LEXINGTON, KY – Red Baron’s Barn LLC’s Itsinthepost took command at the head of the stretch and posted a 1 1/4-length victory over Charming Kitten to win the 32nd running of the Grade 2, $250,000 Dixiana Elkhorn for 4-year-olds and up before a Saturday afternoon crowd of 18,505.
Trained by Jeff Mullins and ridden by Tyler Baze, Itsinthepost covered the 1 1/2 miles on a turf course labeled as yielding in 2:31.22. It was the first Keeneland stakes victory for Mullins and Baze.
“It’s been my dream to win a race at Keeneland,” Baze said. “This horse has been just a phenomenal horse, especially the last year. He gives it everything. Once I got him to the outside, it was just a matter of being patient because this stretch is a long stretch.”
Chocolate Ride led the field of eight through the first mile of the race, with Bigger Picture and Itsinthepost in closest pursuit. Midway on the final turn, Itsinthepost moved three wide along with Bigger Picture, and those two quickly opened up on the field.
Itsinthepost surged to the front at midstretch and drew away with more than enough to hold off the late charge from Charming Kitten, who rallied from last to beat Bigger Picture by a neck.
“I was not expecting to be last early,” said rider Julien Leparoux. “We made a run, but it was a little bit too late. He came flying at the end. He ran a good race.”
It was another neck back to Danish Dynaformer, who was followed in order by Red Rifle, Bullards Alley, Chocolate Ride, and Interpol.
The victory was worth $150,000 and increased Itsinthepost’s earnings to $512,712 with a record of 25-5-6-5. It was the second consecutive Grade 2 victory for the 5-year-old gelding, who captured the San Luis Rey at Santa Anita on March 25.
Itsinthepost, who never has been worse than second in nine of 10 starts for Mullins, is a son of American Post (GB) out of the Mozart (IRE) mare Sakkara Star (IRE).
“It seems like, the further he goes, the better he gets,” Mullins said.
Itsinthepost returned $7.40, $4.60, and $2.80. Charming Kitten brought back $6.20 and $3.80, while Bigger Picture paid $3 to show.