Wavell Avenue charges late to take TwinSpires BC Filly & Mare Sprint

Profile Picture: Vance Hanson

October 31st, 2015

Wavell Avenue’s late-closing second to La Verdad in last month’s Gallant Bloom H. (G2) was a precursor of good things to come for the four-year-old Ontario-bred. Getting an extra sixteenth of a mile to work with in Saturday’s $920,000 TwinSpires Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1), the daughter of Harlington wore down the speedy La Verdad in the final sixteenth to take the seven-furlong test by 1 3/4 lengths at Keeneland on Saturday.

As far back as 11th in the 14-horse field as La Verdad sprinted out to lead pressers Stonetastic and Taris, Wavell Avenue began to improve position rounding the turn. La Verdad’s splits of :22.53 and :45.12 were not taxing by her standards, and she ultimately put away Stonetastic while bracing from an eventual challenge from Wavell Avenue.

Still four lengths behind with an eighth to go, Wavell Avenue charged home under Joel Rosario to win in a time of 1:22.39 over a fast track.

Owned by the partnership of Michael Dubb, David Simon, Head of Plains Partners and Bethlehem Stables, the Chad Brown trainee paid $22 as a 10-1 chance.

La Verdad just held second by a neck over Taris, with 3-1 favorite Cavorting fourth after a wide journey down the backside from post 14. Defending champion Judy the Beauty was fifth.

Wavell Avenue has come a long way since breaking her maiden for a $40,000 tag just over a year ago. A winner in three of her next five starts, the filly finished third and fourth in restricted stakes at Woodbine and Saratoga during the summer, but rebounded late in the Spa meet to take a third-level allowance by a nose.

That performance set her up well for the September 26 Gallant Bloom at Belmont. Chasing a loose-on-the-lead La Verdad after stumbling at the start, Wavell Avenue finished strongly to miss by a half-length.

Despite the setback to Wavell Avenue, La Verdad must be considered the favorite to win the Eclipse Award as champion female sprinter. This was the first loss of the season for the New York-bred, whose other open stakes wins this season were the Honorable Miss H. (G2), Vagrancy H. (G3), and Distaff H. (G2). She also won twice in state-bred company, including last week’s $150,000 Iroquois.

Click for the TwinSpires Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint quotes and transcript.

(Photo: Matt Wooley/EquiSport Photos)