Raven Run selections, jockey analysis

The Grade II, $250,000 Raven Run Stakes is the feature event at Keeneland this Saturday. The seven-furlong dirt sprint drew an evenly-matched field of 11 three-year-old fillies. Going as Race 9 on a 10-race program, post time for the Raven Run is set for 5:30 p.m. EST. As always, be sure to take part in FanXT’s Daily Fantasy Jockey game!

#11 MISS SUNSET is the 4-1 morning-line favorite in her first start outside California and first against graded stakes rivals. She could be an especially bad proposition at less than 4-1 as she drew the far outside post and faces several foes that will vie for the lead with her. However, it is hard to ignore her last two starts in which she dominated and earned fast speed figures. She’s proven she can handle the seven-furlong distance (1-for-1) and lures Keeneland’s leading rider, Julien Leparoux. MISS SUNSET must be respected but she can be beaten.

#4 NONNA MELA (9-2) will be the top selection despite the fact that Javier Castellano chose to stay at Belmont. Chris DeCarlo, a veteran rider that trainer Todd Pletcher has counted on in spots for many years, takes over. NONNA MELA makes just her third start of the season and was extremely impressive in her first race back, winning a seven-furlong allowance at Saratoga off a 10-month layoff. She was a creditable second in the Grade II Prioress last time out, which was run over a sloppy track. With no rain in sight, NONNA MELA looks like a logical contender. Look for her to draft behind the speed of MISS SUNSET and others before striking late.

#8 CHALON (9-2) is among those that could find herself embroiled in a speed duel but is tough to toss. She ran just two weeks ago over this course and was second in the Grade II TCA Stakes against older foes, chief among them Breeders’ Cup-bound Finley’sluckycharm. CHALON is a must-use off that effort alone and also has a stakes win from earlier this year to boast. Paco Lopez will be in the irons once more.

The play: $3 exacta 4/8,11, $2 exacta 8,11/4 ($10)

DFJ analysis: Julien Leparoux, as usual, is poised for a solid performance at Keeneland this Saturday. He has eight scheduled mounts, all but two of which are single-digit odds. Most importantly, he rides program favorite MISS SUNSET in the Raven Run, the card’s lone stake.

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