A pair of Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve runners from last season, plus one from 2017, are scheduled to meet April 13 at Keeneland when Flameaway, Solomini, and Hence start in the $200,000 Ben Ali Stakes.
Flameaway (13th in 2018 Kentucky Derby) and Solomini (10th), the top two morning-line choices at 3-1 and 7-2, respectively, enter Saturday's 1 1/8-mile test for older horses off March victories, while Hence (11th in 2017) enters as a longshot.
For John Oxley's Flameaway, that recent score came in the March 9 Challenger Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs after the Scat Daddy colt finished third in his seasonal debut Feb. 16 in the Mineshaft Handicap at Fair Grounds Race Course. Trained by Mark Casse, Flameaway has raced well in his two Keeneland efforts, winning an off-the-turf edition of the Dixiana Bourbon Stakes as a juvenile and finishing second to Good Magic in last year's Toyota Blue Grass Stakes.
Solomini, a son of Curlin campaigned by Zayat Stables and Coolmore-affiliated owners Susan Magnier, Michael Tabor, and Derrick Smith, rallied from fifth to post a clear victory in an allowance optional-claiming race March 3 at Santa Anita Park. That followed a seasonal debut in which Solomini finished third in an allowance race at the Southern California track.
Trained by Bob Baffert, Solomini finished first but was disqualified to third in the Los Alamitos CashCall Futurity as a juvenile and placed third in the 2018 Arkansas Derby. The Ben Ali will be Solomini's first start at Keeneland.
Two-time Grade 3 winner Hence is trained by Steve Asmussen and most recently finished eighth in the Essex Handicap at Oaklawn Park in his seasonal debut. He’s listed at 8-1 on the morning line.
The expected field of 11 also includes Nun the Less, who since December has won a pair of stakes at Turfway Park; and Bonus Points, the 2017 Maryland Million Classic Stakes winner.