Stars converge on Oak Grove for Kentucky Sire Stakes 4-year-old finals

Off a gutsy 1:50.2 win in second-round preliminary action last week, 2023 North America Cup and Little Brown Jug winner It’s My Show seeks the first major conquest of this season in Monday’s $100,000 Kentucky Sire Stakes final for 4-year-old male pacers at Oak Grove.

The gelded son of Sweet Lou-Put On A Show dug deep in the stretch to parry Blue Lou and win the first start of his 2024 campaign, and he has been installed as the 2-1 morning line favorite from post seven in Monday’s final. Scott Zeron will again drive the Richard and Joanne Young homebred for trainer Linda Toscano. Among It’s My Show’s seven rivals are Admiral Hill, who swept his preliminary divisions in 1:50.2 and 1:51.3 and is the 5-2 second choice. The Sweet Lou-Laura Hill gelding is undefeated in four starts since being transferred to trainer Per Engblom, having also won a $27,500 winners-over event at the Meadowlands in April before shipping to Kentucky. Yannick Gingras retains the drive.

The 4-year-old pace, carded as race seven, is last of the four $100,000 Kentucky Sire Stakes finals on Monday’s 13-race program.

The mare pace, carded as race one, sees Nancy Takter trainee Always B Naughty (2-1, Andy McCarthy, post two) and Anette Lorentzon pupil Keep My Secret (5-2, Tony Hall, post six) face off as the only two entrants to finish in the top three in both preliminary rounds. Breeders Crown elimination winner Strong Poison (7-2, Gingras, post one) and first-round winner Zanatta (9-2, Andy Miller, post seven) round out the top four morning line favorites.

Takter will have a second chance at a Kentucky Sire Stakes title in the male trot, carded as race four. Her Bestfriend Volo staved off multiple challengers en route to a 1:52.3 second-leg win after sweeping the New Jersey Maturity. Dexter Dunn drives the Walner-Bank Of Newport gelding, who is the 8-5 morning line choice, from post four. French Wine, who won in round one before lifting from the pocket to just miss Bestfriend Volo last week, is the 2-1 second choice from post seven for driver Andy Miller and trainer Julie Miller.

The mare trot likely goes through Mambacita, who is the 3-5 early choice in the six-horse field after sweeping the preliminary rounds with a pair of open-length victories. Dunn retains the drive of the Tactical Landing-Bill’s Lady mare for trainer Tony Alagna.

In total, over $540,000 will be at stake on the Monday card at Oak Grove. First post is 3 p.m. CDT (4 p.m. EDT); free past-performance pages and The Players’ Guide, featuring commentary from racing analyst Ray Cotolo, are available on the Oak Grove website (https://www.oakgrovegaming.com/racing/handicapping-resources/).