From a Maryland Jockey Club release
For former Kentucky Gov. Brereton Jones and Timothy Thornton’s Include Betty, Friday’s Black-Eyed Susan (G2) at Pimlico Race Course will present an opportunity to rebound from a troubled trip May 1 in the Kentucky Oaks (G1).
Include Betty was bumped in mid-stretch and trapped in tight traffic in the Oaks. Jockey Rosemary Homeister had to steady the filly, who finished eighth, seven lengths behind the winner.
But Jones headed to the Churchill Downs winner’s circle anyhow.
That’s because he also owns Lovely Maria, trained by Larry Jones, who had run to a decisive victory. She gave the Jones boys their third Kentucky Oaks triumph; they previously teamed for Oaks wins with Proud Spell in 2008 and Believe You Can in 2012.
“That’s a glow I hope I never get over,” Brereton Jones said. “I just enjoy thinking about it whenever I have gotten myself finished with all my normal chores at the farm and kind of sit back and think about the three Oaks winners we’ve had over the years and how blessed we’ve been to have them. And I hope I never lose that feeling.”
This week, though, he’s focusing on winning the Black-Eyed Susan with Include Betty, trained by Tom Proctor. The filly, bred by Brereton Jones and Lavin Bloodstock, is a daughter of the stallion Include, the 2001 Pimlico Special winner, who stands at Brereton Jones’ Airdrie Stud in Midway Ky. The dam is the Eltish mare Betty’s Solution.
Thornton, the general manager at Airdrie, acquired his interest in Include Betty when she was offered for sale at Keeneland in September 2013, Brereton Jones said.
“The Lavins and I owned the mare 50-50, and then they did not want to put a reserve on their part when we put (Include Betty) in the yearling sale,” he said. “I went ahead and bought their half out of the yearling sale (for $42,000). And then, we’d gotten back to the farm, Tim had asked if he could buy a quarter of it, half of the half that I’d just bought. I told him, ‘Sure.’ So he owns a quarter, and I own three-quarters.”
Include Betty, who won the Fantasy (G3) at Oaklawn Park, is the only graded-stakes winner among the nine 3-year-old fillies in the Black-Eyed Susan field. Her three victories in eight starts include another stakes win, in the Suncoast at Tampa Bay Downs.
Brereton Jones said he’d like to see Include Betty running far off the early pace Friday. Her optimal style “is to lay back last or next to last and then, when she’s ready, make her run,” he said.
But in the Kentucky Oaks, she was running in about mid-pack as the fillies raced past the finish line for the first time before dropping toward the back of the pack with about a half-mile to run. Racing on the inside, she couldn’t find running room in the stretch.
“The way she runs her best race is to very much relax at the beginning, and she makes her move, go to the outside to make her move,” Brereton Jones said.
Her troubled trip in the Oaks is a reason that she’s coming back in the Black-Eyed Susan, he said. Drayden Van Dyke, who hasn’t ridden Include Betty since she debuted as a 2-year-old last October, has the mount.
When horses race in the Preakness two weeks after the Kentucky Derby, trainers and owners often express concerns about the spacing of the races, and the spacing between the Oaks and Black-Eyed Susan is the same. Brereton Jones expressed confidence that Include Betty will be able to handle the situation.
“It is a quick turnaround, and quite frankly, we’ll really get the answer to that question until after the race is run, which will be too late,” he said. “But we believe that the tenacity that she has and the quality that she is, we think that she’s got a good chance of being very competitive with this process as well as with this group.”
In recent years, few fillies have come back in the Black-Eyed Susan after running in the Kentucky Oaks. Include Betty, the only Oaks runner in this field, will be the first Oaks participant since 2010 to race in the Black-Eyed Susan. Tidal Pool finished third in both the Oaks and Black-Eyed Susan that year.
In the last 20 runnings of the Black-Eyed Susan, 17 fillies came out of the Kentucky Oaks, but only four of those fillies competed in the last 10 years.
Silverbulletday, who won the Oaks and Black-Eyed Susan in 1999 en route to the Hall of Fame, is the only one of those 17 fillies to win two weeks later at Pimlico. Ten of those 17 fillies, including 1997 Kentucky Oaks winner Blushing K.D., finished out of the money in the Black-Eyed Susan. The Black-Eyed Susan runner-up to Silverbulletday, Dreams Galore, was also the Oaks runner-up. Since 1995, only two other Oaks fillies finished second in the Black-Eyed Susan, and three Oaks fillies finished third in that race.
A filly undoubtedly talented enough to win the Kentucky Oaks won the Black-eyed Susan in 1995. Serena’s Song didn’t run in the Oaks that year because trainer D. Wayne Lukas gave her at shot at the Kentucky Derby, where she finished 16th. A multiple Grade 1 winner at 2, 3 and 4, Serena’s Song raced into the Hall of Fame.
Nine of the last 20 Black-Eyed Susan winners, including the last three – Stopchargingmaria in 2014, Fiftyshadesofhay in 2013 and In Lingerie in 2012 – came into the race as graded winners. Also, since 1995, the Black-Eyed Susan produced seven first-time stakes winners, the most noteworthy being Royal Delta in 2011. She went on to win the Eclipse Award as champion 3-year-old filly that year and won Eclipse awards as the champion older female in 2012 and 2013.