Raven Run attracts a dozen well-matched fillies

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Jen Caldwell

October 19th, 2016

Twelve three-year-old fillies will line up on Saturday in the $250,000 Raven Run Stakes (G2) at Keeneland, and the field includes an undefeated runner attempting to keep her record perfect.

That would be the lightly raced Lucy N Ethel, who made her racing debut last November at Parx Racing and currently boasts a four-for-four mark. Two of those races came in 2015, her aforementioned maiden win as well as an allowance at Parx. The dark bay daughter of During took the January 2 Old Hat Stakes (G3) to open her sophomore campaign then wasn’t seen in competition again until September 4.

Lucy N Ethel reflected a change in trainer and jockey when returning, switching from Ramon Preciado and Joshua Navarro to Chloe Bradley and Jose Lezcano. She captured the Prioress Stakes (G2) by a half-length, good for a career-best 100 BRIS Speed rating, but shows up in this spot running for Tom Amoss and Corey Lanerie.

Lightstream could be the one who derails Lucy N Ethel’s perfect line. The Brian Lynch pupil earned a 104 BRIS Speed rating when breaking her maiden at Gulfstream Park back in March, then shipped to Keeneland for a three-quarter length victory in the Beaumont Stakes (G3) in April. She tried the turf a month later, taking the Soaring Softly Stakes at Belmont Park.

All three of those races came at seven furlongs, and Lightstream stretched out to 1 1/16 miles for her next appearance in the Mother Goose Stakes (G1). That resulted in the Harlan’s Holiday filly suffering her first loss when third, but she rebounded quite a bit to just miss by three parts of a length when last seen running second in the Test Stakes (G1) at Saratoga reverting to seven furlongs.

Julian Leparoux was aboard for Lighstream’s initial two starts and takes back the mount on Saturday.

Covey Trace and Sophia’s Song were only separated by a neck last out when first and third, respectively, in the September 17 Charles Towns Oaks (G3).

Trained by William Denzik Jr., Covey Trace garnered her second straight win in the Charles Town Oaks following a 5 1/4-length allowance/optional claiming victory at Ellis Park in August. The Stevie Wonderboy chestnut captured her graded bow in the Oaks, and will have Brian Hernandez Jr. aboard for this go around.

Sophia’s Song was also making her graded debut in the Charles Town Oaks and closed fast to just miss second by a nose. The Todd Pletcher charge boasts a stakes win in the March 12 Caesar’s Wish Stakes at Laurel Park to kick off her three-year-old campaign, and gets jockey Robby Albarado in the irons for the first time Saturday.

Southern Girl and Curlin’s Approval are both exiting stakes wins, with the former taking the Shine Again Stakes at Laurel Park on September 10 and the latter scoring in the Added Elegance Stakes at Gulfstream Park on August 28. Larry Jones will give Florent Geroux a leg up on Southern Girl while Marty Wolfson has tabbed Tyler Gaffalione to ride Curlin’s Approval.

Bellamentary will try to return to the winner’s circle in this spot after taking the Angels Flight Stakes in May and then running second in both the 1 1/16-mile Summertime Oaks (G2) and one-mile Torrey Pines Stakes (G3). The Philip D’Amato trainee could enjoy the cutback under Martin Garcia.

Takrees will be trying seven-eighths for the first time here for Kiaran McLaughlin. The bay daughter of Daaher has yet to go beyond 6 1/2 furlongs but did put in a ferocious rally from last to take third in the Prioress most recently at 20-1. Richardo Santana Jr. has the call.

Completing the Raven Run field are Grade 3-placed winners Malibu Stacy and Coniah; last-out Dogwood Stakes third-placer Grace’s Treasure; and Ma Can Do It, who just broke her maiden last out after trying top level graded rivals in three prior occasions at double-digit odds, finishing second in the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes (G2) in May and third in last year’s Alcibiades Stakes (G1) with a fifth in the 2015 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) sandwiched between.

Lucy N Ethel photo courtesy of NYRA/Adam Coglianese Photography