Jay Em Ess Stable’s By the Moon lived up to her 6-5 favoritism in Friday’s $250,000 Bed o’ Roses Invitational Stakes (G3) at Belmont Park, scoring by three parts of a length under jockey Rajiv Maragh.
The duo tracked the early pace set by Mia Torri through splits of :23.58 and :47.37 before taking over rounding the turn. By the Moon couldn’t quite shake the early leader to her outside, though, and found Lightstream trying to sneak up along the rail. The Indian Charlie mare dug in, holding both rivals to earn her second straight graded victory.
By the Moon raced wide throughout the seven-furlong contest, first five wide down the backstretch and four wide in the lane, but that didn’t stop her from stopping the clock in 1:23.46 over the fast main track. The dark bay five-year-old paid $4.50 for holding Mia Torri to second.
Lightstream just missed second by a head but was 2 3/4 lengths up on fourth-placer Flora Dora. Completing the order of finish were Wheatfield, Quezon, High Ridge Road, Indulgent and Tale for Ruby.
By the Moon successfully defended her title in this race after taking last year’s running by 1 3/4 lengths. The dark bay mare now boasts five stakes victories, including the 2014 Frizette Stakes (G1), and seven stakes-placings, four of which came in Grade 1 contests. She’s banked $1,257,940 lifetime to go along with a 17-6-6-1 career line.
Bred in Kentucky by Samantha Siegel, By the Moon is out of the Grade 1-placed multiple stakes-winning Malibu Moon mare By the Light and comes from the same female family as champion Heavenly Cause.
BED O’ ROSES INVITATIONAL QUOTES
Michelle Nevin, trainer By the Moon, winner
“She showed up again as usual. She always tries and it was another great effort. A ride by Rajiv (Maragh) and it was all good. She looked so comfortable and he had her in a perfect spot. When he asked her to pick up her gears he was right there for him. She looked awesome today coming into the race. I just felt so confident with her today. I loved Rajiv’s attitude when he came out to the paddock. It all felt good.”
Rajiv Maragh, jockey By the Moon, winner
“On paper it looked like there wasn’t much speed other than Mia Torri, so I was hoping for a good break. I had a great post on the outside to kind of see how the race was unfolding. She broke really well from the gate and she always was running strong into the bridle. I was pretty confident the way she was running that she was going to finish up good. Once we got to the lane I gave her a little (cue) and she did the rest from there.
“It doesn’t hurt to win. Every race is very important. It feels good to have a little momentum going into the Belmont Stakes (G1), that’s for sure. This filly is special in her own right. I was really excited about this race. I’m looking forward to riding her all the time and I feel very good about this filly going forward, as well, that she can really step up and maybe take the top of the division, because she seems to have something left every time.”