Avenge wins the John C. Mabee
Ramona S. Bass’ Avenge earned her first graded stakes victory Sunday, stalking the early pace and taking over at the head of the lane to just last in the G2 John C. Mabee Stakes at Del Mar. The 4-year-old daughter of War Front defeated a full field of 11 other fillies and mares by a head on the wire under Flavien Prat, recording a final time of 1:48.82 for nine furlongs on the firm turf. Avenge is trained by Richard Mandella.
“We tried her in the mile earlier in the meet and were very happy with that result,” Mandella said. “We were kind of worrying about the mile and an eighth, but I thought about it, and ‘You know what, we’ll never know if we don’t try.’ That’s why we’re here. She was doing really well and whenever you’ve got a good horse that’s improving, you never know. I told John Mabee’s grandson it was an honor to win this race named for his grandfather. I trained for him and we had a lot of good days together.”
Gloryzapper broke well and rushed up to the lead inside of Avenge, attempting to slow down the early pace significantly after a :23.26 first quarter mile. Avenge went a bit wide on the first turn, but stayed within a length of the leader to track her through a :48.28 half. It was another four lengths back to Fresh Feline, Queen of the Sand and Finest City. The heavily favored Sobradora Inc was just behind those three. Fresh Feline began to close that gap, moving up alongside Avenge entering the far turn with Finest City and Prize Exhibit moving with her.
At the head of the lane Avenge took over the lead from Gloryzapper, bursting away to a two-length advantage over Finest City. Avenge was all out late to hold off Finest City by a neck on the wire, with Elektrum another half-length back in third. Keri Belle got up to be fourth after she was nearly last in the early going, and the heavily favored Sobradora Inc finished fifth.
“Richard (trainer Mandella) said: ‘Just stay calm,’” relayed Prat. “This filly has a little breathing problem and she needs to relax. Today she did. The race came up just the way I’d hoped. We were in a good spot and she was going easy. Then she put in her good run. It worked out perfectly.”
Bred in Kentucky by the Lerici Syndicate, Avenge was a $ 650,000 Fasig-Tipton Select Yearling Sale purchase. The Mabee is her first graded win and fifth lifetime win from 11 starts, improving her career earnings to over $ 290,000.
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