Ave charged between favored Red Desire and
Changing Skies in the shadow of the wire Saturday afternoon at Belmont Park to
take a thrilling edition of the Grade 1, $500,000 Flower Bowl Invitational by
Settled towards the back as Gozzip Girl towed the field of seven
fillies and mares through dawdling fractions of 26.05, 53.54 and 1:19.19 over a
yielding turf course, Ave was moved into contention by jockey Javier Castellano
as the field fanned seven-wide straightening for home. With the Japanese filly,
Red Desire, and Changing Skies emerging from the fray to battle for the lead
through the final hundred yards, Ave hit her best stride in deep stretch and
split the first two in the last jump to earn her first American victory.
“I really liked what she did today [splitting] horses in
between,” said Castellano, aboard the 4-year-old daughter of Danehill
Dancer for the first time. “She fought all the way to the end.”
Bred in Great Britain,
where she began her career, Ave was third in the Grade 3 Gallorette at Pimlico
in May in her United States
debut. She was third again in the Grade 2 New York at Belmont the following month, and second in
the Grade 2 Dance Smartly at Woodbine. She most recently finished eighth as the
favorite after a rough trip in the Grade 1 Beverly D.
The win, worth $300,000 to Three Chimneys Racing and Trevor Harris, was
her fifth from 14 lifetime starts.
She returned $23 for a $2 win bet in completing the 1 ¼ miles in 2:08.54.
“It was very exciting in the end, wasn’t it,” said
trainer Roger Attfield, who watched the race from Canada. “After what happened
in the Beverly D., I was pleased for her.”
Changing Skies held for second, three-quarters of a length in front of Red
“We were close and she ran hard,” said Hall of Famer Bill
Mott, trainer of Changing Skies. “The final furlong she was in front
every jump except the last one, where it counted.”
Red Desire, a Group 1 winner in Japan
who was making her United
States debut in preparation for a start in
the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf at Churchill Downs on November 5,
was three lengths in front of Shared Account, who was followed by Forever
Together and Gozzip Girl.
“She did well,” said Nobutaka Tada, racing manager for
owner Yoko Yamamoto’s Horseracing Co., Ltd., of Red Desire.
“She’s been off for five months, it was soft ground and there was
no pace – she had many things against her. It was unlucky for her to
finish third, but she was brave.”