Dat You Miz Blue Spoils Xtra Heat's Party

(From track report)
Xtra Heat, last year's 3-year-old filly champion, was expected to crush her foes in Saturday's six-furlong, $81,650 Garland of Roses Handicap for fillies and mares. But Dat You Miz Blue had other plans.

The hard-knocking New York-bred got a clever ride from jockey John Velazquez and moved on the 3-5 favorite of the crowd of 9,557 into the turn, staying on for a 2 ΒΌ-length victory in 1:10 on a muddy track.

"She broke running," said Velazquez, whose mount carried 116 pounds in winning for the 14th time in 33 starts. "She was traveling very nicely. When I made the move, I wanted her to blow by. I didn't want her to inch up to Xtra Heat, because when you do that, [Xtra Heat] just pulls away on you.

"[Dat You Miz Blue] is really running very well right now. She could be in the best form of her life."

A 5-year-old mare by Cure the Blues, Dat You Miz Blue is owned by Cynthia Knight and trained by James Jerkens. The $48,900 winner's share increased her career earnings to $806,291.

Xtra Heat, in her first start since she was sold to ClassicStar Stable for a reported $1.5 million last month, carried high weight of 127 pounds, spotting her rivals from 11 to 14 pounds each.

She was 3-for-3 on the inner Aqueduct track and had faced and defeated tougher competition, including males, in winning 24 of 32 starts.

Overnight and morning rain led to the scratches of Saskya, Harmony Lodge, Bonefide Reason and Outstanding Info, leaving Xtra Heat to face four others.

Under jockey Rick Wilson, who recently surpassed the legendary Eddie Arcaro in 20th place on the all-time jockey victory list, Xtra Heat briefly stalked longshots Astrid and Redhead Riot after a quarter mile of :22 2/5. But she quickly went to the lead for a half in :45 2/5 and five furlongs in :55 1/5.

Velazquez, however, had kept Dat You Miz Blue in striking position from the outside and as they entered the turn, she surged to the lead and kept going.

As for Xtra Heat, the long-term plan is to get her ready for a 2003 campaign that will likely include Dubai's Golden Shaheen on Mar. 29 on Dubai World Cup Day. Last year, Xtra Heat ran third in that race behind Caller One.

"She didn't handle the wet track," said John Salzman, who has remained on as Xtra Heat's trainer despite last month's sale. "The same thing happened at Chicago when she came back [sixth in the Breeders' Cup Sprint at Arlington Park on October 26th]; the jockey told me she didn't handle the wet track.

Dat You Miz Blue returned $5.80 to win. There was a minus show pool of $78,114.94.

(Chart, Equibase)