Sycamore stakes hosts rematch

Updated: October 20, 2010, 4:36 PM ET
By Marty McGee | Daily Racing Form



LEXINGTON, Ky. -- The sunshine boys, indeed. As nice as the weather has been since the Keeneland fall meet began Oct. 8, the old guys who figure as major contenders in the Grade 3 Sycamore Stakes will be in fitting roles when the sun is beaming into the grandstand on yet another sensational afternoon here Thursday.

Nine-year-old Brass Hat will square off against 8-year-old Musketier and 7-year-old Presious Passion in a compelling 16th running of the $100,000 Sycamore, a 1 1/2-mile turf race with all kinds of storylines aside from the obvious one. One other old-timer, Cloudy's Knight, was entered in the Sycamore but has been scratched after being forced into retirement because of a recurring injury.

Brass Hat, a $2.1 million earner and a stretch-runner, will break from post 5 with Calvin Borel aboard when seeking his first win in 17 months. The gelding sharpened last week with a bullet workout at Keeneland.

"If anyone saw his last work, they would have to know that he will be super tough in a very well-matched field," trainer Buff Bradley said.

Musketier (post 7, John Velazquez), trained by Canadian icon Roger Attfield, has been unraced since he was here to win the spring counterpart to the Sycamore, the Grade 2 Elkhorn, by 1 3/4 lengths over Brass Hat. The German-bred gray has had eight workouts at Woodbine in preparation for his return.

Presious Passion (post 6, Elvis Trujillo) is always fun to watch with his free-wheeling style, and he is sure to set the pace Thursday. The $2.6 million earner "looks like he needed" a Sept. 22 race at Delaware Park, according to trainer Mary Hartmann. The gelding has run some sensational races in the past, including a runner-up finish in the 2008 Breeders' Cup Turf.

The Sycamore goes as the eighth of nine races. The forecast calls for sun and a high of 71. First post Thursday is 1:15 p.m. Eastern.

Cloudy's Knight, the defending Sycamore champion, had been scheduled for a final pre-race workout Monday, but that was scrapped after the gelding returned from a strenuous Sunday gallop in less than ideal shape, according to Sheppard.

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