April 12, 2021

Royal Charlotte, Restless Rider highlight 11 fillies in Raven Run

Restless Rider wins the 2018 Alcibiades Stakes (G1) at Keeneland (c) Keeneland/Coady Photography

Multiple graded stakes winner Royal Charlotte and Grade 1 scorer Restless Rider are among a salty group of 11 three-year-old fillies in Saturday’s $250,000 Raven Run (G2) at Keeneland. Last year’s winner of the seven-furlong race, Shamrock Rose, returned 14 days later to capture the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1) and was named champion female sprinter.

Royal Charlotte has stamped herself as an up-and-coming player in the female sprint ranks, winning her first four starts including a four-length triumph in the Victory Ride (G3) in early July. The Chad Brown-trained daughter of Cairo Prince rebounded from her first setback in the Test (G1), returning four weeks later to capture the Prioress (G2) going away on the closing weekend at Saratoga, and breaks from the rail with new jockey Tyler Gaffalione.

Restless Rider won the Alcibiades (G1) at Keeneland before a runner-up finish in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) last fall. By Distorted Humor, the gray filly returned this year with a neck second in the Ashland (G1) at Keeneland in April, but Restless Rider has not started since an unplaced finish in the Kentucky Oaks (G1) in early May. Regular rider Brian Hernandez Jr. has the call and Restless Rider figures to be rallying late for Kenny McPeek.

Brown has also entered Indian Pride, who jumps straight to stakes company off a smashing eight-length debut maiden win at Saratoga on August 28. John Velazquez rides the front-running Proud Citizen filly. Monmouth Oaks (G3) heroine Horologist, a respectable third in the September 21 Cotillion (G1) at Parx, cuts back in distance for new trainer Richard Baltas and Joe Bravo will be in to ride the five-time winner.

First Star, winner of a maiden special weight and entry-level allowance at Del Mar in her first two starts, will try stakes company for Ron Ellis and Drayden Van Dyke accompanies her from the West Coast. Multiple stakes winner Bell’s the One, second to presumptive Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1) favorite Covfefe in the September 21 Dogwood at Churchill Downs, will look to rally for Neil Pessin and Corey Lanerie.

Dogwood third-placer Free Cover is also entered and other runners include Charles Town Oaks (G3) runner-up Irish Mischief; stakes queen Needs Supervision, second when returning from a layoff in the September 21 Weathervane at Laurel Park; and Grade 3 upsetter Oxy Lady, who will make her first start since mid-April.