English-bred Ave split horses in deep stretch and got up just before the wire to post a 10-1 upset in the $500,000 Flower Bowl Invitational Stakes (gr. IT) (VIDEO) Oct. 2 at Belmont Park.
Brilliantly ridden by Javier Castellano, Ave was reserved for much of the way through a slow pace. She moved into contention on the final turn, but still had three horses to pass in deep stretch. After getting by Shared Account inside the sixteenth pole, the 4-year-old Danehill Dancer filly threaded her way between Japanese invader Red Desire, who was along the inside, and Changing Skies, the leader with only yards remaining.
Showing a sharp turn of foot, Ave was able to run down Changing Skies just before the wire to earn her first North American victory in five tries and her first grade I triumph. The bay filly completed 1 1/4 miles on the yielding turf course in 2:08.54 while winning by a head. Changing Skies was second, three parts of a length in front of group I winner Red Desire, who was making her North American debut.
Former champion Forever Together finished sixth in a field of seven fillies and mares.
"She settled behind horses, we saved ground and I had a perfect trip all the way," Castellano said "I really liked what she did today, (splitting) horses in between. She got it done today. She fought all the way until the end."
Roger Attfield trained the winner for Three Chimneys Racing and Trevor Harris. A group III winner in Ireland last season, Ave made her U.S. debut in May when finishing third in the Gallorette Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Pimlico. Two starts ago she missed by a nose in the Dance Smartly Stakes (Can-IIT) at Woodbine and then she was eighth during a troubled trip as the 3-1 favorite in the Beverly D. Stakes (gr. IT) Aug. 21 at Arlington Park.
Bred by Plantation Stud, Ave has a 5-2-3 record in 14 career races and has earned $556,169. She is out of the In the Wings mare Anna Amalia.
"After what happened in the Beverly D., I was pleased for her," Attfield said. "When I heard how much rain you had had down there over the past two days, I knew the course would be soft and it was obviously going to be a dawdle, but I didn’t think it would bother her. I’m not sure what’s next for her; she came into this race very, very well and we’ll have to see how she comes out of it and then sit down and talk to the owners.”
Gozzip Girl set a pedestrian pace in the Flower Bowl, crawling through fractions of :26.05, :53.54, and 1:19.19. Changing Skies was close to the pace, as was Shared Account, who led after a mile in 1:44.17 before being collared by Red Desire at the top of the stretch.
The winner paid $23, $10, and $6.10. The exacta (5-3) returned $145 and the trifecta (5-3-2) was $655.
Keertana was fourth, followed by Shared Account, Forever Together, and Gozzip Girl. Tarrip was scratched.