Strike the Moon, winner of the Charles Town Oaks in her last start, will try a synthetic surface for the first time when leading a field of 13 sophomore fillies in the $250,000 Lexus Raven Run (gr. II) Oct. 22 at Keeneland.
The daughter of Malibu Moon had her first work over the Keeneland Polytrack Oct. 15 for trainer Michael Trombetta, breezing a sharp four furlongs in :47. All eight of her career starts have come on dirt.
Owned by R. L. Johnson, Strike the Moon won the Sept. 17 Charles Town Oaks by three-quarters of a length over Groupie Doll, who also returns for the seven-furlong Raven Run. Including the CT Oaks, the bay filly is perfect in two starts at seven furlongs. She is based at Laurel Park for Trombetta, who has assigned regular jockey Julian Pimentel to ride.
Fred and Buff Bradley’s Groupie Doll had her three-race win streak snapped in the CT Oaks, though she put in a game effort when rallying furiously after getting off to a slow start. The homebred daughter of Bowman’s Bend won the one-mile Gardenia Stakes (gr. III) against older horses at Ellis Park in her previous start. She put in a pair of recent works at Keeneland, though this will also be her synthetic surface debut.
The fourth-place finisher from the CT Oaks, Hot Summer, also returns for owner Harold Queen and trainer David Fawkes. Also by Malibu Moon, she won the Victory Ride (gr. III) at Saratoga in her previous start and has notched four wins in eight career tries.
Shipping in from California for Mike Puype is Mizdirection, who won the Sandy Blue Handicap in wire-to-wire fashion most recently, and was runner-up in the July 24 San Clemente Handicap (gr. II) before that—both on the Santa Anita turf course. The Mizzen Mast filly, partially owned by popular sports talk show host Jim Rome, has never been worse than second in five California starts.
Another California shipper with a chance is Brazilian-bred Great Hot, winner of the Torrey Pines Stakes at Del Mar on Sept. 4, one start after finishing third to Mizdirection in the Sandy Blue. In her most recent try, Great Hot was third in the Lady’s Secret (gr. I) at Santa Anita, beaten only two lengths by Zazu.
Peachtree Stable’s homebred Honey Chile seeks her first victory of the season, but she has hit the board in all five of her starts including the Beaumont (gr. II) in April at Keeneland. Wayne Catalano trains the Invisible Ink filly, who also boasts a decisive maiden win over the Keeneland Polytrack.
Entering off a decisive eight-length sprint win at Belmont Park is speedy filly Roman Treasure. Trained by Mike Hushion for Black Swan Stable, Roman Treasure won her second stakes of the year at Belmont in the Sept. 23 Positive Gal, which was run on a sloppy track. The Roman Ruler filly was third to Hot Summer in the Victory Ride before that, and was third in the grade I Test Stakes in early August when facing division leader Turbulent Descent.
$250,000 Raven Run (gr. II, Race 9, 5:23 p.m.), 3YO Fillies, 7 Furlongs (Polytrack) PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer 1. Ms. Cruisen' (KY), J Alvarado, 117, T B Regard
2. Groupie Doll (KY), G Kuntzweiler, 119, W Bradley
3. Hot Summer (VA), C H Velasquez, 119, D Fawkes
4. Great Hot (BRZ), C Sutherland, 119, A C Avila
5. Funny Sunny (KY), K J Desormeaux, 117, R B Hess, Jr.
6. Button Girl (KY), J Graham, 117, R E Nicks
7. Roman Treasure (KY), J R Leparoux, 117, M E Hushion
8. Dr. Diamonds Prize (KY), V Lebron, 117, M Hubley
9. Long Lake Krista (KY), E S Prado, 117, E R Reed
10. Honey Chile (FL), R Albarado, 117, W M Catalano
11. Strike the Moon (KY), J Pimentel 119, M J Trombetta
12. Mizdirection (KY), G K Gomez, 117, M Puype
13. Grandacious (KY), M Mena, 117, W B Calhoun