Grade 3 Ben Ali Draws 10 Veterans
Category : News
Thu 14/04/2016 - 22:41 EDT
The 86th running of the Grade 3 Ben Ali April 16 at Keeneland features a field of ten older horses set to go a mile and an eighth in a betting race with plenty of viable angles.
3/1 morning line favorite Eagle is running out of excuses after finishing second in a pair of stakes races at Fair Grounds before running fourth in the Grade 2 New Orleans Handicap last out. The Neil Howard trainee posted a sharp drill April 12 at Churchill Downs covering five furlongs in a minute-flat, good for the fastest work of the day at the distance. While there's little doubt this horse is in good form, he will have to prove his desire to win races - a factor that will likely make another runner the post time favorite.
Noble Bird looks primed for top effort
Noble Bird (7/2) could be that "other runner" despite running poorly in his 2016 debut - a sixth-place finish in an Oaklawn Park allowance race - following seven plus months on the sidelines. The talented Mark Casse trainee won the Grade 1 Stephen Foster last summer and is an extremely talented runner when healthy. If workouts are any indication, Noble Bird is touting his potential return to form with a pair of fast efforts over the Keeneland track. Jockey Julien Leparoux will replace Shaun Bridgmohan in the irons and could fit the five year-old veteran well with his more patient riding style.
Neck n' Neck training forwardly
Neck n' Neck (9/2) has always trained well over the Keeneland surface and is another horse with a legitimate chance to take home the top prize while making his second start off the layoff for trainer Ian Wilkes. Wilkes also removes the seven year-old gelding's blinkers - a change that could energize his veteran runner.
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