LEXINGTON, KY – Jockey Tyler Gaffalione ended Keeneland’s summer session in style, taking the rider title along with Sunday’s $175,000 TVG Elkhorn Stakes (G2), the final race of the meet.
Zulu Alpha was made the even-money favorite as he broke from post 5 under Tyler Gaffalione. The bettors’ choice sat well off the early pace that was contested between Postulation and Ry’s the Guy.
The two front-runners were nearly inseparable as they posted fractions of :25.56, :52.02, 1:18.14, and 1:43.20 through the first mile. Heading into the far turn, Gaffalione tipped Zulu Alpha out and gave him the green light, and he responded with a strong five-wide bid by the top of the stretch.
Perched with a strong chance as he straightened for home, Zulu Alpha rallied to the lead shortly thereafter, but Postulation fought back gamely along the rail. Though he had to work for it, Zulu Alpha was able to prevail by 3/4 of a length at the wire.
The Mike Maker trainee completed the 1 1/2-mile good turf marathon in a final time of 2:30.82.
“He’s as easy as they come,” Gaffalione said. “He just drops his head and you let him do his thing. He knows where the wire is. He’s got some turn of foot.”
The stubborn Postulation fought well to keep second by 1 1/4 lengths over Nakamura, who was the same distance ahead in third. Jais’s Solitude nosed out Ry’s the Guy for fourth, while the 3/1 second choice Arklow lacked the kick to get higher than sixth.
Oscar Dominguez, He’s No Lemon, Apreciado, Henley’s Joy, and Hellorhighwater completed the order of finish.
Hierarchy and Ramsey Solution were scratched.
Zulu Alpha’s win was his third from 4 starts this year, including the Pegasus World Cup Turf (G1) and the Mac Diarmida Stakes (G2), both at Gulfstream Park. The 7-year-old Street Cry gelding improved his overall record to 34-12-5-5 with $2,165,114 earned.
“After Gulfstream, we sent him to the farm again,” Maker said. “We got delayed with the virus. Going a mile and 1/2, you’re always a little bit concerned, but even I can’t mess this one up.”
Zulu Alpha returned $4 to win, $2.80 to place, and $2.60 to show. Postulation brought back $22 to place and $11.40 to show, while Nakamura paid $6.20 to show.