Keeneland: How to bet the Raven Run Stakes
When handicappers analyze Saturday’s $200,000 Raven Run (G2) for 3-year-old fillies at Keeneland, you can bet the majority will settle on #5 Venetian Harbor as the most likely winner.
What’s not to like? A daughter of talented sprinter/miler Munnings, Venetian Harbor has knocked heads with elite competition this year. After she dominated the Las Virgenes (G2) at Santa Anita, Venetian Harbor finished second in the Fantasy (G3), Ashland (G1), and Test (G1), behind Swiss Skydiver, Speech, and Gamine, three of the best sophomore fillies in training.
The slight drop in class for the 7-furlong Raven Run should make Venetian Harbor tough to beat. She has plenty of speed, she has drawn favorably in the middle of the pack, and she brings five straight Brisnet Speed ratings of 98 or better. Venetian Harbor is the fastest filly on paper and has been training sharply, so it’s going to take a big effort to beat her.
#2 Four Graces might just be up to the task. An improving daughter of the ultra-fast Majesticperfection, Four Graces boasts four wins from five starts record sprinting 7 furlongs. A dominant, frontrunning winner of the Dogwood (G3) and Beaumont (G3), Four Graces arguably ran her most impressive race when beaten in the Sept. 4 Eight Belles (G2) at Churchill Downs.
Off a two-month layoff for the Eight Belles, Four Graces hooked up with the talented Mundaye Call in a blazing speed duel. She rocketed the half-mile in :44.14 and 6 furlongs in 1:08.52. Despite the intensity of the pace, Four Graces held well to finish clearly second-best, beaten just 2 1/4 lengths by a late-rallying winner.
Venetian Harbor and Four Graces appear to rank a cut above their rivals, so the Raven Run may come down to whichever filly wins the battle for early supremacy. Overall form lines — and the Brisnet E1 and E2 Pace ratings — suggest Venetian Harbor has an edge. But Venetian Harbor has been running long for most of the season, which makes Four Graces’ sprint-oriented résumé appealing.
I’ll side with the price play and make Four Graces the key to my tickets. I'll bet her with Venetian Harbor and California raider #10 Secret Keeper in the exacta.
$5 exacta box: 2,10 ($10)
$15 exacta: 2 with 5