Musketier wins Elkhorn Stakes

His frame may be a little more creaky and his attitude a lot more stubborn, but one thing has remained a constant for Musketier in the six years he has spent on the racetrack.

When the 8-year-old horse is on his game, he can run even challengers half his age off their feet.

Such was the case on Friday in the Grade II Elkhorn Stakes when Musketier put in a determined run in the lane to win the 11/2-mile turf race by 13/4 lengths over Brass Hat on the closing day of Keeneland's Spring Meet.

Owned by Johanna Louise Glen-Teven, Musketier was making his first start since running sixth in the Grade I Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational at Belmont on Oct. 3, when he struggled over the extremely boggy turf and emerged with muscle soreness.

Over the course of the last month, however, the German-bred horse fired off two straight bullet works over 6 furlongs at Keeneland on April 6 and April 13.

"When he came to this meet I wasn't sure I had him ready for this race but he's trained very well since he's been here," said trainer Roger Attfield, who also won the Grade III Bewitch Stakes on Thursday with Lady Shakespeare. "He started training forward and really became quite a handful.

"He's a cantankerous guy but he's a lovely horse. He's had his problems along the way but I love him."

In a field of 12, Musketier got away a bit slow under jockey John Velazquez and rated midpack as Timeless Fashion ran the opening half-mile in :51.33.

Around the final turn, Musketier swung out four-wide past the three-horse pack of Timeless Fashion, 3-1 favorite Sudden War and Pick Six battling away up front and kicked clear of the late-running Brass Hat — who rallied from last — to win in 2:31.32.

"When he took the lead I hit him and he didn't like that at all," Velazquez said. "I said 'Oh buddy, you're going to have to keep running the way you are.' Whenever he wants to do something, he'll do it and when he doesn't he won't."

The 9-year-old Brass Hat, third in the Elkhorn last year, passed eight horses in the stretch to get up for second. Blushing Bear, a 48-1 shot, finished third.

Musketier, who nearly defeated Gio Ponti in the Grade I Man O' War Stakes last July, improved his career record to seven wins from 34 starts with a bankroll of $626,430.