The $250,000 Raven Run Stakes (G2) will be run at seven furlongs for three-year-old fillies on the main track at Keeneland. The Saturday feature race comes up especially strong since many of the connections decided to stay home with their age group instead of going to Santa Anita for the Breeders’ Cup where they would have to face older rivals.
#1 ROYAL CHARLOTTE won her first four career starts including a Grade 3 stakes at Belmont Park in good time. In the Test Stakes (G1), which turned out to be super competitive, she chased the pace and fell apart in the stretch. The Chad Brown runner returned in the Prioress Stakes (G2) going six furlongs, winning handily against a small field. She picks up Tyler Gaffalione and owns a win over Keeneland’s main track.
#2 BELL’S THE ONE won her first four career starts on dirt, synthetic and turf, including an entry-level allowance at Keeneland last fall. She was soundly beaten going two turns here in the Ashland Stakes (G1) then came back with a good second at this distance in a Grade 2 stakes at Churchill Downs. The bay filly faltered when stretching out to a mile against Grade 1 rivals and was a distant second to a fast winner at seven furlongs last time.
#3 INDIAN PRIDE went off at 3-5 odds in her career debut at Saratoga and lived up to the advance billing, romping by eight lengths in fast time going six furlongs. She has trained brilliantly since then for Brown and picks up Johnny Velazquez, who has been getting more live mounts from Brown lately. A homebred daughter of Proud Citizen, Indian Pride gives up a lot of experience to her rivals but her talent is immense and if she shows the usual improvement second-time starters do, she will be tough in here.
#4 OXY LADY won a Grade 3 stakes when blinkers were added last fall but has performed inconsistently since then. She just missed two starts back then failed to stretch out going two turns at Oaklawn Park. On her best effort, Oxy Lady rates a marginal contender, but she has too many bad races on her card.
#5 FREE COVER beat allowance foes in decent time two starts back going 6 ½ furlongs at Ellis Park then made her stakes debut last out in the Dogwood Stakes going this distance behind Bell’s the One. She has the look of an improving filly, but has to take another step forward here to run with these.
#6 RESTLESS RIDER won her career debut and has run well fresh before. She captured a Grade 1 stakes race here going two turns and ran well in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Filly (G1) behind a front-end winner. Off for more than four months, Restless Rider just missed here going two turns against Grade 1 company but could not overcome post 14 in the nine-furlong Kentucky Oaks (G1). Off for 169 days, the daughter of Distorted Humor returns for Ken McPeek, who has been drilling her hard in the morning.
#7 ISTAN COUNCIL broke her maiden at Keeneland last year but has finished off the board in two tries against stakes company. She did win by 10 lengths two starts back going a two-turn mile at Ellis Park when she earned a BRIS Speed rating of 101. Istan Council already had 12 career starts so it’s unlikely she improves much more.
#8 FIRST STAR rallied from just off the pace to break her maiden first time out at 27-1 going 6 ½ furlongs at Del Mar. She came back against allowance foes and won going two turns in a wide trip from post nine. Off for 57 days, she returns for Ron Ellis off a series of six-furlong workouts and Drayden Van Dyke is back to ride – flat-bet profit with 148 sprint rides this year.
#9 HOROLOGIST won three races in a row including a Grade 3 stakes race going two turns at Monmouth Park before posting a good third against a fabulous field in the Cotillion Stakes (G1) last out. She has run well lately but is it due to stretching out? If it is, turning back to a sprint might not work for her.
#10 NEEDS SUPERVISION has raced on five different main tracks and fired every time. She returned off a long layoff last out with a good second in fast time going six furlongs and shows some fast workouts since then. Daughter of Paynter will have to keep improving, but at least she is versatile.
#11 IRISH MISCHIEF added blinkers three starts back and finished a good second. She went to Ellis Park and easily won going six furlongs then was second around two turns in a Grade 3 stakes on a muddy track at the Charlestown. The Brad Cox-trainee picks up Mike Smith for the first time.
Top Picks for the Raven Run Stakes
- #6 Restless Rider
- #3 Indian Pride
- #1 Royal Charlotte
- #8 First Star
Raven Run Stakes Bets:
- $50 Win: #6