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My Option, above winning the Arlington Park Oaks in July, is one of many contenders for the Lexus Raven Run Stakes with a good chance to win. (Photo courtesy of Four Footed Fotos)

The 15th running of the Grade 2, $250,000 Lexus Raven Run Stakes drew an overflow field of 16, from which 14 will most likely run. Leading the field in terms of success in graded stakes is a trio of runners, led by Lighthouse Bay, who won the Grade 1 Prioress Stakes in July at the distance of six furlongs but then regressed at seven furlongs when fifth in her most recent race. Ciao Bella Luna won the Grade 2 Beaumont Stakes at this seven-furlong distance in the spring at Keeneland and certainly could be competitive again on a track she likes. My Option won the Grade 3 Arlington Park Oaks in July on a similar all-weather surface, so she is another proven under similar conditions. Sittin At the Bar is a multiple stakes winner against Louisiana-breds attempting to transfer her recent top form to open company. Silsita tries to rebound from a sixth-place finish in the Grade 2 Lake Placid Stakes and to regain to the form shown winning the My Princess Jess stakes prior to that. Primed for Passion is yet another of many with a shot, coming into the race off a runner-up effort in the HBPA Stakes last month; and Jewel of a Cat is another who may just need to step up a bit to this graded stakes level, having won the Coronation Cup Stakes in her most recent race. Irish Lute led late in the Grade 3 Dogwood Stakes last month before settling for second, and she appears to fit with these as well, much like recent Ms. Woodford Stakes runner-up Fully Living and CERF Stakes runner-up Madame Cactus, both of whom are on the also-eligible list and will only run if other horses withdraw.


Lighthouse -bay -NYRA

Photo by Adam Coglainese/NYRA

My Option ran the best race of her career when victorious by a neck in the Arlington Park Oaks in July, earning a 106 Equibase Speed Figure in the process on the similar Polytrack surface. Her two starts since then both came on turf and, although she was not disgraced when third in both, returning to the all-weather track could spark a return to winning form. Therefore, she gets slight preference because that 106 figure is the highest any horse in this field has earned.

Ciao Bella Luna comes back from nearly four months on the shelf, which is just fine as she won the first start of her career and then her second start as well following nearly two months off. This past April at Keeneland, Ciao Bella Luna rallied from seventh to win the Grade 2 Beaumont Stakes, drawing away by 2 1/2 lengths with a career-best 96 Equibase Speed Figure. With two well-above-average morning workouts at Keeneland coming into the race and now in the barn of excellent trainer Wayne Catalano, Ciao Bella Luna has every right to repeat or improve upon her effort six months ago and win the Raven Run.

Eden Prairie has run on an all-weather track like the one at Keeneland just once previously — her most recent start at Arlington Park and, perhaps, more importantly at the seven-furlong distance of this race. In that race last month, Eden Prairie was in close quarters with no place to run until late, then split rivals to quickly draw off by three lengths, earning a career-best 100 Equibase Speed Figure figure in the process. Another with an excellent recent morning drill on the track and flattered when the runner-up from her last race came right back to win, Eden Prairie has a decent shot to post the upset in the Raven Run.

Primed for Passion finished second in the HBPA Stakes on a similar all-weather surface in her most recent race, earning a career-best 100 Equibase Speed Figure, which would make her very competitive in this field if repeated. That last race, and her three prior to that, were all against 3-year-olds and older, so in facing just 3-year-olds in the Raven Run she could have a slight edge that could help her improve off that last effort to win, particularly as she, too, put in an excellent recent workout on this track that portends a top effort.

The rest of the field (with their best representative Equibase Speed Figure): Elusive Fate (90), Finding More (84), Fully Living (97), Irish Lute (103), Jewel of a Cat (102), Lighthouse Bay (108), Madame Cactus (94), Plenty O'Toole (97), Silsita (99), Sittin At the Bar (102), Thetaloveandmine (92) and Turn by Turn (94).

My Selections:

My Option

Ciao Bella Luna

Eden Prairie

Primed for Passion

You can get Ellis' full card selections for Keeneland and other tracks at

$250,000 Lexus Raven Run Stakes

Keeneland, Saturday, Race 9, 5:23 p.m. ET

Seven Furlongs, 3-year-old fillies







Plenty O'Toole

Marcelino Pedroza


Scooter Dickey


Sittin At the Bar

Mark Guidry


Brett Brinkman


Turn by Turn

Kent Desormeaux


Alex Clarkson



Mike Smith


Todd Pletcher


Lighthouse Bay

Joe Rocco Jr.


George Weaver



James Graham


Tim Hamm


Jewel of a Cat

Chris DeCarlo


Ben Perkins Jr.


Elusive Fate

Brian Hernandez Jr.


Rusty Arnold


Ciao Bella Luna

Ricardo Santana Jr.


Wayne Catalano


My Option

Eduardo Perez


Chris Block


Irish Lute

Shaun Bridgmohan


Dallas Stewart


Primed for Passion

Mario Pino


Jonathan Sheppard


Finding More

David Flores


Sally S. Schu


Eden Prairie

Robby Albarado


Neil Pessin


Fully Living

Corey Lanerie


Rusty Arnold


Madame Cactus

Joe Talamo


Peter Eurton  

AE-Denotes also-eligible entrant. A horse officially entered for a race, but not permitted to start unless the field is reduced by scratches below a specified number.




Image Description

Ellis Starr

National Racing Analyst for Equibase, Fan Education Specialist, Bettor, Magister of Equine Prognostication (Handicapper).

Image Description

Ellis Starr

National Racing Analyst for Equibase, Fan Education Specialist, Bettor, Magister of Equine Prognostication (Handicapper).

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