A well-matched field of 11 three-year-old fillies will contest the Saturday feature at Keeneland Race Course. The $250,000 Raven Run Stakes (G2), at seven furlongs on the dirt, lacks a clear standout and appears to be a very good betting event. I will swing for the fences with an under-the-radar filly who should be sitting on a big race.
Silverbulletday Stakes vixen Needs Supervision has run well in all but one of her lifetime starts and the filly will be an appealing price in this affair. Trained by Jeremiah O’Dwyer, the daughter of Paynter received a smart prep in advance of the Raven Run, finishing second in a Laurel Park stakes race, and has trained swiftly in the interim. She is the Free Pick of the Week.
Needs Supervision graduated at the seven-furlong distance in her second lifetime run as a juvenile, and then lit up the tote board with an allowance triumph at Churchill Downs at 37-1 odds. The Kentucky-bred showed that her run beneath the Twin Spires was no fluke when edging clear in the Silverbulletday at Fair Grounds, prior to registering a fifth-place result in the Rachel Alexandra Stakes (G2) against a top field.
Also competing in the Rachel Alexandra was Serengeti Empress and Liora, the top-two finishers of the Kentucky Oaks (G1); recent Cotillion Stakes (G1) heroine Street Band; and Grade 3 winner and fellow Raven Run contender Oxy Lady.
Needs Supervision reappeared at Laurel Park in September, recording a fast-closing second after a troubled start behind the Grade-1 placed Meadow Dance. The $55,000 bargain purchase posted a healthy 95 BRIS Late Pace figure to suggest she will thrive with the added distance on Saturday.
The bay has proven to be of this class and Needs Supervision owns room for improvement in just her second try since February. The fact that she only showed four published workouts in advance of her latest venture off a long absence tells me connections always had this race in mind as a goal.
Needs Supervision winning the Raven Run Stakes is the Free Pick of the Week.