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Breeders' Cup 2017

Weaver Hopes for Keeneland Stakes Double

As the lone Grade 1 winner in a field of 14, Richlyn Farm’s Lighthouse Bay appears to own a huge class edge going into Saturday’s 15th running of the $250,000 Lexus Raven Run (G2) for 3-year-old fillies going seven furlongs on Keeneland’s Polytrack surface.

The Polytrack is the unknown variable for Lighthouse Bay, who has never raced on the all-weather surface.

“(Thursday) morning was the first time she has set foot on an all-weather surface,” trainer George Weaver said. “I hope she adapts to it. I’ve found that they either like it or they don’t. I like to come in right on top of the race. A lot of times, they will do well the first couple of days on the all-weather and then go through an adjustment period. This way they can run before they adjust.”

Winner of the Prioress (G1) at Saratoga in July, Lighthouse Bay finished fifth in the seven-furlong Test (G1) in her most recent start on Aug. 24 at Saratoga.

“We had her in a race at Belmont three weeks ago, but there was an incident at the starting gate and she had to be scratched,” Weaver said. “But she is doing well and had a nice work at Saratoga Monday before coming here.”

A Kentucky native, Weaver has another filly with a class edge in this afternoon’s 23rd running of the $150,000 Pin Oak Valley View (G3) in Bona Venture Stables’ Summer of Fun.

Third in the JPMorgan Chase Jessamine (G3) here last fall, Summer of Fun followed that effort with a third-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) at Santa Anita to conclude her 2012 campaign. This year, Summer of Fun has run only four times with two victories, a second and a fifth-place finish in the Garden City (G1) in her most recent start in which she was beaten less than two lengths.

“We planned to give her some time after the Breeders’ Cup,” Weaver said. “But there was a lot of small stuff – a bruise, a fever – that we did not get her back to the races until March. We had a race for her at Calder that got rained off the turf so then we pointed for the race at Pimlico.”

That race was the Hilltop, in which Summer of Fun was beaten by a nose by Emotional Kitten.

“Our filly ran well that day and the filly that beat her was no slouch,” Weaver said of Emotional Kitten, who placed in two Grade 1 races in California after the Hilltop.

 

 

 

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