04/23/2010 12:00AM

Musketier beats Brass Hat in Elkhorn

Musketier wins the Grade 2 Elkhorn Stakes at Keeneland Friday under jockey John Velazquez.

LEXINGTON, Ky. - Closing day at Keeneland on Friday turned into old-timers day, as Musketier, a relative youngster of 8, beat 9-year-old Brass Hat to take the Grade 2, $200,000 Elkhorn Stakes for long-distance grass runners.

Musketier, making his first start since October, made a powerful run on the last of three turns to take the lead into the stretch, then safely held off a belated bid from Brass Hat to win by 1 3/4 lengths. Blushing Bear was another three-quarters of a length back in third. Sudden War, the 3-1 favorite, faded to finish ninth in the field of 12.

Musketier completed 1 1/2 miles on the firm turf course in 2:31.32. John Velazquez was aboard for trainer Roger Attfield.

Attfield said Musketier had not raced in more than six months because he emerged "body-sore" from the Turf Classic at Belmont Park, which was run over a deep, tiring turf course in a driving rain.

"He was very, very muscle-sore," Attfield said. "About a month ago, he started to come around and started training forwardly."

The victory was the seventh in 34 lifetime starts for Musketier, a German-bred horse who began his career in Europe. He finished second in the Elkhorn last year, then went on to win the Singspiel at Woodbine and finish second in the Man o' War at Belmont Park.

Buff Bradley, who trains Brass Hat, was thrilled with the veteran gelding's race. It was his second start following a 6 1/2-month layoff.

"Second race back, he fired," Bradley said.

Brass Hat, who has earned more than $2 million, was born and raised at the farm of Bradley's father, Fred, in Frankfort, Ky. There will be a party honoring Brass Hat at the Bradley farm on Monday evening.