Friday, May 25, 2012

Agave Kiss Remains Undefeated

Agave Kiss has raced six times. She has visited the winner’s circle in just as many occurrences. Having followed her since her breathtaking 6 ¼-length maiden victory, I relished the filly’s accumulated next five wins, which came by a combined winning margin of 30 lengths. With plans of contesting in prestigious grade one sprint races at Saratoga this summer, the owner of Agave Kiss, Flying Zee Racing Stables, and her trainer, Rudy Rodriguez, have campaigned the daughter of Lion Heart methodically throughout her career.

After easily winning her debut, Agave Kiss crushed allowance foes at Aqueduct prior to capturing her first stakes win in the Ruthless Stakes. Following a victory in the Cicada Stakes (GIII), the three-year-old chestnut filly captured the Trevose Stakes at Parx Racing in her first race outside the confines of the Empire State.

The daughter of Lion Heart continued her winning ways on Black-Eyed Susan Day at Pimlico Racecourse (May 18) in the Miss Preakness Stakes, going six furlongs – the only distance at which she has ever contested. As usual, Agave Kiss set the pace, breaking very sharply to attain the lead, never allowing the others to come near her. With Ramon Dominguez aboard for the first time, Agave Kiss constantly drew away from the field as the champion rider remained motionless. At the top of the stretch, the striking chestnut filly had a 5 ½-length advantage on the field, which remained the same as she swept under the wire effortlessly without being asked by Dominguez in the final yards.

Among the six fillies Agave Kiss defeated in the Miss Preakness was Millionreasonswhy, a highly-touted Sagamore Farm-owned filly. The daughter of Grand Slam was a graded stakes winner at two who ran second behind eventual champion My Miss Aurelia in the Adirondack Stakes (GII), becoming the filly who came closest to defeating My Miss Aurelia. Prior to the Miss Preakness, Millionreasonswhy had won an ungraded stakes and placed in a graded stakes as a sophomore. However, Agave Kiss easily defeated her in the Miss Preakness.

Clearly, Agave Kiss’ niche is sprinting, considering each of her races – and victories for that matter – have come at three-quarters of a mile. Her main goal has been made the prestigious seven-furlong Test Stakes (GI), which is scheduled for August 4 at Saratoga Racecourse. This race has produced such victors as the champions Go For Wand, Indian Blessing, and Lady’s Secret.

Only one of Agave Kiss’ four stakes wins is a graded stakes victory – her win in the Cicada Stakes. However, the dominance with which she has won implies that she will be competitive in higher company. But it is not just her racing performances that suggest she will be a lucrative graded stakes performer, but her pedigree as well.

Her sire, Lion Heart, is famous for running second behind Smarty Jones in the 2004 Kentucky Derby (GI) and winning that year’s Haskell Invitational (GI). Though Agave Kiss is a sprinter, Lion Heart has sired successful routers in the Breeders’ Cup Turf (GI)-winning Dangerous Midge and the Arkansas Derby (GI)-winning Line of David. However, the son of Tale of the Cat has been primarily successful with one-turn horses, such as the multiple graded stakes-winning Kantharos and the multiple stakes-winning Gran Lioness. He has also been very profitable with fillies following a path similar to that of Agave Kiss, as he is also the sire of the Cicada Stakes- and Miss Preakness-winning Heart Ashley and the runner-up in the 2009 Test, Pretty Prolific. Agave Kiss’ dam, Salty Romance, was a stakes winner and graded stakes-placed runner who has also produced Luxury Appeal – a black-type winner around one turn.

Considering I have followed Agave Kiss since her astounding maiden victory, the undefeated filly’s campaign has been a fine example of how rewarding it is to follow a racehorse from the beginning of its career. Though incredibly exciting for me, I believe the rest of Agave Kiss’ campaign can be quite exhilarating for other racing fans, too, as she looks to extend her undefeated record. Winning streaks have proven to be very effective in building a horse’s fan base, such as in the case of Black Caviar, Cigar, Rapid Redux, and Zenyatta. Of course, Agave Kiss’ name is unlikely to ever be mentioned in the same breath as many of the aforementioned horses, other than when winning streaks are discussed perhaps. And despite the fact that racing is often focused on middle- or classic-distance races, sprinters can capture the hearts of racing fans as well. The brilliant Agave Kiss has the potential to become a very popular filly.

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1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the great article on one of my favorite fillies! I, too, have been following Kiss from the beginning stages of her career. The future is bright and the sky wide open for this talented, young racehorse.