10/22/2011 5:34PM

Keeneland: Great Hot holds off Groupie Doll to win Raven Run Stakes

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Coady Photography/Keeneland
Great Hot rallies along the rail to finish a head in front of Groupie Doll (outside) in the Grade 2 Raven Run Stakes at Keeneland.

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Saturday was not Ladies’ Day, per se, at Keeneland. But after Chantal Sutherland and Great Hot narrowly defeated Groupie Doll, ridden by Greta Kuntzweiler, in a thrilling 13th running of the $250,000 Raven Run Stakes, it was difficult to avoid the womanly theme the Grade 2 race had assumed.

Great Hot, a Brazilian-bred filly in from Southern California for Coudelaria Jessica and trainer A.C. Avila, rallied along the rail to finish a head in front of Groupie Doll, who was closing fastest of all down the center of the Polytrack strip. Dr. Diamonds Prize, at 76-1 the longest shot in a field of 12 3-year-old fillies, finished just another half-length back as the race-long pacesetter before being disqualified to fourth for deep-stretch interference on Mizdirection, the 7-2 favorite who was elevated to third. Strike the Moon was just another head back in fifth in a crowded finish.

Sutherland, who has split her time between California and her native Canada in recent years, was winning with just her second Keeneland mount. The 35-year-old Winnipeg native was fourth in the Raven Run last year aboard Kitty in a Tizzy.

“Coming out of the gate, I got a ‘Welcome to Kentucky,’ ” she said with a smile, referring to the mad dash down the backstretch in the seven-furlong race. “Then, she really recovered nicely from there. I was staying in just a really sweet spot. I think she’s an awesome filly, and I’m so grateful to be on her.”

Great Hot, by Orientate, was coming out of four straight two-turn races, having finished third behind the highly regarded Zazu in the Grade 1 Lady’s Secret at Santa Anita in her prior start. She returned $10.40 as third choice after finishing in 1:21.70. She earned $150,000 to more than double her career bankroll to $291,265.

Before a sunbaked crowd of 22,591, Dr. Diamonds Prize set fractions of 22.07 seconds, 44.62, and 1:08.87 under Victor Lebron before the others came swarming, with Great Hot, who raced in midpack early, shooting up the rail from her stalking spot.

Meanwhile, Groupie Doll, locally based with trainer Buff Bradley, clearly had the most momentum in the final furlong before coming up just short as the 5-1 fourth choice. For Kuntzweiler, the result was somewhat disappointing, considering the Raven Run would have been her richest victory since she returned in June 2010 from a 4 1/2-year layoff.

“You can’t take anything away from the filly,” Bradley said. “Or from Greta.”

Keeneland officials believe it was the first time that female riders had finished one-two in a graded stakes in the track’s 75-year history.

Great Hot is not nominated to the Nov. 4 Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint at Churchill Downs, but Avila said paying the hefty fees to become eligible would be seriously considered.

“She’s been good to us since day one,” Avila said.

Easily the disappointment of the Raven Run was Roman Treasure, a New York shipper who never seemed comfortable in chasing the pace and wound up virtually eased as the 4-1 second choice under Julien Leparoux.

The $2 exacta (4-2) paid $53.40, the $1 trifecta (4-2-12) paid $145, and the dime superfecta (4-2-12-8) returned $420.41.