ARCADIA, Calif. (April 9, 2015)–Favored Avenge rallied from just off the pace under Flavien Prat to register a convincing 1 ½ length win in Thursday’s $58,000 allowance feature at Santa Anita as the 3-year-old daughter of War Front negotiated 6 ½ furlongs down the track’s hillside turf course in 1:13.90. Trained by Richard Mandella and owned by Ramona Bass, LLC, she won for the second consecutive time down the hill, but her trainer is convinced she’ll do well on dirt as well.
“She does like the turf but I don’t know that she can’t run on dirt,” said Mandella. “I don’t think the dirt was the reason she didn’t run well before because she didn’t run any better on the hill her first time. She’s a good filly and I just need to cultivate her a little bit.”
Off at 9-5 in a field of eight fillies and mares, Avenge took command at the sixteenth pole and paid $5.60, $3.40 and $2.60. Following her maiden score down the hillside on March 15, Avenge now has two wins from three starts over the unique layout and is two for five overall. With the winner’s share of $34,800, her earnings stand at $79,600.
“She was great behind the speed today,” said Prat. “She was a little bit green when she was up front last time, she was real keen. I had a lot of horse and a lot of confidence once we crossed the dirt (at the top of the stretch). I’m grateful to be riding her.”
Ridden by Victor Espinoza, Sea Mona sat second throughout behind fractions of 21.64, 44.07 and 1:07.74, and when pacesetter Windy Forecast folded a sixteenth out, the winner went by on her outside. Off at 7-2, Sea Mona paid $4.00 and $3.00.
Ridden by Rafael Bejarano, Whisk rallied to out finish Desert Steel for the show, finishing three quarters of a length behind Sea Mona. The second choice at 3-1, Whisk paid $2.40 to show.
First post time on Friday at Santa Anita is at 1 p.m. Admission gates open at 11 a.m. The $75,000 Santa Lucia Stakes for older fillies and mares will serve as the day’s headliner and has been carded as the sixth race on an eight race card. Two time Eclipse Award winner Beholder will make her 5-year-old debut in the Santa Lucia and is the heavy 1-5 morning line favorite.