Sconsin- Coady Photography
By Ryan Dickey
Saturday’s Grade 2 Lexus Raven Run at Keeneland could be a prep for sophomore filly sprinters looking ahead to next month’s Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint, which is to be run over the same Lexington, KY track on Saturday, Nov. 7.
Both races will be contested at a one-turn seven furlongs over the Keeneland main track, with the Raven Run restricted to 3-year-old fillies while the Breeders’ Cup race will feature fillies and mares three and up.
Sophomore fillies who are probable for the $200,000 Raven run include multiple graded stakes winners Four Graces, Tonalist’s Shape and Finite, graded stakes winner Sconsin, as well as Impeccable Style, Reagan’s Edge and Secondary Market.
Other possible entries for the Raven Run include multiple graded stakes winner Harvest Moon, Center Aisle, Fair Maiden and Never Forget.
The Ian Wilkes-trained Four Graces had a three-race winning streak snapped in her latest effort, when she finished second to Sconsin in the Grade 2 Eight Belles at Churchill Downs last month.
A middle distance specialist, five of six career starts for Four Graces have been at seven furlongs, including wins in the Grade 3 Beaumont at Keeneland two back and the Grade 3 Dogwood at Churchill in June.
Tonalist’s Shape will ship from Gulfstream Park, where she worked five furlongs in 1:00.62 last Sunday for trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. After winning her first five career starts, including a seven furlong victory in the Grade 3 Forward Gal at Gulfstream in February, the Slam Dunk Racing, Doug Branham and Legacy Ranch runner has won once in her last four starts.
Finite is also nominated to the Raven Run, which would be her second start off an extended layoff. She returned to the track for the first time since March when she finished a well-beaten eleventh in the 6 ½ furlong Music City Stakes on the turf at Kentucky Downs last month for trainer Steve Asmussen.
The Winchell Thoroughbreds, Thomas Reiman, William Dickson and Deborah Easter-owned Munnings filly became a multiple graded stakes winner in February when she took the Grade 2 Rachel Alexandra at Fair Grounds in February.
Sconsin is coming in to the Raven Run after turning the tables on Four Graces, who finished ahead of the Greg Foley sprinter in the Beaumont during the short Keeneland July meet. Wisconsin put in a third-place effort between the Beaumont and Eight Belles in the Audobon Oaks at Ellis Park in August.
Owned by Lloyd Madison Farms IV, LLC, Sconsin’s Eight Belles victory was her only win at seven furlongs in four career starts at that distance.
The Kenny McPeek trainee Impeccable Style is nominated to the Raven Run following her most-recent effort, where she finished second behind Kentucky Oaks winner Shedaresthedevil in the Grade 3 Indiana Oaks in July.
A daughter of Uncle Mo out of Candy Ride mare Deb’s Candy Girl, Impeccable Style put in four workouts at Churchill Downs in September before showing up on the worktab at Keeneland with a four furlong breeze on October 4.
Impeccable Style broke her maiden at second asking at seven furlongs over the Churchill Downs main track last September. She is listed as being trained by Brendan Walsh in the Raven Run nominations, so she could be in the midst of barn change.
Trainer Cherie Devaux could stretch out Reagan’s Edge in the Raven Run. The Competitive Edge filly last raced six furlongs, finishing second to Frank’s Rockette in the Grade 2 Prioress at Saratoga in September. She has yet to try a sprint over 6 ½ furlongs.
Reagan’s Edge has finished behind Franks’ Rockette and directly ahead of Center Aisle in her last two starts. Center Aisle is one of two Chad Brown runners nominated to the Raven Run, with Secondary Market being the other.
Secondary Market finished fourth behind the trio of Frank’s Rockette, Reagan’s Edge and Center Aisle last out in the Prioress. The Klaravich Stables-owned Into Mischief filly has won twice from four career starts.
Harvest Moon is a wildcard as far as entries for the Raven Run is concerned. The California-based Simon Callahan runner for owners Alice Bamford and Michael Tabor is on a four-race win streak, including winning back-to-back graded stakes tilts in the Grade 2 Zenyatta at Santa Anita last month and the Grade 3 Torrey Pines at Del Mar in August.
A local prep in Lexington 21 days ahead of the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint isn’t out of the question.
While the Raven Run is not an official Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” Challenge Series race, only two female sprinters have earned automatic bids to the Breeders’ Cup Saturday race. Serengeti Empress earned her way in with a victory in the Grade 1 Ballerina at Saratoga in August, while Inthemidstofbiz captured the Grade 2 Thoroughbred Club of America at Keeneland earlier this month.