03/10/2012 4:18PM

Aqueduct: Agave Kiss cruises to victory in Cicada Stakes

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Adam Cglianese/NYRA
Agave Kiss scores a three-length victory over Corderosa in the Grade 3 Cicada Stakes at Aqueduct.

OZONE PARK, N.Y. – As the unbeaten and heavily favored Agave Kiss walked into the starting gate for Saturday’s Grade 3 Cicada Stakes at Aqueduct, Viane Lizza, owner of the New York-bred 3-year-old filly, said she was a nervous wreck.

She might have been the only one.

It shouldn’t have taken long for Lizza’s nerves to subside as Agave Kiss easily outsprinted Alydarla to the lead and cruised to a relatively easy three-length victory over Corderosa in the $147,000 Cicada Stakes at Aqueduct. Corderosa, the second choice, finished second by 6 1/4 lengths over Alydarla. Princess Reyana and Nitara completed the order of finish.

The victory was the fourth in as many starts for Agave Kiss, a daughter of Lion Heart. It was her second consecutive stakes victory, first in a graded event.

“It’s a stakes race, you know how hard it is to win three in a row and then four in a row, and I was a nervous wreck,” said Lizza, who took over as the head of Flying Zee Stables following the death of her husband Carl last July. “I couldn’t be happier. Rudy did a great job.”

Rudy as in Rudy Rodriguez, who trains Agave Kiss. Rodriguez elected to skip last month’s Dearly Precious Stakes, giving Agave Kiss eight weeks between starts. She showed no signs of rust, sprinting to the lead in a quarter-mile run 23.12 seconds under Ryan Curatolo. She increased her lead to five lengths after a half-mile in 46.24. Curatalo said he had to whip Agave Kiss for the first time turning for home, and his filly responded. Corderosa made a bit of a run, but never truly threatened.

“She improved a little bit more today,” said Curatalo, who was this circuit’s leading apprentice in 2011 with 92 wins. “The first time I whipped her and she knows she needs to move, and she responded more and she was great. She did everything great.”

Agave Kiss covered the six furlongs in 1:11.76 and returned $2.50. There was $396,762 wagered on Agave Kiss to show out of a pool of $439,108.

“She was blowing a little bit more than I expected her, a little tired,” Rodriguez said.

While Rodriguez is targeting the Prioress and Test – both Grade 1 races at Saratoga at six and seven furlongs, respectively – he may first attempt to stretch Agave Kiss out to a mile in the Grade 3, $250,000 Comely over the main track here April 7.