Race 9 at Keeneland on Saturday, October 19 | Post Time 5:30 PM Eastern Time

Lexus Raven Run Stakes | Purse $250,000 | Seven Furlongs on Dirt | Fillies, Three Years Old


I’m choosing Needs Supervision (10) as my top pick to win the Raven Run Stakes, even knowing she will go to post at higher odds than many others. Except for her poor effort in the Rachel Alexandra Stakes in February, Needs Supervision has done everything right, with three wins and two runner-up efforts in five races. After a half-length defeat in her career debut nearly one year ago to the day, Needs Supervision won three straight including the Silverbulletday Stakes and was on track to be one of the favorites in the Kentucky Oaks before the Rachel Alexandra. Her trainer then gave the filly nine months off and that did her a world of good as she returned to rally from eighth of nine into second in the Weathervane Stakes last month. Not only should Needs Supervision improve physically in her second start off the layoff, she has put in two sensational workouts in preparation for this race, the first on October 5 the best of 57 on the day and the second the third best of 35. Although Needs Supervision already won once on the Kentucky circuit when shipping from her trainer’s home base in Maryland, last November at Churchill Downs, I still wondered how trainer O’Dwyer did with shippers in these situations overall. STATS Race Lens let me get that answer quickly, and showed me O’Dwyer also shipped into Kentucky this past May to win the Kentucky Juvenile Stakes with Rookie Salsa at 27 to 1 odds. As such, I think Needs Supervision can run well enough to win in this situation.

Bell’s the One (2) finished second to Covfefe in the Dogwood Stakes last month at Churchill Downs and although beaten eight lengths that is like winning in my opinion because of the nature of the horse which won the race. Covfefe had set the track record at Pimlico on Preakness weekend and is likely to be going into the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint as the favorite off the sensational effort in the Dogwood and Bell’s The One rallied from fifth to second to be two lengths ahead of the third horse. The effort earned a 106 Equibase figure which is the best in this field by any horse to date in their career. Bell’s the One won at Keeneland in her second career start nearly a year ago to the day then won a pair of stakes last December and this past March as well as finished second in the Eight Belles Stakes in May. As she is making her second start off a three and one-half month layoff, Bell’s the One should improve and that makes her a strong contender in the Raven Run Stakes.

Restless Rider (6) has run poorly just one time in eight races, winning three and finishing second four times. The poor effort came in the Kentucky Oaks when well regarded at the betting windows at 4 to 1 odds. After the 13th place finish, Restless Rider was given time off to mature and has come back with five excellent workouts in the past six weeks. Considering Restless Rider won in her career debut, finished second off a layoff last summer in the Spinaway Stakes and missed by a neck in the Ashland Stakes this past spring at Keeneland off a layoff, we should expect a big effort from this filly in this race.

There are absolutely no real knocks on Royal Charlotte (1), who won the Prioress Stakes at Saratoga when last seen at the end of August, nor impressive first out winner Indian Pride (3), who may be the early front runner without opposition in this field. Neither can I fault First Star (8) or Irish Mischief (11), the former bringing a perfect two-for-two record in from California with both very impressive efforts, though not in stakes and the latter having just finished fast from eighth to second in the Charles Town Oaks at the distance. However, the likely odds on both Needs Supervision and Bell’s the One really make them the keys to profit in this race.


Betting Strategies:

Win Bets:

Needs Supervision (10) and Bell’s the One (2) to win at 5 to 2 odds or higher, adding a place bet at 6 to 1 or more.

If Restless Rider (6) is anywhere near 3 to 1 odds or higher at post time, I would consider a win bet on her as well.


Needs Supervision (10), Bell’s the One (2) and Restless Rider (6) over ALL.

At the $1 level if all 11 run the cost is $30 and in my opinion worth the risk as the payoff could be well over $100 if any of these three go to post at high odds as I expect they will.