10/17/2008 11:00PM

Informed Decision executes plan


LEXINGTON, Ky. - John Velazquez took center stage for a second straight sun-splashed Saturday at Keeneland when giving favored Informed Decision a textbook ride in winning the Grade 2 Raven Run Stakes at Keeneland.

Informed Decision reeled in front-running Secret Gypsy leaving the eighth pole when powering away to a 4 1/4-length triumph in the seven-furlong Raven Run, returning $4.40 as the solid choice in a field of 13 3-year-old fillies.

Velazquez, who suffered a severe concussion on Oct. 3, opening day of the Keeneland fall meet, won the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth Challenge Cup on Oct. 11 in his first day back.

"This race worked out really well for us," said Velazquez. "We knew there was a lot of speed in the race. Once I got her going, she quickened down the lane. It was very impressive."

Informed Decision, a gray daughter of Monarchos, set a track record of 1:20.86 over the Polytrack surface, which first came into use at the 2006 fall meet. Jonathan Sheppard trains the winner for Augustin Stable.

Secret Gypsy, with Robby Albarado up, set fractions of 21.96 seconds, 44.21, and 1:08.23, with Dreaming of Liz and Dubai Majesty giving chase while Informed Decision laid in wait in mid-pack. Secret Gypsy drew clear turning for home but had no response to the winner while holding second, a neck before Dubai Majesty, who had two more lengths on Valentine Fever.

Informed Decision was purchased for $320,000 at the 2-year-old Eaton Sales in Maryland in May 2007. She had won 4 of 6 prior starts, but the Raven Run is her biggest score..

The attendance was a meet-high 24,241.

Always First upsets Transduction Gold

Two races earlier, Always First ($14.60) rebounded from a dull comeback effort by going last-to-first to win the Grade 3, $150,000 Sycamore Stakes by three-quarters of a length over favored Transduction Gold.

Ridden by Rene Douglas and trained by Tommy Voss, Always First lagged far off a solid pace set by Rumor Has It before rallying up the rail and finishing 1 1/2 miles in 2:30.98 over firm turf. A 7-year-old British-bred gelding, Always First most recently had been eighth in the Sept. 13 Kentucky Cup Turf off a year layoff.

Transduction Gold, the 2-1 favorite and defending champion, tracked the pace under Jon Court, took command, then continued resolutely in saving second by a neck over Telling, who was third by a nose over Good Request in the field of 10.