Itsinthepost attempts Elkhorn defense

Older turfers will be in the spotlight in the Elkhorn Stakes this Saturday at Keeneland. The Grade II, $250,000 race will be contested over 1 1/2-miles and features a field of 12. Post time for the Elkhorn, the ninth of 10 races on the day, is 5:30 p.m. EST. Remember to take part in FanXT’s Daily Fantasy Jockey game!

#10 ITSINTHEPOST (5-2, morning-line favorite), last year’s Elkhorn winner, invades Keeneland once more from the west coast. He’s gotten off to a phenomenal start in 2018, winning the San Gabriel, San Marcos and San Luis Rey Stakes. ITSINTHEPOST typically lays back before taking over on the final turn but can push the issue early as well, which he may need to against #7 ONE GO ALL GO, who usually grabs the lead from the gate. ITSINTHEPOST drew a post complimentary to his tactics and retains regular pilot Tyler Baze. The Elkhorn is his race to lose based on speed figures and class.

#12 HAYABUSA ONE (9-2), second to ITSINTHEPOST in two straight with no apparent excuse in the 1 1/2-mile San Luis Rey, seems unlikely to turn the tables in the Elkhorn but is certainly a candidate for a major share. He’s put forth some solid stretch rallies in his last two tries and maintains Victor Espinoza. The only knock is the wide post draw.

#3 CALL PROVISION (5-1) should launch from far back under Jose Ortiz, who takes over from older brother Irad (riding Diversify in the Charles Town Classic). He hasn’t raced since November, finishing a close second in Aqueduct’s 1 3/8-mile Red Smith, which featured a sluggish tempo. As long as he gets some semblance of pace while picking up a furlong today, CALL PROVISION should be heard from late.

#2 OSCAR NOMINATED (5-1) typically runs well in spots like this; he even won the McKnight Handicap at Gulfstream two-back. However, the consistent son of Kitten’s Joy loses Jose Ortiz; Joel Rosario picks up the assignment.

The play: $4 exacta 10/12, $3 exacta 10/2,3 ($10)

DFJ analysis: All seven of Jose Ortiz’s mounts this Saturday are 5-1 or below on the morning-line. That includes three morning-line favorites, as well as CALL PROVISION in the Elkhorn, Keeneland’s lone stakes event on the program. He carries a high salary, but Ortiz is worth the investment.

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