Best Bets keying Obligatory in the Raven Run Stakes

Profile Picture: John Mucciolo

October 22nd, 2021

A huge field of 13 sophomore fillies will run seven panels on the Keeneland dirt in Saturday’s $250,000 Raven Run S. (G2). The deep cast is led by Grade 2 heroine #13 Obligatory (3-1), and while she got the widest post in the group, I still think that she will be in the winner’s circle following the affair.

Trained by Bill Mott, the gray daughter of Curlin kicked off 2021 with a sharp maiden victory at Gulfstream Park, and she has held up well with some of the best horses in her division since that score. A winner of the Eight Belles S. (G2) at Churchill Downs four prior, the Juddmonte homebred came close when registering runner-up results in both the Acorn S. (G1) and Cotillion S. (G1) in two of her last trio of outings.

The Kentucky-bred has a serious turn of foot and will put that on display on Saturday on the cutback to one-turn racing. Her rapid morning move on the Oklahoma training surface at Saratoga most recently tells me that she will fire a big shot in her Keeneland debut. Florent Geroux riding adds to the appeal of the top selection.

I will key the morning-line choice on top of a trio of contenders in the big cast. #3 Souper Sensational (4-1) has found her niche as a one-turn specialist and has performed admirably against tough foes in her last three. The chestnut daughter of Curlin dominated the Victory Ride S. (G3) in advance of second-place showings in the Test S. (G1) and Prioress S. (G2) at Saratoga. Live Oak homebred will be tough to defeat with her best effort under Santana.

Multiple stakes winner #2 Joy’s Rocket (15-1) brings speed to the event and is a must-use in the exotics at her morning-line number. The Asmussen pupil is 3-for-3 when sprinting on the dirt and presents big value with Leparoux inheriting the mount. The filly will be forcing the action from the opening bell.

Chad Brown’s #9 Zainalarab (6-1) was an impressive maiden winner in a swift final time at Saratoga last time out. The $1 million yearling purchase has never run a bad race and seems poised to give a good impression of herself in her black-type bow on Saturday. War Front filly may ultimately want to run longer, but she appears to be a nice fit in this cast to gain a share with Johnny V. in the stirrups.

Raven Run Wagers

  • $20 win #13 Obligatory ($20)
  • $6 exacta 13 with 2,3,9 ($18)
  • $2 trifecta key 13 with 2,3,9 ($12)