Betsy Blue rolls home a winner in the Garland of Roses (Joe Labozzetta)
NYRA Press Office
OZONE PARK, N.Y.— Cloud Nine Stable’s New York-bred Betsy Blue was awarded a 91 Beyer Speed Figure for her last-to-first victory for trainer Linda Rice in Saturday’s $120,000 Garland of Roses, a six-furlong sprint for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up, at Aqueduct Racetrack.
The 4-year-old daughter of Tonalist arrived at the Garland of Roses just one week after finishing a closing third in the one-mile Grade 3 Go for Wand on December 3 at the Big A, finishing eight lengths behind the victorious Dr B with regular pilot Jose Lezcano up.
Lezcano returned to ride on Saturday and kept Betsy Blue in contention while saving ground in last-of-5 for the first half-mile before rousing her to close six-wide down the center of the racetrack and score the second stakes win of her career by 1 1/4 lengths.
Rice said Betsy Blue gave all the signs that she was ready to run again after the Go for Wand.
“She’s doing great and came out well,” said Rice. “She came out of the last race well and we were really just trying to get a graded placing, and fortunately we were third. That race ended up running very, very fast, but she came out of it well, so we went ahead and ran her right back. Obviously, she liked the distance, it was the right pace scenario for her and it was a good result.”
Betsy Blue has become a barn favorite since joining Rice last March when haltered for $50,000 out of a winning effort at the Big A for previous conditioner George Weaver. Rice said Betsy Blue does her job with professionalism and ease.
“She’s a dream,” said Rice. “She’s real kind and easy to train. She’s a real pleasure to have around the barn and she’s a love. She’s very professional and never does anything out of the ordinary.”
Betsy Blue’s other stakes victory was against fellow state-breds in the Bouwerie last May at Belmont Park, capping a three-win streak that she posted in her first three outings for Rice and Cloud Nine Stable. The consistent bay has hit the board in 15-of-17 starts since being claimed and has amassed over $600,000 in total purse earnings.
Rice indicated Betsy Blue may return for the $100,000 Interborough on January 21 at the Big A with an eye on another graded attempt in the Grade 3, $250,000 Barbara Fritchie on February 18 at Laurel Park.
Bred in the Empire State by Blue Devil Racing Stable, Betsy Blue is out of the stakes-placed Yonaguska mare Honest to Betsy. She is from the family of multiple graded stakes-winner Wild Rush and multiple graded stakes-placed runner/stakes-producing sire Wild Tale.