ARCADIA, CA – Ramona Bass’ Avenge returned to the winner’s circle for the first time since last year’s running of this race, taking Grade 1, $300,000 Rodeo Drive Stakes at Santa Anita.
The Rodeo Drive is a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” event, with Avenge receiving an automatic berth in the $2 million Filly & Mare Turf at Del Mar on Saturday, November 4. She finished third in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf here at Santa Anita.
Settled into a close second after the break under Flavien Prat, Avenge tracked leader Goldy Espony through early splits of :23.72, :47.50, and 1:11.34. After bidding between foes entering the top of the turn, Avenge began to inch away on the second turn and held off a late push from Goldy Espony, Responsibleforlove, and Amboseli to win by 3/4 of a length in a final time of 1:58.74 for the 1 1/4-mile turf event.
“I was impressed that she settled off the leader and that she had such a good finish,” said winning trainer Richard Mandella. “It’s been frustrating because we couldn’t quite get her back to herself until now, but I think we do have her now, and we hope we’re in as good of a shape as we did last year.”
Goldy Espony won the three-way photo for second, nosing out Responsibleforlove, who was another nose past Amboseli at the wire. Decked Out, Majestic Heat, Frenzified, Goodyearforroses, and Kiss Me Now completed the order of finish. Beau Recall was scratched.
The win improved Avenge’s record to 16-7-0-3 with career earnings of $868,341.
“This feels very good,” Mandella said. “This is what we do this for.”
Avenge returned $6 to win, $4 to place, and $3 to show. Goldy Espony brought back $9.60 to place and $6.40 to show, while Responsibleforlove paid $6 to show.