Betsy Blue starts 2023 with Interborough win

Saturday, January 21st, 2023

Betsy Blue adds another open-company stakes, the Interborough, to season-ending victory in Garland of Roses. Susie Raisher/NYRA Photo.

New year, same result for Betsy Blue.

Cloud Nine Stable’s 5-year-old Tonalist mare picked up where she left off in late 2022 with a rallying victory in Saturday’s $97,000 Interborough Stakes at Aqueduct. Betsy Blue closed from last after the opening half-mile to run down leaders Miss T Too and stablemate Piece of My Heart inside the final sixteenth for her second straight stakes victory for trainer Linda Rice and jockey Jose Lezcano.

Sent off the 1-5 favorite in the field of five reduced by the scratch of Easy to Bless, Betsy Blue also improved to 10-for-21 with seven seconds and two thirds and $659,510 in earnings.

“The numbers say she shouldn’t be doing this, but she continues to just find a way,” said Jerson Nauricio Suarez, a partner in the Cloud Nine group that came on board as the mare’s owner before her victory in the 2021 Bouwerie Stakes on Big Apple Showcase Day at Belmont Park.

Betsy Blue went 5-3-1 in 11 starts last year, earning $379,010, and Rice and the Cloud Nine group are optimistic for another strong campaign in 2023.

“We’ll just play it by ear. I’ll see what the Barbara Fritchie looks like,” Rice said of the Grade 3 stakes for fillies and mares February 18 at Laurel Park. “I’d prefer to stay in New York when I can. I’d rather not ship and run. She’s run very well at Aqueduct so I just assume I’ll keep her here if I can. But I will look at the Barbara Fritchie. The long-term goal would be the Distaff (April 3 at Aqueduct).”

Kentucky shipper Miss T Too, a daughter of Into Mischief making her final start before heading to the breeding shed, took the early lead not long after the break. She led and jockey Eric Cancel led by a head from Flight to Shanghai with Self Isolation close up. Betsy Blue trailed early but inched up to fourth as Miss T Too hit the opening quarter-mile in :23.54.

Miss T Too continued to lead around the far turn and held a half-length advantage over Self Isolation. Betsy Blue continued wide around the bend and into the lane and made a run toward Miss T Too and Piece of My Heart outside the eighth pole. Betsy Blue gained the advantage just inside the sixteenth pole and drew away late to a 1-length win in 1:25.94 for 7 furlongs on the fast track.

Piece of My Heart, second to Betsy Blue in an optional-allowance in mid-September during the Belmont at the Big A meet, held Miss T Too a length clear for the runner-up spot. Self Isolation and Flight to Shanghai completed the field.

“I saw the three horses go head-to-head there and I kept her in the clear,” Lezcano said. “In the middle of the turn, [Flight to Shanghai] kind of went out a little, but she was the best filly in the race and she showed it.

“She’s so good. She keeps holding her form and in every race, she keeps running better and better. She’s a nice horse and there’s nothing more I could ask for.”

Betsy Blue also improved to 4-for-6 at 7 furlongs, although her trainer feels she might be more effective going a touch shorter.

“She might be better at 6 1/2, closing into faster fractions,” she said. “I’m not sure seven-eighths to a mile is her best distance but she’s pretty versatile.”

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.

“She’s a great filly to have in the barn for almost two years now,” Rice said. “I was impressed with her first two races before claiming her. I actually was out-shook on her and then we doubled up on her. There was a seven-way shake on her the first time and the second time it was just us. We had to reach a little harder.”

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 3-year-old New York-bred Unified filly Midnight Confession and a yearling New York-bred colt by Mitole.

Leave a Reply