The Lexus Raven RunWritten by Jon Stettin
It is uncanny how horses can humble us all. If you could have bet the Haygard Fayette Stakes at Keeneland last weekend when they were turning for home most would have joined me on board with Aurelius Maximus. It appeared he had collared Mr. Freeze and was well on his way to a win. Of course, Mr. Freeze who I loved on Derby weekend said no not today, and re rallied turning back Aurelius Maximus who ran huge in defeat.
This weekend I’ll take a look at another Keeneland Stake, the Raven Run. I think the favorite and second choice are both vulnerable so why not take a swing?
Never Forget goes from the rail under Robby Albarado fresh off his brilliant Preakness winning ride. The rail is tough going 7 at Keeneland, and this one looks in over her head to me.
Four Graces is one for one at Keeneland having won the Grade 3 Beaumont back in July. She’ll be the second choice. I don’t like the trip I project for her. She’ll be close or pressing from the inside under Leparoux, and I don’t like the scenario. She’s four for six lifetime, so she knows where the wire is, but I have to look elsewhere in here.
Secondary Market is where I land. She’s third off the lay-off for Chad Brown who I have no problem playing on the dirt. This lightly Into Mischief filly is fast and improving. She has a perfect style for this in that she can sit just off the pace bit close enough to ride the speed friendly Keeneland dirt without getting compromised. She’ll get the jump on the closers and Tyler is riding great. She chased Frank’s Rockette last out and she’d be awfully tough in here. She gets to go 7 for the first time and I think that will be ideal. 12-1 on the morning line looks too long for me but I’d be happy with 7 or 8-1.
Finite was considered a leader in the division earlier in the year. She seems to have gone off form a bit after some hard races. The class and talent are there however, and she goes turf back to her preferred surface which is dirt. I think she’ll like 7 furlongs and will come with a run. She’s dangerous especially if the pace gets hot.
Venetian Harbor is the likely favorite. She’s fast and wants the lead but has been disappointing in her last three starts the way I see it. I don’t love the rider switch to Franco from Rosario. I’m willing to take a stand against her in here.
Reagan’s Edge is another lightly raced improving filly. She goes second off the lay-off and can improve. She’s been close to Frank’s Rockette, and I think she has to be considered in here. Florent Geroux gets the call and he is riding very good.
Tonalist’s Shape seems to be a lot better at Gulfstream than she is anywhere else. She obviously has some talent and gets a nice projected trip in here. I’m not sold. The last two subpar races are enough for me to toss her in this spot.
Fair Maiden returned at three and tried the dirt for the first time. She responded with a nice win from just off the pace. She is very eligible to go forward second start back and has some nice bottom to her. She’s a longshot with a chance from Godolphin.
Grand Cru Classe is three for three at three different tracks and three different distances for trainer Bill Mott. That is not easy to do so we know there is some talent here. I respect her and wouldn’t knock anyone who landed here, I just think some of the others are faster.
Secret Keeper looks like part of the speed and may get caught up chasing. She’s not impossible but not for me in this spot.
Because I am leaving the two favorites off my tickets, I have some leeway. I’ll take Secondary Market to win and on top in some exactas. I’ll also take one ticket with her as a single in the multi-race bets. I’ll take another multi-race ticket using her along with Finite, Reagan’s Edge, and Fair Maiden. Again, the prices I am looking at afford me that luxury.
Enjoy the races and win the photos!