It was no surprise trainer Mike Maker, whose knack with long-distance turf runners has been evident for some time, captured Saturday’s $250,000 Elkhorn (G2) at Keeneland. However, it was the least fancied of his three entrants, Bigger Picture, who registered a 7-1 upset in the 1 1/2-mile race.
Fifth passing the stands for the first time under Tyler Gaffalione, Bigger Picture saved ground into the second turn and down the backside. Getting off the inside on the final turn, Bigger Picture made a five-wide bid entering the stretch and wore down another 7-1 chance, Red Knight, to win by a half-length. Zulu Alpha, the 6-5 favorite trained by Maker, finished another half-length behind in third.
Owned by Three Diamonds Farm, Bigger Picture paid $16.60 after completing the course in 2:32 on yielding ground.
This was the first win in four starts over the Keeneland turf for Bigger Picture, who has won three straight renewals of the John B. Connally Turf Cup (G3) at Sam Houston and also accounted for the 2017 United Nations (G1) and 2016 Red Smith H. (G3). After winning the Connally on January 27, Bigger Picture finished seventh in the Pan American (G2) at Gulfstream Park.
“I think he was compromised last time by a slow pace and maybe he just hates Gulfstream,” Maker said. “After a few years of him telling me ‘No more Gulfstream,’ I think I’ll listen to him.”
In addition to his six stakes victories, Bigger Picture has placed in eight other graded events. Two of those came in the Sycamore (G3) at Keeneland, a race Maker suggested he would target in October. An eight-year-old gelding, Bigger Picture has now earned $1,646,635 from a line of 40-13-7-5.
Bred in Kentucky by Ken and Sarah Ramsey, Bigger Picture is by Badge of Silver and out of Glory Dancer, an Honour and Glory half-sister to 1989 Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) winner Dancing Spree. His fourth dam was 1966 champion three-year-old filly Lady Pitt.