The Spa Spot: Kissable sweet in Waya Stakes
Kissable provided a nice start to what will be memorable week for trainer Roger Attfield and jockey John Velazquez Monday with a victory in the $100,000 Richmor Aviation Waya Stakes.
Attfield was in London and did not attend the race, but he and Velazquez will be in Saratoga Springs Friday for their induction into the National Museum of Racing's Hall of Fame.
Velazquez took care of business with Kissable and guided her to a four-length victory in the 1 1/2 miles race on the inner turf course. It was second start in North America for the Irish-bred daughter of Danehill Dancer, who shipped in from Attfield's stable in Toronto. She was not a factor in her first start for Attfield in the nine-furlong Dance Smartly on July 8.
Kissable paid $10.40 as the second choice in the field of nine.
“I’m told she won nicely and I’m very pleased," Attfield said by phone from London. "She had been training really, really well into it. The race in Canada was a new experience for her. Coming from over there, they’re not used to running away from the gate so quickly and I think it was a bit short for her. After that race was when she started to get aggressive in her training. She’s gotten a lot sharper. Her last couple of works were especially good and I expected she would run well.”
Velazquez made a sweeping move toward the lead on the final turn and Kissable rallied to get to the front and win handily.
“After talking to the assistant trainer, they thought that she actually was going to benefit from the distance and the way the ground was softer today," Velazquez said. "I thought [with her] coming from England it would benefit ourselves as well. It just worked out perfect.
"I saved the best ground I could around the first two turns. When we got to the backstretch and everyone moved out, I said ‘I’m going to go for the best ground.’ When I put her out, she felt more comfortable on the better ground, and that was the key right there. Once she got her feet underneath her [at the 3/8 pole] you could see she was stronger in the middle of the track, so we kept her there.”
Velazquez said he was happy to ride a winner for Attfield on Hall of Fame week.
“What a great guy and a great person to be around, and what a great trainer as well," he said. "It’s well-deserved, and I’m glad to be part of it. He’s been great to me for a long time now. He’s given me a lot of good chances on his horses.”