By Jon Forbes | 10/22/2011 06:08 PM ET
Flying Zee Stables was well represented in this year’s Bertram F. Bongard on Saturday at Belmont Park, finishing first with Night Maneuver, third with The Prize Fighter, fourth with Western Tryst, and 12th with Goodtime Boy. Their best performance on the card, however, might have come from Agave Kiss, who led all the way to register a 6 ¼-length debut victory against 12 New York-bred maiden fillies.
Agave Kiss was quickest away from post 1, opening a two-length lead through an opening quarter-mile in 22.59 seconds and widening the advantage to three lengths through a half in 46.04. In the stretch, apprentice jockey Ryan Curatolo shook the reins at Agave Kiss, who completed six furlongs in 1:09.79. Later on the card, General Maximus, a 3-year-old ridgling, was clocked in 1:09.58 over the same distance.
“She was showing us she could be very, very nice,” said trainer Rudy Rodriguez. “In a 13-horse field, it’s hard breaking from the rail. She showed she’s a runner. Hopefully, she’ll keep improving. She showed a lot of talent and was very professional.”
Through Sunday’s card, Flying Zee Stables maintained a 55-44 lead over Michael Dubb in the 2011 NYRA owner standings, despite the death of its principal, Carl Lizza, in July. The operation will disperse the majority of its holdings in the upcoming weeks, with 40 of its yearlings entered in Fasig-Tipton’s Kentucky Fall Yearlings sale on October 26. Weanlings, broodmares, and horses of racing age will go under the hammer at Fasig-Tipton’s Midlantic December Mixed sale on December 6.
The remaining horses will be campaigned by Lizza’s wife, Viane. Rodriguez hopes Agave Kiss is one of them.
“Viane Lizza told me she was going to send me a nice filly, and she was right,” said Rodriguez. “We’re happy Mr. Lizza gave us the opportunity to train for him.”
Agave Kiss is by Grade 1 Hollywood Futurity and Haskell Invitational winner Lion Heart and out of the Salt Lake mare Salty Romance, who won the Delta Princess as a 2-year-old and finished third in the Grade 3 Santa Ysabel as a 3-year-old.