July 13, 2024

Alva Starr the one to catch in Raven Run; Verifying early choice in Perryville

Alva Star in the Prioress at Saratoga (Photo by Coglianes Photography/Credit Chelsea Durand)

Alva Starr has shown what she can do over six furlongs, but will get more of a stamina test on Saturday at Keeneland when she starts as the likely favorite in the $350,000 Raven Run (G2) over seven furlongs.

The Raven Run, restricted to three-year-old fillies, will mark the sixth lifetime start for Alva Starr, who has won three times and finished second twice. Although she’s never run beyond three-quarters of a mile, Alva Starr enters off blowout victories in the Dashing Beauty S. at Delaware Park (by 6 3/4 lengths) and the Prioress (G2) at Saratoga (by 8 3/4 lengths).

Named for a movie character, Alva Starr will look to go better than her half-sister Cilla, who finished third in the 2021 Raven Run after winning the Prioress.

“Alva Starr is faster than Cilla,” trainer Brett Brinkman said. “They are a little bit different in disposition in that Alva Starr can be a little standoffish.”

Also stretching out in the Raven Run is Dazzling Blue, who was beaten 11 lengths into third by Alva Starr in the Prioress despite starting as an odds-on choice. The stakes-winning Brad Cox trainee also placed in the Victory Ride (G3) at Belmont over the summer behind the ill-fated Maple Leaf Mel.

Three contenders who should have few concerns about the seven-furlong distance are Lady Radler, upset winner of the Dogwood (G3) at Churchill Downs last month; Charles Town Oaks (G3) heroine Vahva; and the Cox-trained Ancient Peace, who placed in the Remington Park Oaks (G3) and Summertime Oaks (G2), both over 1 1/16 miles earlier this term.

The supporting feature on Saturday is the $250,000 Perryville S. for three-year-olds, also over seven furlongs. Indiana Derby (G3) hero Verifying, who is also multiple Grade 1-placed this season, was installed the even-money favorite.

Rebel (G2) winner Confidence Game will make his first start since finishing 10th in the Kentucky Derby (G1), while Grade 3 scorer Raise Cain adds additional back class to the field. Making his stakes debut is Dr. Venkman, and easy winner of his first two career starts over the summer at Del Mar, while the stakes-winning Post Time will be tested for class after going 4-for-4 in Maryland.