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Sacristy (4) with Kent Desormeaux. 

by Joe Kristufek, America's Best Racing.

Saturday’s Raven Run Stakes (G2) at Keeneland is for 3-year-olds whose aspirations fall short of the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint (G1). Fourteen fillies are on the program for what is a super-contentious seven-furlong race on the synthetic Polytrack surface.

The winner of the locally run Beaumont Stakes (G2) in April, the 3-1 morning line favorite Gypsy Robin was most recently seen finishing second behind the super-talented Contested in the Test Stakes (G1) at Saratoga. She’s trained forwardly since, but in a race this wide open, it’s tough to hang your hat on the probable public choice.

Placed in four graded stakes this season, Via Villaggio also has a touch of class. Most of her recent races have come around two turns, but the last time she was entered to compete at seven furlongs, Via Villaggio won the Railbird Stakes (G3) at Hollywood. Her Jerry Hollendorfer-trained stablemate Killer Graces has a similar profile. She too has kept some fantastic company in routes, and has the ability to unleash a strong stretch kick when cutting back in distance.  

With several pace-pressing types entered to a run on a Keeneland track that has been more kind to finishers, the race could very well fall to a longshot closer.

A hard charging third two back in a grass route in what was the stronger division of the Hatoof stakes at Arlington Park, Drama Drama returned to score an out-of-the-clouds victory in a first-level turf allowance at Kentucky Downs. She owns a strong finishing punch, and the price will be right. 

Second in the Beaumont, Sacristy has had some ups and downs in her young career, but her recent victory at Arlington was visually impressive, and she’s trained sharply since.

Highly regarded as a 2-year-old, Sweet Cat’s claim to fame is a third place run in the 2011 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G2). She’s won just once from five starts this season, but may be in line for an advantageous, pocket trip from the rail post.

My selections:

Drama Drama

Sacristy

Via Villaggio

Gypsy Robin

$250,000 Lexus Raven Run Stakes (G2)

Keeneland Race Course, Saturday, Race 9, 5:27 p.m. EDT

3-year-old fillies, seven furlongs (All Weather Track)

PP

Horse

Jockey

Weight

Trainer

1

Sweet Cat (KY)

J.R. Leparoux

118

T A Pletcher

2

Assateague (KY)

J. Rocco Jr.

118

M R Matz

3

La Tia (IL)

J.L. Castanon

120

B Williamson

4

Lotta Lovin (PA)

R. Napravnik

118

M J Maker

5

Yankee Union (KY)

B.J. Hernandez Jr.

118

T Drury Jr.

6

Killer Graces (KY)

S. Bridgmohan

118

J. Hollendorfer

7

Anna Sophia (KY)

V. Lebron

118

W I Mott

8

Drama Drama (KY)

J.K. Court

118

V H Oliver

9

Flashy Lassie (KY)

C.J. Lanerie

118

G W Simms

10

Via Villaggio (KY)

M.A. Pedroza

118

J Hollendorfer

11

Gypsy Robin (KY)

J.R. Velazquez

120

W A Ward

12

Monono (KY)

L.R. Goncalves

118

M Lovell

13

Mercy Lou (PA)

C. Villasana

118

G S Bennett

14

Sacristy (KY)

M. Mena

118

W M Catalano

Image Description

Joe Kristufek

The face of ABR's "Racing 101", Joe Kristufek is a self-proclaimed horse racing "ambassador," and fan development has been his passion since the moment he took his first job in the industry.

Kristufek is the morning-line maker for Arlington Park, Indiana Downs and Kentucky Downs and he serves as the handicapper and racing writer for the Daily Herald newspaper. 

Kristufek has developed and executed several horse racing-related, fan-education projects both online and onsite and he is a member of the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters. 

He has co-owned five horses in partnership and is the process of developing an ownership group of his own. Kristufek is also becoming an increasing presence on the tournament scene. 

Kristufek was the on-air talent for Hawthorne's between-race presentation and replay shows in the 1990s, and served as a on-air host and content coordinator for The Racing Network in 2000-2001. He was the owner, producer and host of popular horse racing magazine show Horsin' Around TV, airing 85 episodes from 2003-2005 on Fox Sports Chicago and Comcast SportsNet Chicago.

A beer and indie/alternative music snob, Joe is a Chicago Bulls season ticket holder and there aren't too many people who can keep up with him on a billards table. 

 

Image Description

Joe Kristufek

The face of ABR's "Racing 101", Joe Kristufek is a self-proclaimed horse racing "ambassador," and fan development has been his passion since the moment he took his first job in the industry.

Kristufek is the morning-line maker for Arlington Park, Indiana Downs and Kentucky Downs and he serves as the handicapper and racing writer for the Daily Herald newspaper. 

Kristufek has developed and executed several horse racing-related, fan-education projects both online and onsite and he is a member of the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters. 

He has co-owned five horses in partnership and is the process of developing an ownership group of his own. Kristufek is also becoming an increasing presence on the tournament scene. 

Kristufek was the on-air talent for Hawthorne's between-race presentation and replay shows in the 1990s, and served as a on-air host and content coordinator for The Racing Network in 2000-2001. He was the owner, producer and host of popular horse racing magazine show Horsin' Around TV, airing 85 episodes from 2003-2005 on Fox Sports Chicago and Comcast SportsNet Chicago.

A beer and indie/alternative music snob, Joe is a Chicago Bulls season ticket holder and there aren't too many people who can keep up with him on a billards table. 

 

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