The $200,000, Grade 2 Lexus Raven Run Stakes is usually a showcase of some of the top filly sprinters in North America and this year’s edition Saturday at Keeneland Race Course is no exception. Four of the 10 entered are graded stakes winners, with another four having finished in the money in graded stakes so far in their careers.
In terms of career earnings, Finite leads the group with over $650,000 in the bank, most of it earned winning the Grade 2 Rachel Alexandra Stakes Presented by Fasig-Tipton in February. Venetian Harbor won the Grade 2 Las Virgenes Stakes in February and enters this race off a fine second behind Gamine in the Grade 1 Longines Test Stakes. Tonalist’s Shape brings a 6-for-9 record with her including a win in the Grade 2 Davona Dale Stakes in February, and she encountered significant traffic trouble in the Grade 3 Charles Town Oaks to finish an unlucky fifth in her most recent race. Four Graces won the Grade 3 Beaumont Stakes Presented by Keeneland Select at this distance at Keeneland in July and was most recently second in the Grade 2 Eight Belles Stakes Presented by Twinspires.com. Never Forget finished third in the Eight Belles and hopes to improve, as does Grade 2 Prioress Stakes fourth-place finisher Secondary Market. Fair Maiden just missed in the Grade 1 Natalma Stakes 13 months ago and won following 10 months off in September, so she could get back to stakes quality form. Grand Cru Classe won the Weber City Miss Stakes last month and is racing in a graded stakes for the first time. Reagan’s Edge hasn’t won a stakes race yet but finished second in the Grade 2 Prioress Stakes in her most recent start. Secret Keeper also finished second last time out, in the Grade 3 Torrey Pines Stakes, and these last two appear to be strong contenders in a very deep field.
Reagan’s Edge has finished second in two straight stakes races to Frank’s Rockette, arguably the top 3-year-old filly sprinter in North America. Frank’s Rockette would be the prohibitive favorite here and since she’s not running in this race, Reagan’s Edge is going to be tough to beat. She’s earned 105 and 103 Equibase Speed Figures in her last two races, the lowest of which is higher than any other horse’s last two figures. We call this a “Double Advantage” and that’s another reason Reagan’s Edge gets top billing as a win contender, because it means other horses in the field have to improve significantly to run faster in order to beat this filly.
Secret Keeper won the first two starts of her career with 90 and 96 figures. In her third start she improved to a 98 figure when second in the Torrey Pines Stakes to Harvest Moon, who then improved seven points to win the Grade 1 Zenyatta Stakes. If Secret Keeper continues her pattern and moves up like Harvest Moon did, she’s going to run as fast as a 105 figure, which is as good as Reagan’s Edge earned in the best of her last two starts. As such, Secret Keeper must be considered as logical to win this year’s Lexus Raven Run Stakes as Reagan’s Edge.
Four Graces won the similar Grade 3 Beaumont Stakes at this seven-furlong trip at the July Keeneland meeting, earning a 99 figure, then improved again to career-best 102 figure effort when second in the Eight Belles Stakes last month. Excluding the one race in which she tried to run farther than this seven furlong distance, Four Graces has won four races and finished second in the other, so deserves a lot of respect in this year’s Raven Run Stakes.
The rest of the field, with their best Equibase Speed Figures, is Fair Maiden (100), Finite (101), Grand Cru Classe (92), Never Forget (98), Secondary Market (99), Tonalist’s Shape (95) and Venetian Harbor (107).