Betsy Blue scores in garland of roses at Aqueduct

James McDonald

New Zealand jockey James McDonald riding Romantic Warrior, trained by Danny Shum, wins the Hong Kong Cup G1 race (2000m) during the Hong Kong International Races at Sha Tin Racecourse on December 11, 2022. 

Photo credit: Peter Parks | AFP

Betsy Blue Jose Lezcano 3-1), from Cloud Nine's stables, relaxed for just a week before nibbling the second big victory of her life in Saturday's 1,200m $120,000 Garland of Roses, at Aqueduct, New York.

Conditioned by Linda Rice, Betsy Blue cut back to sprinting, which suited her better. The daughter of Tonalist broke evenly from the inside post, settling behind, as Smash Ticket blitzed to an early lead. Disco Ebo tracked closely in second with Beguine and Snicket, right there

Disco Ebo (Eric Cancel 4-1), put her head in front briefly the turn with Beguine (Dylan Davis 6-1), pulling on the far outside. Those two matched strides, before Beguine went for the wire.

Meanwhile, Betsy Blue, jostling from five lengths off the pace, went widest of all, threatening with large strides to coast clear by 1 1/4 lengths in 1:10.910. Beguine held place position over Disco Ebo, Snicket, and, Smash Ticket.


Touchuponastar (Timothy Thornton 5-1), tallied the biggest win of all in Louisiana's Champions Day Classic at Fair Grounds. Trained by Jeff Delhomme, Touchuponastart set an uncontested pace, headed when Behemah Star neared the stretch, but easily dealt with him when called upon, from Who took the Money and Highland Creek.

Touchuponastar covered 1 1/8 miles in 1:50.6/10, on a fast track. He's a youngster with a bright future.

Also on the Champions Day card, A G's Charlotte (Marcelino Pedroza Junior 4-1), snatched a slim lead from Winning Romance, then battled that determined rival to win by a nose. They completed 1 1/16 miles in 1:45.7/10.


James McDonald was honored as the 2022 Longines World's Best Jockey at Hong Kong's International Gala dinner. The New Zealand-born jockey is the second Australian-based rider to win the Longines World's Best Jockey Award, following Hugh Bowman's victory in 2017. 

With a total of 142 points, James beat Ryan Moore (96 points) and William Buick (78 points) to win the 2022 title by a wide margin. He was presented with an elegant Longines timepiece as well as a crystal vase by Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges, Chair of the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities (IFHA), and Cecilia Kwok, Vice President of Longines Hong Kong and Macau.

James McDonald dominated the Longines World's Best Jockey competition throughout the 2022 racing season. The award is based upon performances in the 100 highest-rated Group and Grader Ones, as established for the year by the Rankings Committee.

 It was established nine years ago by Swiss watch brand Longines and the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities (IFHA) as a way to quantitatively recognize a jockey as the best among his or her global peers. It marked the first time a rider was honored in such a way. Ryan Moore was the inaugural recipient. Frankie Dettori has won the award on four occasions.