The first division of the GRADE 3 VALLEY VIEW STAKES boasts a purse of $125k. The 8.5 furlongs turf race is restricted to three-year-old fillies and will take place at 4:17 ET at Keeneland on Friday. A second division of the race is the penultimate event of the day.
CLOSING RANGE is a winner of three of her first four starts. Despite her name, she likes to be near the front. Look for jockey Jon Court to have her on or near the lead. The daughter of After Market is trained by Phillip Oliver. Class is the question.
The ice cold Ken McPeek who is 0 for 33 at the time of this writing will saddle VOLCAT. Two races back she won the Grade 3 Virginia Oaks in wire to wire fashion. That race produced two next out winners. After that, she was third by a neck in the Pucker Up Stakes at Arlington. This is a good filly, but not only is the trainer icy, but so is jockey Robby Albarado with only 2 wins from 30 mounts.
ZAPPER BELLE has been defeated by several others in this race and has done nothing to show us she is capable of winning a race like this one. Daniel Pietz trains and Corey Lanerie will ride.
Despite being a Group 1 winner overseas, NAYARRA doesn’t appear to be in with a big shot. She closes too slowly to be there on the wire. Kent Desormeaux might be able to get a slice for Graham Motion, but a win would be surprising.
Add MEDOLINA to the list of horses that want to race up front. The speedy Todd Pletcher pupil hasnt fared so well in graded stakes company yet, but hasn’t disgraced herself either. I’d love to see Anna Napravnik take a hold of her and make a run from just off the pace. She has proved she can win while doing so as she took her second start after racing in fifth.
Michael Matz’s COLONIAL FLAG is the one to beat. She enters this race after a win in the Grade 3 Ontario Colleen Stakes. She is 1 for 1 at today’s distance and is the classiest runner in the field as she defeated only a length by Grade 2 winner Centre Court. Her mid pack running style fits this race perfectly. This race is Joe Rocco’s to lose.
ANN OF THE DANCE is without a win in seven turf starts and hasn’t won since August of last year. She probably needs class relief. That said, Wayne Catalano is one of the best trainers at Keeneland and she does finish with interest. If you’re feeling frisky, try using her on a pick 3 or pick 4 ticket. Julien Leparoux makes her more appealing as well.
ANGEL TERRACE likes to finish with a flourish. She came too late last out in a restricted stakes race at Saratoga, but could do better today at Keeneland. She has the look of a late developer, so the question is does she develop today or next time? The Jonathan Sheppard trained lass will be ridden by James Graham.
MISS CATO should be coming on strong in the late stages of the race. She came to America to contest the prestigious Grade 1 American Oaks, a race that saw her finish fourth. Since then, she has been second in an allowance race and the Pucker Up Stakes. The chestnut filly is in great hands with Roger Attfield and she has enlisted a talented pilot in the form of Gabriel Saez. This girl is as live as any horse in the race.
After starting her career in claiming races, COSMIC ENERGY has ascended to Grade 3 company. The Tim Hills pupil has reeled off three wins in a row, two while stalking the pace and another free wheeling on the lead. Today is a big time class test, but she hasn’t failed to pass the class in quite some time. JJ Castellano stays aboard.
RUN A RISK will be trying graded stakes company for the first time. The daughter of Distorted Humor finished two lengths behind next out Grade 1 winner Dayatthespa when last seen. Rusty Arnold is without a win at this meet, but he did saddle this filly to a victory over this turf course April. Paco Lopez is listed to ride.
ALAURA MICHELE will enjoy support at the windows as most Bill Mott trainees do. She faded after a wide trip last out in the Given Stakes at Belmont. Before that she third in the Riskaverse Stakes, half a length in front of Run A Risk. It’s going to be tough for Eddie Castro to work out a solid trip from a wide post.
I’m going with Colonial Flag to win this race. She has the fewest amount of questions to answer and figures to get a dream set up.