Predicteform Raven Run Analysis


La Madrina (above winning an allowance race at Belmont Park on Sept. 10) looks like a filly headed in the right direction entering Saturday's Raven Run Stakes at Keeneland Race Course. (Photo by Adam Coglianese/NYRA)

The Lexus Raven Run Stakes is a Grade 2 race for 3-year-old fillies going 7 furlongs at Keeneland Race Course with a purse of $250,000.

Keeneland made the move from Polytrack, which was an all-weather, synthetic racing surface, to a dirt main track at the start of the fall meet just a few weeks ago. Given that there is a full field of 13 runners, we'll highlight some of the top contenders.

Click here to get the Pace Figures and Past Performances for the Lexus Raven Run Stakes.

Thank You Marylou (5-1)

One of two runners also pre-entered in the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint, Thank You Marylou took a shot at elite 3-year-old filly Untapable to no avail in the Kentucky Oaks. She has knocked around in graded stakes races at 1 1/16 miles and 1 1/8 miles before her last two starts at 7 furlongs.

Seven furlongs is a rare distance, a little longer than a sprint but by no means a route, so a runner who shows prowess at the distance is a strong positive. She is 2-for-3 lifetime at 7 furlongs and the only multiple time winner at the distance in the field.


Reed Palmer/Churchill Downs

Turning to her Pace Figures, there is a whole lot to like. Notice the three highest Pace Figures of her career come at this distance, most recently a 76.4/78.4 with a New Pace Top Form Cycle Pattern (NPT is when a horse runs its fastest 4f figure of its career without a final figure that is an exceeding top). This pattern is a strong indication of forward progress, especially with young horses.

Taking a deeper look at her last race, she ran a 77.7 2f, 78.4 4f, 73.5 6f and a final figure of 76.4. This shows both speed and closing ability, a perfect mix at this distance. The only real knock on Thank You Marylou is she is unproven in Grade 2 company, but the quality of her last race supersedes that. She returns to jockey Alan Garcia, who rode her twice early in her career with a win and a third in two starts, and has a series of two bullet workouts on the Churchill Downs training track.


The Play: Contender - Competitive final figure combined with a NPT Form Cycle Pattern and 5-1 morning-line odds make her the top pick.

La Madrina (8-1)

A late developing 3-year-old filly, La Madrina has done things the right way by moving up smartly through her conditions (maiden, non-winners of one race other than maiden, then NW of two races) as she takes her first shot in a graded stakes race. She is the third foal out of Enchanted Rock (mother) who already has produced two special colts (and her two half-brothers). El Padrino (2009) is a Grade 2 winner who ran in the 2012 Kentucky Derby. Verrazano is a multiple Grade 1 winner who won the Wood Memorial and Haskell Invitational Stakes in 2013 and finished fourth in the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile last year behind Goldencents. The same breeder, Emory Hamilton, is responsible for all three, and he still owns La Madrina.

Her Pace Figures show consistent improvement with three Form Cycle Patterns in her first three starts. Her last race of 75/71.5 (final/4f) could have been considered a Reversal Pattern (REV - the first time a runner has a bigger final figure than 4f figure), but her first-out effort was a rare COMP* Pattern (when a first-time starter runs a faster final figure than 4f figure). La Madrina adds an extra half-furlong from 6.5 to 7, which will help her off-the-pace, stalking style. Leading U.S. rider Javier Castellano makes the trip to Lexington, Ky., to stay on board as the jockey, another positive sign.

The Play: Contender - Breeding, Pace Figures, running style, top jock combine to make her one of the top two contenders, even though it is unlikely she will go off near her 8-1 morning-line odds.

Cassatt (10-1)

The only runner from her dam (mother), Cassatt showed steady, forward progress winning the Grade 3 Monmouth Oaks before running into the top 3-year-old filly in the country, Untapable, in the Grade 1 Cotillion Stakes. While her jockey has yet to compete against the best in the country, her trainer, Larry Jones, has built a career with young fillies.

Her Pace Figures are consistent within the race at the 2f, 4f, 6f and final figures, while her final figures are also consistent in each of her five starts. The regression to 72.2 on Aug. 9 was expected off the DTOP and her ability to bounce back to a 74.6 final figure in her last start looks like the foundation for a forward move.

The Play: Longshot - Expected improvement is mitigated by her jockey, which is also a positive as she is sure to go off at longer odds than her 10-1 on the morning line. 

Taris (8-1)

Bred by the legendary Claiborne Farm (you can often tell as they usually give their horses a one word name) and Adele Dilschneider, Taris and her family on her dam's side (mother) look like turf all the way. In most cases, this is a runner we would pass on, however there are two interesting notes to keep an eye on.

First off, her last race Final Pace Figure was a 79/83.1 without a Form Cycle Pattern. Keep in mind that it was on the synthetic at Presque Isle Downs against a bunch of lesser horses, but she did it easily. She also shows two bullet workouts on the Penn National surface, an indication that a strong performance on dirt might be a possibility.

The Play: Longshot - If she takes to the surface, she has the speed to control the race. Though unlikely, hefty odds well beyond her 8-1 morning line would be needed.

Sweet Whiskey (8-1)

Trained by the leading trainer in the U.S., Todd Pletcher, Sweet Whiskey has competed in Grade 1 and 2 races against the best 3-year-old fillies with some modicum of success. While her Pace Figures are heading the absolutely wrong direction, there are two points to note.

Her last effort of 70.7/78.3 was the second-lowest final figure of her career. If you look back to her race on April 13, she also ran a 70 final figure, which she improved on strongly to a lifetime top of 76.8 in her next race. She adds an extra furlong and gets Rosie Napravnik for the first time from John Velazquez. Napravnik is known to get along very well with fillies while Velazquez has made a career out of really pushing horses to be forwardly placed. It would not be surprising to see Rosie lay off the pace, which could rejuvenate this runner. Lastly, she sports the fastest final and 4 furlong figure of all the horses in their first race. This is important, as she has shown twice in her career an ability to run 77. The 49 days in between starts usually is a negative, but not for trainer Todd Pletcher.

The Play: Longshot - Keep an eye on the tote-board odds, if she goes off close to double-digits or higher, there is value underneath.

$250,000 Lexus Raven Run Stakes
Saturday, Keeneland, Race 9, 5:13 p.m. ET
7 furlongs, dirt, 3-year-old fillies








Corey Lanerie


Eddie Kenneally


Thank You Marylou

Alan Garcia


Mike Maker



Brian Hernandez Jr.


Ian Wilkes


Pirate's Trove

Florent Geroux


Michael Stidham



Clinton Potts


Todd Beattie


Divided Attention

Julien Leparoux


Kiaran McLaughlin



James Graham


Gary Contessa



Kerwin Clark


Larry Jones


Courageous Julie

Paco Lopez


D. Wayne Lukas


La Madrina

Javier Castellano


Shug McGaughey


Miss Behaviour

Sheldon Russell


Phil Schoenthal


Sweet Whiskey

Rosie Napravnik


Todd Pletcher



Joe Bravo


Simon Callaghan


newsletter sign-up

Stay up-to-date with the best from America's Best Racing!