10/01/2016 7:01PM

Avenge wins Rodeo Drive, earns BC Filly and Mare Turf spot

Benoit & Associates
Avenge's victory in the Rodeo Drive Stakes gives her a berth in the BC Filly and Mare Turf on Nov. 5.

ARCADIA, Calif. - Avenge has compiled a three-race winning streak that will carry her to the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf at Santa Anita on Nov. 5.

On Saturday, at the same venue, Avenge won the first Grade 1 race of her career in the $302,415 Rodeo Drive Stakes for fillies and mares at 1 1/4 miles on turf. The race was run over the same course and distance as the BC Filly and Mare Turf. Avenge earned a fees-paid berth to the BC Filly and Mare Turf through the Breeders’ Cup Win and You’re In Program.

Ridden by Flavien Prat, Avenge ($12.40) led throughout and held off the sustained presence of Zipessa, the 2-1 favorite, to win by three-quarters of a length. Frenzified, a 10-1 shot, finished third. The first three finishers occupied those positions for much of the race.

The victory left winning trainer Richard Mandella impressed at how Avenge has evolved from a stakes-winner sprinter of a minor race in 2015 to a Grade 1 winner this year.

Avenge led as much as 1 1/2 lengths early in the race, and by a half-length on the turn and into early stretch before she gained a wider advantage on the pesky Zipessa.

“I could see she had a comfortable lead,” Mandella said. “I didn’t realize how much she had until I saw her open up a couple of lengths.”

Avenge was timed in 1:58.52.

Owned by Ramona Bass, Avenge, a 4-year-old filly by War Front, has won 6 of 12 starts and has earned $471,996.

The current winning streak includes two turf races at Del Mar – an optional-claimer at a mile July 24, and the Grade 2 John Mabee Stakes at 1 1/8 miles Sept. 4.

Keri Belle finished fourth, followed by Tiz a Kiss, Majestic Heat, Fresh Feline, Elektrum, Real Smart, Sobradora Inc, Generosidade, and Decked Out.

Zipessa, who was third in the Grade 1 Beverly D Stakes at Arlington Park in August, will be considered for the BC Filly and Mare Turf, trainer Mike Stidham said.

“She stayed the mile and a quarter and that was the question,” Stidham said. “That was a big effort.”

Stidham said Zipessa will be sent to Keeneland to train through October. Stidham said Zipessa may be considered for the $200,000 Goldikova Stakes for fillies and mares at a mile on turf on Nov. 6 at Santa Anita.