$200,000 Raven Run Stakes – Seven Furlongs on the dirt.
#1 Never Forget – Ridden by Robby Albarado and trained by Victoria Oliver. Two starts back she easily broke her maiden, and they immediately threw her into the Grade 2 Eight Belles stakes at Churchill. She ran 3rd beaten by four lengths in a respectable performance. She was no match for Four Graces in that race though, and I expect this to be the same. There is a lot of speed in here and she will be coming from off the pace so there is potential to finish 3rd again, but that is the ceiling here.
#2 Four Graces – Ridden by Julien Leparoux and trained by Ian Wilkes. This filly has 4 wins in 6 starts, but last time out was beaten by 2 in the Eight Belles at Churchill. She likes to run right to the front, but she was challenged the whole race last time, and gave in. A similar set-up could happen here as there is quite a lot of speed in this race. She certainly shouldn’t be dismissed, but I would rather look for a horse coming off the pace in this race.
#3 Secondary Market – Ridden by Tyler Gaffalione and trained by Chad Brown. This is an intriguing horse at a good price. In September of 2019 she looked very impressive breaking her maiden, but then she had a 330 day lay-off. She won in her first start back off of that lay-off, and then ran in the Grade 2 Prioress. She finished 4th in the Prioress, but had a bit of a rough trip. She shows ability to be able to sit off the pace, and make one run which will be dangerous in this race. She is one to keep an eye on.
#4 Finite – Ridden by Ricardo Santana Jr and trained by Steve Asmussen. Finite is a very impressive filly. Over the winter she beat British Idiom and Preakness Stakes winner Swiss Skydiver. If she runs back to that race against this field then she is a winner. With that being said, all of her best races have been going a mile or longer. Last time out she finished 11th of 11, but that was off a 6 month lay-off so there is a built in excuse there. The lay-off was caused by ankle surgery, and the first race after was really bad so I am taking a wait-and-see approach.
#5 Venetian Harbor – Ridden by Manuel Franco and trained by Richie Baltas. This will be the favorite at post time, and deservedly so. Venetian Harbor has lost to the top fillies in the world such as Gamine, Speech, and Swiss Skydiver. She has pretty much beaten every other filly other than those 3. This is another horse will be prompted to go right to the front, and could set up a major speed duel with the #2 Four Graces. She’s a very logical contender and should be absolutely considered. In 6 career starts she hasn’t finished worse than 2nd yet.
#6 Reagan’s Edge – Ridden by Florent Geroux and trained by Cherie Devaux. She has been very impressive so far in her short 5 race career. Hasn’t finished worse than 3rd yet, and has back to back 2nd place finishes in graded stakes races. She just can’t seem to beat Franks Rockette, but the good news here is Franks Rockette is not in this race. Florent Geroux should have this filly sitting just off the pace which will be ideal, and should make things interesting down the stretch. She should be a factor in the final stages of this race.
#7 Tonalist’s Shape – Ridden by Rafael Bejarano and trained by Saffie Joseph. Had a very promising start in her career when winning 5 of the first 6 races which included a pair of graded stakes. Since coming off the lay-off though she has been decidedly less impressive. She went off the favorite both times, and ran very poorly both times. She seems to be heading in the wrong direction, and I am going to pass on this one, but should she get back to form she will be dangerous at a big price.
#8 Fair Maiden – Ridden by Corey Lanerie and trained by Eoin Harty. She is a very interesting longshot in this race. They had high hopes for her when they ran her in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf, and she was just in over her head. They gave her a 323 day lay-off, and she came back and won that race as a tune up for this race. If she is able to break well and not be outsprinted early on then she is going to have a very big chance at a big price, but the fear is that she is out-sprinted early on and can’t make up the needed ground in time. She might be one to take a longshot chance with.
#9 Grand Cru Classe – Ridden by Martin Garcia and trained by William Mott. She certainly hasn’t done anything wrong yet. She has 3 starts, and 3 wins. All of those races are against much weaker competition, and this is obviously a large step up in class. The cut back in distance will be a big help, as when she won going 1 1/16 mile she got very tired in the stretch, but held on to win. She will be right near the front along with quite a few others, and she will be wide. It will be interesting to see what kind of trip that Martin Garcia can work out.
#10 Secret Keeper – Ridden by Brian Hernandez and trained by Cliff Sise. Had a large jump up in class last time out and didn’t disappoint. She ran 2nd in the Grade 3 Torrey Pines at Del Mar. She is a lightly raced filly , and has good enough zip to get good stalking position on these front runners. She is intriguing. There are plenty of horses in this race who are all trying to get the same type of trip. It really does feel like a price horse will make a jump and get a big win. Could be this one.
Final Analysis: Despite Venetian Harbor being a big favorite this race is a complete toss-up. There are plenty of speed horses, and plenty of horses who will be stalking from just off the pace. The key will be which horses get the trip from just off the leaders. There are about 5 or 6 horses that could all be vying for that same trip. I am going to take a shot and try to beat the big favorite here.
1: #6 Regan’s Edge
2: #5 Venetian Harbor
3: #10 Secret Keeper
4: #8 Fair Maiden