Betsy Blue wins Garland of Roses off short rest

Saturday, December 10th, 2022

Betsy Blue storms from off the pace to win Saturday’s Garland of Roses at Aqueduct. Susie Raisher/NYRA Photo.

Betsy Blue went from Grade 3-placed to open stakes winner in a weeks’ time Saturday, taking the $116,400 Garland of Roses with a last-to-first run through the Aqueduct stretch.

Cloud Nine Stable’s 4-year-old daughter of Tonalist bounced out of her third in the Grade 3 Go for Wand last week at Aqueduct and shortened up to win the 6-furlong Garland of Roses by 1 1/4 lengths over Beguine. Jose Lezcano rode the winner for trainer Linda Rice.

“We accomplished what we wanted with the Grade 3 [placing] and, frankly, I knew it was back on short rest, but she’s won all of her conditions and there’s limited opportunities for her,” Rice said. “It’s on her home court and she came out of the race great, so I said ‘let’s go right back.’ ”

Betsy Blue not only added the Garland of Roses to her third in the 1-mile Go for Wand, she collected her second stakes victory after taking the 2021 Bouwerie Stakes on Big Apple Showcase Day. She improved to 9-for-20 and boosted her bankroll to $604,510.

Bred by Blue Devil Racing and foaled at Sugar Maple Farm in Poughquag, Betsy Blue was claimed by Rice for $50,000 out of a victory March 25, 2021 at Aqueduct. Betsy Blue won her next two starts, including the Bouwerie, during a sophomore campaign where she went 4-4-1 in nine starts.

Betsy Blue has been equally effective at 4, now with five wins in 11 starts to go with three seconds and a third. She won back-to-back starts in allowance-optional company in mid-August at Saratoga Race Course and at the Belmont at the Big A meet before a fourth in the Iroquois Stakes on Empire Showcase Day in late October.

Betsy Blue went off as the 2-1 second choice in the field of five for the Garland of Roses, behind even-money choice Smash Ticket.

Lezcano was content to let Betsy Blue trail the field – which was reduced by two after the scratches of Hot Peppers and Dontletsweetfoolya – as Smash Ticket and Disco Ebo battled through the opening quarter-mile in :22.51. Beguine, racing just behind the top two early, took over before the half in :45.78 with Betsy Blue still 4 1/2 lengths back trailing the field.

“I saw Lezcano was urging her to keep her close enough to win and that was the idea,” Rice said. “She’s coming off of a mile, so he had to encourage her a little bit but she’s such a professional and she loves what she’s doing.”

Lezcano tipped Betsy Blue wide turning into the lane, gained on the leader with every stride and took control inside the sixteenth pole to win going away. Betsy Blue won in 1:10.92 with Beguine second, 4 1/4 lengths ahead of Disco Eba. Snicket, another New York-bred running back on short rest, finished fourth with Smash Ticket fifth.

“She’s a very good mare. She always tries hard and gives me her best,” Lezcano said. “They went pretty quick in front early on and when they turned for home she found another gear, went on and won the race. Any race from a mile to three quarters, she always tries hard.”

Betsy Blue is the fourth foal out of the stakes-placed Yonaguska mare Honest to Betsy. Her first foal, the City Zip mare Sand City, won two of 25 starts with 10 placings and earned $87,895. Honest to Betsy is also the dam of the unraced 2-year-old New York-bred Unified filly Midnight Confession and a New York-bred colt by Mitole foaled April 30.

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