTON, Ky. -- The old-timer Musketier successfully defended his title in the Elkhorn Stakes on Friday's closing-day card at Keeneland by rallying from sixth in the final quarter-mile to take the Grade 2, $150,000 grass stakes for the second straight year.
Musketier ($6.60), the favorite in the field of 10, closed sharply over the yielding course and then safely held off Pool Play to win by 1 1/4 lengths in 2:32.04 for 1 1/2 miles over the rain-soaked turf course. Windward Islands was another length back in third.
After a meet largely impacted by rain, closing day here was delightful, with the temperature in the upper 50s, breezy conditions, and sunny skies that made it feel warmer. A crowd of 20,795, many of whom appeared to have cut class at the University of Kentucky, turned out for the final day of sport at the spring meet.
Rahy's Attorney, the second choice at 5-2, ran off to a long early lead and dared anyone to catch him. He led for the first 11 furlongs of the 12-furlong race, but tired late and faded to fifth, a little more than 2 1/2 lengths behind Musketier.
Musketier had finished three-quarters of a length behind Rahy's Attorney in the Pan American at Gulfstream on March 26. But the course and conditions on Friday were favored by Musketier, who has made the Elkhorn a stop for three straight years. He finished second in this race in 2009.
John Velazquez rode Musketier, just as he did in last year's Elkhorn. Musketier, 9, is trained by Roger Attfield. He has now won 8 times in 38 starts.