G3 Distaff a Long-Term Goal for Interborough Winner Betsy Blue

January 22, 2023

Betsy Blue wins the $100K Interborough (Joe Labozzetta)

Stablemate, Interborough Runner-up Piece of My Heart Targets Heavenly Prize

NYRA Press Office

OZONE PARK, N.Y.— Cloud Nine Stable’s New York-bred Betsy Blue secured her second consecutive open-company stakes conquest in Saturday’s $100,000 Interborough for fillies and mares 4 years old and up at Aqueduct Racetrack.

Trainer Linda Rice said the Grade 3, $150,000 Distaff Handicap on April 7 at the Big A is the long-term goal for Betsy Blue, a 5-year-old Tonalist mare, who posted a one-length score over stablemate Piece of My Heart in the seven-furlong Interborough.

Betsy Blue entered off a sharp victory in the Garland of Roses at the Big A going six furlongs on December 10 – just one week following a third-place finish in the local Grade 3 Go for Wand. In the Interborough, Betsy Blue took towards the rear of the field and launched a wide bid in upper stretch to get up in the final sixteenth and win under her regular rider Jose Lezcano. The winning effort garnered a 79 Beyer Speed Figure.

Winning Move Stable’s Piece of My Heart received a ground-saving come-from-behind trip under Kendrick Carmouche. A 6-year-old chestnut mare by Flat Out, Piece of My Heart took to the rear of the field before matching strides with pacesetter Miss T Too in upper stretch, putting up a valiant effort to finish second.

Rice said Betsy Blue could first run in the Grade 3 Barbara Fritchie on February 18 at Laurel Park in Maryland, while Piece of My Heart will likely remain in New York and could target the $125,000 Heavenly Prize going a one-turn mile the same day.

“Piece of My Heart we might point to the Heavenly Prize and with Betsy Blue, we’ll look at the race in Maryland but the Distaff is the ultimate goal with her,” Rice said.

Bred in New York by Blue Devil Racing Stable, Betsy Blue was claimed by Rice out of a Big A starter optional claimer for $50,000 in March 2021 and competed against fellow state-breds throughout most of her 2021 season, including a triumph in the seven-furlong Bouwerie that May at Belmont Park.

Last year, she turned her focus to open company races and twice defeated allowance optional claiming company going seven furlongs on the NYRA circuit, which included a career-best 96 Beyer following a six-length romp in August at Saratoga Race Course.

Although some of her more prominent victories have taken place going seven furlongs, Rice said Betsy Blue is a better horse at six furlongs, where she brags an 8-3-4-0 record.

“I think she beats better horses going shorter and closing into fast fractions,” Rice said. “She’s graduated, she’s matured and she’s really got the hang of it.”

Jerson Mauricio Suarez, one of four partners involved with Cloud Nine Stable, spoke volumes of the development of Betsy Blue.

“Linda has really taken her on and really guides her and protects her in many ways and that works because she’s now won two stakes races in a row,” Suarez said. “She’s been a winner, shown, placed or won in most of her races. Lately now, she’s been hotter than ever. I’m excited just to be a part of this.”

Chester and Mary Broman’s graded stakes placed New York-homebred Arctic Arrogance breezed six furlongs in 1:15 flat Sunday over the Belmont dirt training track. He finished a game second last out here in the Jerome. He is one of 20 horses nominated to the nine-furlong Grade 3, $250,000 Withers on February 4 at the Big A which offers 20-8-6-4-2 Kentucky Derby points to the top-five finishers.

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