Image for Brian Zipse Brian Zipse - October 20, 2022

Raven Run Stakes (Keeneland): Freedom Speaks Has a Good Running Style

Raven Run Stakes Odds and Post Position

Check out our predictions and odds for the 2022 Raven Run Stakes at Keeneland!

PPHorseOddsJockeyTrainer
1UNION LAKE8/1
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J VelazquezJ P Terranova II
2SMASH TICKET5/1
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K CarmoucheR Atras
3REPUBLIQUE12/1
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J LeparouxS Joseph Jr
4LAST LEAF10/1
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M GarciaE Kenneally
5FINGAL’S CAVE5/1
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J RosarioD Donk
6COLORFUL MISCHIEF8/1
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G CorralesT Pletcher
7FREEDOM SPEAKS8/1
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F GerouxJ Engelhart
8WICKED HALO5/2
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T GaffalioneS Asmussen
9MIDNIGHT STROLL6/1
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L SaezJ P Terranova II

Raven Run Stakes Predictions and Best Bets

Here are my plays ($60 in total)

$5 Exacta Box - Freedom Speaks, Wicked Halo and Fingal’s Cave = $30

$5 Exacta Box - Freedom Speaks, Wicked Halo and Midnight Stroll = $30

If you're playing only to win, go with my top pick Freedom Speaks (8/1).

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Raven Run Stakes Predictions

Wicked Halo, who comes in off three consecutive stakes victories, headliness a field of nine 3-year-old fillies entered in Saturday’s Grade 3 Raven Run Stakes at Keeneland.

Trained by Steve Asmussen, Wicked Halo was the winner of the Grade 2 Prioress at Saratoga last out, after easily having won a pair of listed stakes races at Churchill Downs before that.

A four-time stakes winner overall, the daughter of Gun Runner also won the Grade 2 Adirondack Stakes at Saratoga last year.

Chief among her competition in the 7-furlong test is the unbeaten New York-bred Fingal’s Cave. Perfect in four career starts, she ships in from New York for trainer David Donk.
The daughter of Carpe Diem enters the $350,000 Raven Run off a victory in the 9-furlong Fleet Indian against fellow state-breds eight weeks ago at Saratoga.

One of two for trainer John Terranova II, Midnight Stroll finished third to the soon to be Grade 1 winner Society last time in the 7-furlong Charles Town Oaks.

Before that the two-time stakes winning daughter of Not This Time was a game winner of the Grade 3 Delaware Oaks.

Raven Run Stakes Predictions and Race Analysis

Wicked Halo

After being a graded stakes winner at 2, this gray daughter of Gun Runner has regained her best form and comes into the Raven Run on a roll. Trained by Steve Asmussen, she has won three consecutive stakes races.

The first two came at distances of seven furlongs and one mile, both at Churchill Downs. While the most recent was the Grade 2 Prioress going six furlongs at Saratoga. In each of those wins, she was able to stay close to the early pace before pouncing to the lead.

From a form, class and race set-up perspective, she looks tough in here, as she makes her first career start at Keeneland. She is the one to beat, but she is not unbeatable.

Fingal’s Cave

This New York-bred filly comes in off consecutive victories going nine furlongs at Saratoga. The cut back in distance should not be a problem, though, as the daughter of Carpe Diem’s first two wins came impressively in sprints.

I actually believe she won the last two on talent, rather an affinity for the longer distance, so the seven furlong trip could be ideal for the David Donk-trainee.

Unbeaten in four career starts, she will be tested for class on Saturday, as her only previous stakes effort came against fellow state-breds last time in the Fleet Indian Stakes, but her speed figures fit in with this field.

Smash Ticket

This speedy daughter of Midnight Lute is perfect in three starts this year, all while running six furlongs or less. The seven furlongs of the Raven Run will actually be farther than she has ever run before.

Most recently she ran away and hid from her competition in a minor stakes races at Pimlico. This will clearly be a bump up in class for her as she faces her toughest test to date. Last year, she was well beaten in her only graded stakes try, but she was hampered that afternoon by a rough start.

She is clearly going good now, but must answer both the class and the distance question. With her speed and perfect record this season, she is a threat here, but I do like a few others better.

Midnight Stroll

A daughter of Not This Time, this filly is the first of two from trainer John Terranova II. A two-time stakes winner, she won the Grade 3 Delaware Oaks two starts back. That victory came at 8 1/2-furlongs, but her earlier stakes victory was at the seven furlong distance.

Last out she rallied from last to finish a well-beaten third behind the very talented Society in the Grade 3 Charles Town Oaks. There is no one as good as Society in here, but still I think she will need to improve to beat these.

She’s a pretty class filly, though, and one that should be running down the stretch. I will include her in the exotics on Saturday.

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Freedom Speaks

Trained by Jeremiah Engelhart, this gray daughter of American Freedom has put together three wins and a second in four starts since making her career debut only five months ago. Interestingly, the wins have come on either an all-weather surface or turf, so she has never won on dirt.

Having said that, it looks like she can handle any surface. Her only dirt start was a pretty good runner-up effort behind Last Leaf in the Game Face Stakes at Gulfstream, in what was only her second career start.

Most recently, she finished strongly to win a 6 1/2-furlong turf stake at Kentucky Downs and beat a good filly to do it. She’s sharp, and appears to have a good running style for the seven furlongs. She is the top pick.

Union Lake

The second from the Terranova barn, this one has only run four times in her career with two wins. After two wins in a row going six furlongs in New York, in a maiden race and then an allowance, she tested graded stakes company last out and succumbed to Wicked Halo in the Grade 3 Prioress.

Third that day, perhaps the experience will make her tougher this time out as she stretches out to seven furlongs for the first time. One of the quicker fillies in the race, look for her to be involved early.

With other good speed in the race, though, I believe she will have her work cut out for her as she tries to turn the tables on the favorite.

Colorful Mischief

This Todd Pletcher-trained filly got her first taste of graded stakes company when she finished a decent third behind Echo Zulu in the Grade 3 Dogwood Stakes last month.

A daughter of Into Mischief, she was coming off an allowance win at Saratoga in the outing before. Overall, she has won two of five with three thirds.

I’m not sure that she will do better than a minor award here, but the well-bred filly is eligible to improve. It’s also worth noting that her two wins both came at the 7-furlong distance. She is not out of this.

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Last Leaf

Easily the most experienced filly in the field, this daughter of Not This Time has won stakes races at Gulfstream Park on both the turf and dirt. A seven-time winner overall, she also defeated Freedom Speaks back in late spring. I think that one is getting better, however.

After coming north to win the listed Audubon Oaks at Ellis Park, she was no match last time when she moved up in class to face the returning champion Echo Zulu in the Dogwood Stakes at Churchill Downs.

This could be an easier spot, but it’s a deep field and she will need to run better than she did there to win this. One of many here with a chance, I am siding against her in this spot.

Republique

This Saffie Joseph, Jr. trained runner comes in off a nice rallying allowance win at Churchill Downs. It was her third win in five career starts.

Both of her previous stakes tries, though, she ended up well beaten while running a little longer, once on dirt and once on turf. The last race is good enough to consider here, as perhaps she prefers to sprint.

The question for the daughter of Strong Mandate appears to be class, and having been beaten so clearly by Midnight Stroll in the Delaware Oaks, my feeling is that she will fall short against a field this talented.

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How to watch the Raven Run Stakes

Sands Point Stakes Race Information
WhatRaven Run Stakes (Grade 2)
LocationKeeneland
TimeSaturday, October 22 -- 5:16pm Eastern time
How to WatchTVG
Purse$350,000
Image for Brian Zipse

AUTHOR

Brian Zipse

219 Articles

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.

Email: [email protected]

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