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P. Dale Ladner's Cilla and Live Oak Plantation's Souper Sensational, who finished a half-length apart in last month's Prioress (G2) at Saratoga, headline a field of 13 3-year-old fillies for the 23rd running of the $250,000 Lexus Raven Run Stakes (G2) going 7 furlongs on the main track at Keeneland Race Course on Saturday, October 23.
The Lexus Raven Run is scheduled as the ninth race on Saturday's 10-race program with a 5:16 p.m. ET post time. First post Saturday is 1 p.m.
Race 9 at Keeneland on Saturday, October 23 - Post 5:16 PM
|1||Shalimar Gardens||20-1||Rafael Bejarano
|2||Joy's Rocket||15-1||Julien Leparoux
|3||Souper Sensational||4-1||Ricardo Santana, Jr.
|4||Minute Waltz||30-1||Martin Garcia
|5||Strong Silent||15-1||Corey Lanerie
|6||Feeling Mischief||50-1||Mitchell Murrill
|8||Caramel Swirl||7-2||Junior Alvarado
|10||Someone Said So||20-1||Adam Beschizza
|11||Miss Speedy||6-1||Brian Hernandez, Jr.
|12||Just Read It||50-1||Gerardo Corrales
Trained by Brett Brinkman, Cilla returned Tuesday afternoon to Keeneland, where she finished sixth as a 62-1 shot in the Beaumont (G3) Presented by Keeneland Select. Since then, the Louisiana-bred daughter of California Chrome has won three consecutive races highlighted by the Prioress victory.
Tyler Gaffalione will have the mount Saturday and break from post position seven.
Souper Sensational, winner of the Victory Ride (G3) at Belmont Park who has placed in three graded stakes, was runner-up in the Grade 1 Test prior to her run in the Prioress. Trained by Mark Casse, Souper Sensational will exit post position three and be ridden by Ricardo Santana Jr.
Another Grade 2 winner in the field is Juddmonte's homebred Obligatory.
Trained by Bill Mott, Obligatory won the Eight Belles (G2) on April 30 at Churchill Downs going 7 furlongs. Runner-up in the Cotillion (G1) at Parx in her most recent start, Obligatory drew post 13 and will be ridden by Florent Geroux.
The field for the Lexus Raven Run, with riders and weights from the inside, is: Shalimar Gardens (Rafael Bejarano, 118 pounds), Joy's Rocket (Julien Leparoux, 118), Souper Sensational (Santana Jr., 118), Minute Waltz (Martin Garcia, 118), Strong Silent (Corey Lanerie, 118), Feeling Mischief (Mitchell Murrill, 118), Cilla (Gaffalione, 120), Caramel Swirl (Junior Alvarado, 118), Zainalarab (John Velazquez, 118), Someone Said So (Adam Beschizza, 118), Miss Speedy (Brian Hernandez Jr., 118), Just Read It (Gerardo Corrales, 118), Obligatory (Florent Geroux, 120).
The only time P. Dale Ladner's Cilla ran at Keeneland, she finished sixth as a 62-1 shot in the Beaumont (G3) Presented by Keeneland Select run at 7 furlongs, 184 feet during this year's Spring Meet in April. Her price figures to be much lower Saturday when she goes postward in the 23rd running of the $250,000 Lexus Raven Run (G2) for 3-year-old fillies going 7 furlongs on the main track.
"I think the light bulb went on after the Beaumont," said trainer Brett Brinkman, who co-bred Cilla with Ladner. "She was not a very confident filly early on, but we gave her some time, and I think maturity has played a big part for her mentally and physically."
Cilla, a Louisiana-bred daughter of California Chrome, received a short vacation following the Beaumont and came back to win three consecutive races highlighted by a victory in the 6-furlong Prioress (G2) at Saratoga on Sept. 4.
"We didn't really focus on this (Lexus Raven Run) because she went through another growth spurt," Brinkman said of the filly, who arrived at Keeneland Tuesday afternoon. "We were going to wait to go to Fair Grounds for Louisiana Champions Day (Dec. 11), but Mr. Ladner and I started talking about it and she needs to answer the 7-furlong question. The only other option was to run against older horses at Churchill Downs going 6 furlongs (in the $300,000 Dream Supreme-L on Nov. 13).
"Most of the big races for fillies and mares next year are seven-eighths, so this is the time to answer that question."
Tyler Gaffalione, who was aboard for the first time in the Prioress victory, retains the mount Saturday.
With seven Keeneland stakes victories on its resume, Charlotte Weber's Live Oak Plantation is on the verge of achieving a Keeneland tray as part of the track's signature Milestone Trophy Program. A total of 21 trays have been awarded with the first to Hasty House Farm during the 1955 Spring Meet and the most recent to Shadwell Stable during this year's Spring Meet.
On Saturday, two Live Oak's 3-year-olds - Soup and Sandwich and Souper Sensational - will try to earn a tray to hold eight Keeneland Trophy Cups when they go postward in the $150,000 Perryville and $250,000 Lexus Raven Run (G2), respectively. Mark Casse trains both runners.
Homebred Soup and Sandwich will be making his first start since displacing his soft palate while being eased in the Kentucky Derby (G1) Presented by Woodford Reserve on May 1.
"We targeted this race a few months ago and wanted to bring him back against 3-year-olds," Casse said via text about the Into Mischief colt, who won his first two starts and then was second in the Florida Derby (G1).
Soup and Sandwich will break from post one under Tyler Gaffalione in the 7-furlong Perryville.
Two races later, Souper Sensational brings a 9-3-3-1 career mark into the Lexus Raven Run, also at 7 furlongs. She has sprinted in her past four starts following a trio of two-turn efforts at Fair Grounds over the winter.
"I think Souper Sensational is a better sprinter; a mile is about as far as she wants to go," Casse said of the daughter of Curlin, who was second in the Test (G1) in her most recent start at 7 furlongs.
Ricardo Santana Jr. retains the mount Saturday and will break from post three.
Casse will have one other runner in the Lexus Raven Run in Miss Speedy, who is owned by the partnership of Gary Barber, Ryan Shane Kerbel and Barry Kerbel.
Miss Speedy, who will be ridden by Brian Hernandez Jr. from post 11, has won three of four starts over Woodbine's all-weather surface.
"It is hard to say how she will handle the dirt," Casse said. "But her breezes over it have been good."
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