Ivan Dalos' homebred Avie's Flatter, a two-time restricted stakes winner in Canada, made his 2019 debut a winning one in Friday's G3 Transylvania Stakes at Keeneland. The 3-year-old son of Flatter and jockey Javier Castellano got clear in the stretch and had to hold off a late run from favorite Henley's Joy, winning by a half-length on the wire. Trained by Josie Carroll, the 4-1 Avie's Flatter completed 1 1/16 miles over the firm turf course in 1:42.86.
“We had some pretty solid works at Palm Meadows (training center in Florida),” Carroll said. “I thought he was in good order, but I did say to Javier, 'Keep him covered up a little bit and make sure you have some horse to finish because it has been a while since he ran.'
“Mr. (Ivan) Dalos breeds a really good horse, and we thought this horse was special from the very beginning.”
Avie's Flatter broke a bit slow while Onthewaytonevrland flew out to take command around the clubhouse turn. Weekly Call and The Black Album were also close up, as Avie's Flatter took up position just off the rail in fourth while flanked by Dunph. Meanwhile, favorite Henley's Joy was last of the eight-horse field down the backstretch.
Onthewaytonevrland led through fractions of :23.59 and :48.23, but was taken on by both The Black Album and Avie's Flatter in the stretch. Those two easily passed the frontrunner, but it was Avie's Flatter on the outside to kick just a bit stronger and hit the wire a half-length winner. Henley's Joy endured traffic problems around the far turn and came flying late to earn second, while The Black Album was a solid third in tight quarters.
“I really liked the way he did it today,” said Castellano. “I've been studying the horse since last year. (I) rode against (him). I like the way he does everything. He can be on the lead. He can cover up. Today he broke a little slow. I didn't rush it. (Considering) the layoff and the way he performed today – very amazing.”
The remaining order of finish was: War Film, Onthewaytonevrland, Louder Than Bombs, Weekly Call, and Dunph.
A half-brother to a pair of six-figure earners, the Ontario-foaled Avie's Flatter is likely on the path toward the Canadian classics this year. The Transylvania is his fourth win from five starts, improving the colt's career earnings to $340,000.
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