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Agave Kiss Tries Open Company in Ruthless

Agave Kiss breaks maiden at Belmont Park. NYRA, Adam Coglianese
Photo: NYRA, Adam Coglianese
Agave Kiss is unbeaten and untested after dominating two races against New York-breds so far in her career. On Saturday, the promising Flying Zee Stable representative will face open company for the first time when she steps up in class for Aqueduct Racetrack’s $75,000 Ruthless for 3-year-old fillies.

 

Making her debut on New York Showcase Day, October 22 at Belmont Park, Agave Kiss widened her lead at every call to break her maiden by 6 ¼ lengths against a field of 12 other maiden New York-bred fillies. She has made one start against winners, drawing off to a 10 ½-length score under a tight hold in a statebred allowance on the Aqueduct inner track on December 1. Like her first two races, the Ruthless will be contested at six furlongs.

 

Trainer Rudy Rodriguez does not see Agave Kiss’s lack of experience as a disadvantage.

 

“Most of the horses she’ll be running against [in the Ruthless] haven’t run that many races, either,” said Rodriguez. “We have to see if she can do it. The race is going to be tough. She was very, very impressive [in her first two races]. Now we just have to test the deep water.”

 

Flying Zee Stable was founded by Carl Lizza, who died in July. The Lizza family started dispersing the family’s equine holdings at auctions in November and December but has retained Agave Kiss.

 

“She showed in the morning that she is special,” said Rodriguez. “Hopefully, she’ll keep running the same way. We’re now running against open company in a stakes, but we have to take a chance. Now is the time to do it.”

 

Agave Kiss, the 5-2 morning-line favorite, will leave from post position 5 with Ryan Curatolo aboard.

 

Corderosa has even less experience than Agave Kiss, having dueled for the early lead from post 1 and drawn clear to a 5 ½-length win at Aqueduct on December 18 in her lone previous start.

 

“I can’t say I expected that big of race,” said David Donk, who trains Corderosa for William J. Punk, Jr. and Philip DiLeo. “I thought she’d run well. I thought it was a competitive race, once she got hooked. In the stretch, she drew away. I think it showed a little bit of her ability and her class.”

 

Like Rodriguez, Donk will be using the Ruthless as a gauge of his filly’s potential.

 

“We don’t have an allowance race, so this is the next step,” said Donk. “It will be a good challenge. This is a little tougher spot than you’d ideally like to be in, or for what you’d think it would be in January at Aqueduct. We have some good fillies [in the Ruthless], but this will give us a good line on where we’ll go in the spring and if she’s graded-stakes quality.”

 

Junior Alvarado will ride Corderosa, 8-1 on the morning line, from post 8.

 

Unlike Agave Kiss and Corderosa, Susan Wantz’s Dance to Bristol already has a stakes win to her credit, having taken the Pandera overnight stakes in the slop at Aqueduct on December 7. In that race, Dance to Bristol raced in tandem up front with Well Kept from start to finish, getting her nose down right on the wire to prevail narrowly. She entered the Pandera off a similar performance, finishing second, beaten a half-length, after setting a contested pace in the Smart Halo on November 19 at Laurel.

 

“It was a great effort,” said trainer Ollie Figgins, III of Dance to Bristol’s Pandera performance. “She ran that day like she did when she lost at Laurel, actually. She’s a gutsy filly. I think she deserves a shot. She always seems to step up to the level of her opponents.”

 

Dance to Bristol, 6-1 on the morning line, drew post 6. Elias Peltroche, aboard for her four most recent races, retains the mount.

 

Treadway Racing Stable’s Well Kept, a granddaughter of Hall of Fame inductee Safely Kept, will have the chance to avenge her Pandera defeat in the Ruthless. Well Kept has won two of four starts, including a four-length maiden triumph on September 25 at Belmont and a 1 ¼-length allowance victory on November 17 at Aqueduct.

 

“Everybody has to go out and prove themselves,” said Well Kept’s trainer, Leah Gyarmati. “It will be a fun race to watch. She comes out of every race just as good or better as she goes into it. She’s doing phenomenally. She’s always been close to or on the lead, but I don’t think she has to be, depending on what happens. She’s probably more versatile than her form shows.”

 

Irad Ortiz, Jr. has the assignment aboard Well Kept, 5-1 on the morning line, from post 9.

 

The Ruthless field also includes Double the Energy, winner of three in a row in the Mid-Atlantic region; Love Contract, victorious in two straight at Parx Racing; Defy Gravity, third in the Pandera; Cute Cadet, third in the East View on December 7 at Aqueduct; Better Lucky, a 4 ¼-length debut winner on December 7 at Aqueduct whose form was flattered when third-place finisher Evasive Cat returned to break her maiden Wednesday at the Big A; and Perennial Song, unraced since finishing third in the Grade 3 Tempted in October at Belmont.

 

The field for the $75,000 Ruthless:

PP

Horse

Jockey

Wgt

Trainer

Odds

1

Double the Energy (NY)

H Vega

120

J E Salzman, Jr.

15-1

2

Love Contract (PA)

M Chaves

122

D W Geist

15-1

3

Defy Gravity (KY)

R Fogelsonger

120

V A Testerman

12-1

4

Cute Cadet (NY)

A Smith

118

J R Rosado

50-1

5

Agave Kiss (NY)

R Curatolo

118

R R Rodriguez

5-2

6

Dance to Bristol (KY)

E Peltroche

122

O L Figgins, III

6-1

7

Better Lucky (KY)

C H Velasquez

116

T Albertrani

8-1

8

Corderosa (KY)

J Alvarado

116

D G Donk

8-1

9

Well Kept (KY)

I Ortiz, Jr.

118

L Gyarmati

5-1

10

Perennial Song (KY)

R A Dominguez

118

A W Dutrow

5-2

 

 

 

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