This Saturday’s featured race at Keeneland is the Grade 2 Raven Run Stakes. The race has been run since 1999, and has always been a seven-furlong sprint for three-year-old fillies over the Keeneland main track. It earned Grade 3 status in 2002, and gained its current Grade 2 designation in 2006. The race takes its name from Raven Run, a nature sanctuary about half an hour’s drive from Keeneland. To date, the most accomplished winner of the Raven Run has been Informed Decision (2008). This race was the last of her three-year-old career, but she returned the next year to win six of her seven starts, including the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint (G1), and capture the 2009 Eclipse Award for Champion Female Sprinter. Of local interest, Informed Decision also won the Chicago Handicap (G3) in both 2009 and 2010. The 2015 winner, Ingrid Mason trainee Sarah Sis, also won the Chicago Handicap the following year.
This year’s edition of the Raven Run offers a $250,000 purse once again, and eleven sophomore fillies passed the entry box. The Raven Run is the second to last chance for three-year-old filly sprinters to compete in graded company against their own age group. The only such race remaining is the La Brea Stakes (G1) at Santa Anita, typically run late in December.