Hot Fudge Gets Sweet Rewards in Garland of Roses

December 9, 2023

Kendrick Carmouche hustles Hot Fudge (inside) to the win over Kant Hurry. (Susie Raisher)

By Mary Eddy

OZONE PARK, N.Y. – KEM Stables’ Hot Fudge notched her third consecutive victory and first stakes score with an off-the-pace rally in Saturday’s $120,000 Garland of Roses, a six-furlong sprint for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up, at Aqueduct Racetrack. 

Trained by Linda Rice, the 4-year-old daughter of Liam’s Map wheeled back on eight days’ rest after taking an optional claimer by 3 1/4 lengths first off a six-month layoff on December 1 here, a move that has garnered success for Rice several times in the past year. She sent out last year’s Garland of Roses victress Betsy Blue on the heels of a third-place finish in the Grade 3 Go for Wand just one week prior, and Mommasgottarun to a graded stakes triumph in the Grade 3 Distaff Handicap this April with five days between starts. 

“I’ve done it before, right,” Rice said of the quick turnaround. “When we gave her the summer off, it wasn’t that there was any specific reason other than I just thought she needed it. I gave her all summer and she’s been ready to run for a while. She ran a big race, and I thought that race would tighten her up. You’re always a little apprehensive when you run them back on short rest, but I knew that this filly was doing well enough to do it.”

Ridden to victory by Kendrick Carmouche, Hot Fudge broke cleanly from the outermost post 5 as Headland showed early speed before being overtaken by Olga Isabel, who quickly ducked in from post 3 and established inside position to mark an opening quarter mile in 21.94 seconds over the fast main track. 

Hot Fudge raced in third behind the top pair down the backstretch and was angled wide by Carmouche into the turn to set her sights on the lead as the Trevor McCarthy-piloted Kant Hurry Love came under a ride from fourth and followed the run of Hot Fudge. Olga Isabel gave way at the top of the lane after a half-mile in 45.19 and relinquished the advantage to a game Headland, but Hot Fudge gained ground with each stride down the center of the course and stuck her head in front near the sixteenth marker. 

Kant Hurry Love was fully extended in late stretch and continued to inch closer within the final sixteenth, but Hot Fudge had enough left late to stave off her rival and cross the wire a neck in front in a final time of 1:10.45. 

The New York-bred Kant Hurry Love held place by 2 1/4 lengths over Headland with You Look Cold and Olga Isabel completing the order of finish. Disco Ebo and Self Isolation were scratched. 

Rice praised Carmouche for his tactical ride. 

“She runs on the lead herself, but she’s versatile enough to sit off of it which was key in this position,” Rice said. “Kendrick rode a beautiful race. They went fast in front of her and she managed to run them down.”

Kendrick Carmouche post-race aboard a very perky Hot Fudge. (Susie Raisher)
Kendrick Carmouche post-race aboard a very perky Hot Fudge. (Susie Raisher)

Carmouche, who rode Hot Fudge for the first time in the afternoon, said the filly reengaged when pressured late by Kant Hurry Love. 

“My filly was fighting. I went out to meet the other horse where she can fight a little more but once she got in front, she could hear Trevor coming and you could see her pin her ears back,” said Carmouche. “I switched my stick, and she gave me a little bit more just to make sure she got there. I take my hat off to Linda and the owner to come right back with this filly off the layoff when she ran a good number the first time.”

In victory, Rice improved her total win tally on the NYRA circuit this year to 157, moving her closer to the NYRA single-season record of 164 wins that was set by David Jacobson in 2013. Rice added that Hot Fudge will likely target the seven-furlong, $150,000 Interborough on January 20 next. 

Bred in Kentucky by Edwin Anthony, Hot Fudge banked $66,000 in victory, improving her total purse earnings to $356,405 through a lifetime record of 11-6-1-1. She returned $8.20 for a $2 win ticket. 

McCarthy, aboard the David Duggan-trained Kant Hurry Love, said the stakes-winning daughter of Kantharos gave her all in defeat. 

“I thought she’d be a little bit closer. I tried to gun her, and they outran her early, so I tipped her out down the backside and gave her a little breather,” McCarthy explained. “She’s not one that truly loves a whole lot of kickback – she’ll take it, but she’s happier without it. Around the turn, I tucked inside with Kendrick and followed him. I tipped her out and she gave me every effort. The more I asked, the more she gave. I couldn’t ask for more.”

Live racing resumes Sunday at the Big A with a nine-race card. First post is 12:20 p.m. Eastern.  

Another great piece by Jonathan!

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