McKinzie Meets 'Standards' in Alysheba

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McKinzie | Benoit

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As a multiple Grade I winner with 11 triple-digit Beyer figures to his name, McKinzie (Street Sense) has well established himself as a force in the older male division. But showing a pair of off-the-board finishes in three starts this season, he will be out looking for a bit of redemption when he returns to the site and race that produced his track-record setting performance last spring in Friday's GII Alysheba S. at Churchill Downs.

Racking up powerful victories in the GI Pennsylvania Derby and GI Malibu S. as a sophomore, the 'TDN Rising Star' began his 4-year-old season with a pair of close seconds at Santa Anita before shipping into Louisville. Bursting clear in the stretch from Tom's d'Etat (Blame), he hit the wire 4 3/4 lengths to the good, setting a new 1 1/16-mile mark in 1:41.10. Runner-up with some traffic trouble in the GI Runhappy Metropolitan H., he annexed the GI Whitney S. before two more seconds in the GI Awesome Again S. and GI Longines Breeders' Cup Classic. This season, however, he was 11th in the G1 Saudi Cup and, after scoring in the GII Triple Bend S., was fifth in the Met Mile, two of just three times in his career he's been worse than second.

If McKinzie is the established veteran, By My Standards (Goldencents) is the charging upstart. A 22-1 upsetter of the GII Louisiana Derby last spring, the Bret Calhoun trainee made no impact when 12th in the GI Kentucky Derby and was shelved for the rest of his 3-year-old season. Returning with a sharp six-length optional claiming success at Fair Grounds, he repeated in the GII New Orleans Classic S. and GII Oaklawn H. Unable to threaten Tom's d'Etat when second in the GII Stephen Foster S., he turned the tables on that rival in a strong runner-up effort last out in the GI Whitney S. at Saratoga. He tuned up for this return home with a best-of-94 half-mile breeze in :46 1/5 under the Twin Spires Aug. 28.

Mr Freeze (To Honor and Serve) and Owendale (Into Mischief) rate outside chances. The former, an enigmatic sort capable of blowout wins on his good days as shown by his 107 Beyer in a GII Gulfstream Park Mile S. romp three back, was third to By My Standards at Oaklawn before running sixth in the Met Mile in his last two. The latter, a three-time victor at the Grade III level, rallied furiously from last to get up in the local Blame S. going a flat mile May 23, but made no dent when fifth in the Stephen Foster.

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