The top three finishers from the September 23 Charles Town Oaks (G3) are just a few of the 11 sophomore fillies who have been entered to go seven furlongs on Saturday in Keeneland’s $250,000 Raven Run Stakes (G2).
Tequilita prevailed in the Charles Town Oaks by 1 1/4 lengths for trainer Michael Matz. In her prior two attempts at seven furlongs, the bay daughter of Union Rags finished third in Saratoga’s Test Stakes (G1) on August 5 and captured the Forward Gal Stakes (G2) at Gulfstream Park on February 4. Feargal Lynch will be aboard Tequilita for the first time Saturday.
Yorkiepoo Princess finished second in the Charles Town Oaks at 75-1, her best effort in six races since capturing the Busher Stakes at Aqueduct on February 25. The Edward Barker pupil had a head to spare on Overture in the Charles Town Oaks and keeps Edwin Gonzalez in the irons as she attempts to turn the tables on Tequilita.
Overture sandwiched a gate-to-wire win in the Indiana Oaks (G3) between a pair of thirds, one in an allowance/optional claimer and the other in the Monmouth Oaks (G3). All three of those contests came at 1 1/16 miles but the Bill Mott trainee cut back to seven furlongs for the Charles Town Oaks last out. Jose Ortiz piloted the Congrats filly to a second-place finish in her racing debut on February 22 at Gulfstream Park and returns for another go at the win here.
Pinch Hit enters the Raven Run off a neck victory in the seven-furlong Dogwood Stakes at Churchill Downs on September 23. Trained by Brad Cox, the dark bay lass was trying stakes rivals for only the second time in that spot after rallying for fourth in the Groupie Doll Stakes (G3) going a mile at Ellis Park on August 13. The Harlan’s Holiday filly retains the services of Jon Court Saturday.
Chalon is looking for a return to the winner’s circle in the Raven Run off a two-week break. Trainer Peter Miller is wheeling the Dialed In filly back at Keeneland after she helped open the meet on October 7 with a second in the Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes (G2). The bay lass triumphed in the Jersey Girl Stakes at Belmont Park on June 11 and brought a fourth in the Test and a third in the Beverly J. Lewis Stakes into the TCA last out. Paco Lopez returns to ride.
Nonna Mela goes in this spot for trainer Todd Pletcher off a runner-up effort in the Prioress Stakes (G2) at Saratoga on September 3. The dark bay daughter of Arch romped by six lengths in the Adirondack Stakes (G2) as a juvenile but has only made two starts this season, wiring an allowance/optional claimer at Saratoga on August 7 and then her second in the Prioress. Chris DeCarlo will be aboard here.
Pretty City Dancer was a top contender as a juvenile, but has yet to carry that form forward into her three-year-old campaign. The Mark Casse charge captured the Spinaway Stakes (G1) at Saratoga last season and opened 2017 with a half-length second behind Tequilita in the Forward Gal, but has been unplaced while well-beaten in her five races since. Corey Lanerie has the call on the Tapit miss.
Completing the Raven Run field are multiple stakes winner Happy Mesa, who broke her maiden at first asking on Laurel Park’s main track last year but has been running on the turf ever since; stakes-placed winners Classy Tune and Torrent; and Miss Sunset, who has captured three of her last four races against stakes rivals in California.