March 29, 2023

Venetian Harbor aims for Breeders’ Cup after Raven Run score

Venetian Harbor
Venetian Harbor (right) wins the Raven Run Stakes (Coady Photography)

After knocking heads with the division’s best all spring and summer, Venetian Harbor took full advantage of some class relief in Saturday’s $200,000 Raven Run Stakes (G2) at Keeneland.

Although winding up as the lone speed in the 7-furlong dash for 3-year-old fillies, Venetian Harbor set a pace that was rather moderate and did not separate herself too much from her rivals. That ultimately resulted in a modest neck margin of victory over Finite.

Under Manny Franco, Venetian Harbor cut out fractions of :23.06 and :46.17 before finishing up in 1:23.03 over a fast track. The Richard Baltas trainee paid $5.20 as the favorite.

Multiple Grade 2 winner Finite, who made her last lunge inside the winner, turned in her best effort since capping a five-race win streak in the Feb. 15 Rachel Alexandra (G2). She finished a half-length ahead of Grand Clu Classe, who nosed out Reagan’s Edge for third. Completing the order of finish were Tonalist’s Shape, Secondary Market, Four Graces, and Secret Keeper.

Owned by Ciaglia Racing and Highland Yard, Venetian Harbor is expected to wheel back in three weeks for the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint (G1) on Nov. 7, also over the 7-furlong trip at Keeneland. Shamrock Rose, the 2018 Raven Run winner, wheeled back in two weeks to upset the Filly and Mare Sprint at Churchill Downs.

Among those Venetian Harbor is expected to meet in the Breeders’ Cup is Gamine, who she finished a distant second to in the Test (G1) in her previous start. Prior to the Test, Venetian Harbor had also finished second to Speech in the Ashland (G1) and to Swiss Skydiver in the Fantasy (G3), both over 1 1/16 miles. That followed a 9 1/4-length stakes debut score in the one-mile Las Virgenes (G2) at Santa Anita. Venetian Harbor’s record now stands at 7-3-4-0, $503,400.

Bred in Kentucky by Colts Neck Stable, Venetian Harbor was a $110,000 Keeneland September yearling. By Munnings, also the sire of Raven Run runner-up Finite, Venetian Harbor was produced by the multiple stakes-placed Sounds of the City, by Street Cry.

Venetian Harbor’s fourth dam was Safely Kept, the 1989 champion sprinter and 1990 Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) heroine.