Trainer Brian Lynch doesn't have to look too far into the distance to appreciate the strides Lightstream has made in a brief period of time.
Eight months after breaking her maiden first time out, Up Hill Stable's and Head of Plains Partners' Lightstream earned her second graded stakes victory in just her sixth start when she came with a sweeping move on the far outside to capture the $250,000 Lexus Raven Run (gr. II) by 1 1/4 lengths over 40-1 shot Malibu Stacy at Keeneland Oct. 22. Watch Video
Unraced as a 2-year-old, Lightstream has been a quick study since winning a seven-furlong maiden test at Gulfstream Park March 6. The 3-year-old daughter of Harlan's Holiday has raced exclusively in stakes company since, including a win in the April 17 Adena Springs Beaumont Stakes (gr. III) in her second start, and was beaten just three-quarters of a length by Paola Queen in the Aug. 6 Test Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga Race Course.
"It wasn't that long ago that she was a maiden in Florida, so we've tried not to overdo it with her," Lynch said. "We're looking to have her around for another couple of years, so we've tried to pick the right spots for her. And she's shown up every time.
"I thought after the Test ... if we gave her the right amount of time, the Raven Run would be ideal for her. She may have one more start before the year is over, but I'd be inclined to give her a little rest and get ready for next year."
The challenge of breaking from the far outside in the 12-horse Raven Run field was rendered moot by Lightstream, as she had clear running in eighth down the backside behind Sophia's Song, while previously unbeaten Lucy N Ethel was pressed by Curlin's Approval through fractions of :22.50 and :45.30. The bay filly was still eighth as the field came off the final turn, but jockey Julien Leparoux confidently roused Lightstream down the middle of the stretch, first wearing down eventual third-place finisher Coniah en route to hitting the wire in 1:22.68 for seven furlongs over a fast track.
"When I rode her the first time (in March), I loved her and I thought she ran a big race," Leparoux said. "Today it was a big field, but she handled it very good. She broke like usual—sat back and made one run. I knew we were going to have speed."
Lightstream paid $6.80, $4.20, and $3.20 across the board. Malibu Stacy brought $28.00 and $15.80, while Coniah delivered $11.20 for show.
Curlin's Approval came in fourth, with Grace's Treasure, Southern Girl, Takrees, Covey Trace, Sophia's Song, Bellamentary, Ma Can Do It, and Lucy N Ethel. Lucy N Ethel faded after setting the early pace to suffer her first defeat in five starts.
Bred in Kentucky by Ann Marie Farm, Lightstream is out of the Arch mare North Beach and improved her record to four wins from six starts for $457,000 in earnings.