Raven Run Stakes (Keeneland) Predictions, Odds & Picks
If you're playing only to win, go with my top pick Secret Keeper (6/1)
Post Position and Odds – Raven Run Stakes
Check out our predictions and odds for the 2020 Raven Run Stakes at Keeneland!
|R Albarado||V Oliver|
|J Leparoux||I Wilkes|
|T Gaffalione||C Brown|
|R Santana Jr.||S Amussen|
|M Franco||R Baltas|
|F Geroux||C DeVaux|
|R Bejarano||S Joseph Jr.|
|C Lanerie||E Harty|
|9||GRAND CRU CLASSE||8/1|
|M Garcia||W Mott|
|B Hernandez Jr.||C Sise Jr.|
Best Bets for the Raven Run Stakes
Here are my plays ($45 in total)
$10 Exacta part wheel – Secret Keeper over Four Graces, Venetian Harbor and Reagan’s Edge = $30
$5 Exacta part wheel – Four Graces, Venetian Harbor and Reagan’s Edge over Secret Keeper = $15
Secret Keeper 6/1
Venetian Harbor and Four Graces, both impressive graded stakes winners earlier this year, figure to vie for favoritism in a contentious edition of the Grade 2 Raven Run Stakes on Saturday at Keeneland.
Venetian Harbor will be making her second straight start at 7 furlongs and could wind up the top choice in the field of ten when the gates are sprung. The runaway winner of the Grade 2 Las Virgenes earlier this season also finished second to Speech in the Ashland (G1) and to the Preakness hero Swiss Skydiver in the Fantasy since her last victory for trainer Richard Baltas.
Meanwhile, Four Graces was a sharp winner of 7 furlong Beaumont (G3) at Keeneland two starts back. Before that, the half-sister to McCraken also won the Dogwood (G3) at Churchill Downs. Most recently she finished second in the Eight Belles (G2), also at Churchill Downs
After the top two, there are plenty of other options to like in the $200,000 test. Among them are a couple of fillies coming off solid second-place finishes. Secret Keeper won her first two starts in Southern California before running second to the highly regarded Harvest Moon in the Torrey Pines (G3), while Reagan’s Edge finished a good second behind Frank’s Rockette in consecutive graded stakes in New York.
Adding class to the deep field is Finite and Tonalist’s Shape who are both multiple graded stakes winners looking to regain their best form.
How to Watch the Raven Run Stakes
|Raven Run Stakes Information|
|What||Raven Run Stakes (G2)|
|When||Saturday, October 17 — 5:30pm Eastern time|
|How to Watch||TVG|
After blowing the doors off her competition in consecutive starts in Southern California, including a 9-length romp in the Las Virgenes, the daughter of Munnings has kept the very best of company. Unfortunately, she has not been able to keep up with the likes of Swiss Skydiver, Speech, and Gamine down the stretch in her last three. The good news is that those are three of the best fillies in the nation, and she was able to be much the best of the rest in all three races. Saturday’s Raven Run may not have the likes of those three, but it does have a deep field of talented fillies. In class, she is the one to beat, but this will become no simple task if she hooks up with Four Graces early.
Last time she was at Keeneland, the well-bred filly from the barn of Ian Wilkes set a track record. She’s had one race since, and while she didn’t win, she battled on a torrid pace in the Eight Belles and held well to finish second. She clearly likes both the track and the distance, but the one thing to fear is another hotly contested pace. If either her or Venetian Harbor back off early, it would make the other’s job much easier. I don’t really expect that to happen which should make both talented favorites vulnerable in the late stages of this tough, 7-furlong race.
While the top two have certainly accomplished more so far in their respective careers, this young filly looks like a real up and comer. After two sharp wins, while sprinting to begin her career, she was stretched out to a mile in her third career start. She dueled before finally succumbing to the winner late. The winner, Harvest Moon, came back with a very big win in her next start. I’m not sure that this one is any easier, but the experience should do her a world of good. I also like the fact that in each of her wins she was able to stay just off the pace before taking control. That should be a good recipe for success on Saturday. She is the top pick to upset the favorites.
Another filly to take a serious look at in the Raven Run, she has been consistent all five of her starts sprinting. She’s also proven to be a solid graded stakes performer with a pair of good seconds in New York stakes races. Like Secret Keeper, she has shown the ability to lay off the early pace and make her move. She could never quite catch Frank’s Rockette, but that is another of the fastest fillies in the country. If the pace set-up is right, this may be a great spot for her to rally and earn her first stakes score.
Grand Cru Classe
Undefeated in three starts, the daughter of Bernardini will get tested for class on Saturday. Interestingly, she is dropping back in distance after winning her first stakes race last time at 8 ½ furlongs. That came at Laurel, where she beat some decent fillies, but I do think this one is another full cut above. She’s shown good speed in her first three wins but might need to kick it down the stretch here, as I’m not certain she will be able to keep up with the top pair early.
A winner of five straight races, four of which were stakes, through February of this year, she will need to prove that she hasn’t lost a step. She returned from a six-month layoff to run dead last in a stakes race at Kentucky Downs, but that race was on the grass. She’s probably better on dirt, so she should improve. Still, this looks like a tricky sport for a filly who did her best running at a mile or more.
Trainer Chad Brown gives this daughter of Into Mischief another shot at graded stakes racing after running fourth last time behind Frank’s Rockette and Reagan’s Edge at Saratoga. Saturday will be her third start off the layoff, so the lightly raced filly certainly is eligible for a step forward, but she will need to improve a bunch because this field is even deeper than the one she faced in New York.
A very interesting entrant in the field is this filly who competed in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf last fall. She failed that day and was not seen again for more than ten months. When she did come back, she took no time to return to her winning ways with a sharp allowance score at Churchill Downs. That win gave her victories on turf, dirt, and a synthetic racing surface. She clearly has talent, but this will be a tough test in her second start back..
Like Finite, she has plenty of stakes wins in her past performances. The problem is that it really appears none of them came against the type of competition she will see in the Raven Run. In fact, it looks like she has wanted no part of it when facing top-notch fillies. She had a little trouble last time, so perhaps that loss can be excused, but overall this looks like a tough spot for a filly who has already run a lot this year.
You know it is a deep and talented race when a filly like this is the longest shot on the board. It took her some time to finally break her maiden, but when she did, it was by 7 lengths. She backed up the nice win with a solid performance to finish third in the Eight Belles at Churchill Downs. She is on the improve but still looks a cut below these on the class scale.
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Taken to the races at a very young age, Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Professionally, his work has been published on several leading industry sites. Brian served as the Editor of Horse Racing Nation from 2010-2017, where he still writes a regular column and hosts the popular weekly webcast HorseCenter.
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