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The Conscience of Thoroughbred Racing


By Ken Weingartner, USTA — Season after season, Lit De Rose continues to bloom.

The now 9-year-old female pacer enjoyed a career-best season in 2023, posting 11 wins and earning $354,985. It was her fourth consecutive campaign with six figures in purses and bettered her previous money high of $211,805 set one year earlier.

Bred and owned by Quebec’s Guy Corbeil, Lit De Rose closed out last season with a three-race win streak at MGM Yonkers Raceway, with the third victory pushing her beyond $1 million in purses in Canadian dollars. For her career, the daughter of Leader Bayama-Intense has won 46 of 132 starts and banked C$1.01 million (US$925,707).

Lit De Rose made her 2024 debut last week at Yonkers as she prepares for next month’s start of the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series at The Hilltop. She finished second in last year’s Matchmaker final after posting a win, a second, two thirds, and a fourth in the five preliminary rounds.

“Honestly, I thought she would have a good year (in 2023), but I didn’t think she would make $350,000,” said Pat Lachance, who has trained and driven Lit De Rose for all 58 of her races in the States. “She’s always been a good mare, but it’s almost impossible to do that as a racehorse. I thought maybe a couple hundred wouldn’t be out of reach, but not 350.

“She kept getting better and better all year. She stayed razor sharp. I was super happy with her.”

Lit De Rose began her career in Quebec, where at age 2 she was named the province’s best freshman filly pacer. Three years later, she finished second behind Kissin In The Sand in the 2020 Milton Stakes at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Since November 2021, the mare has made all but three of her starts in the U.S., with 57 of the 58 coming on the half-mile oval at Yonkers.

Lifetime at Yonkers, Lit De Rose has earned a paycheck 54 times. She has 23 wins at The Hilltop and a total of 39 top-three finishes.

“She gets around a half really well,” Lachance said. “It’s worked out really good for her. A small track doesn’t slow her down at all. She shows up every week and is just so consistent.”

Some of Lit De Rose’s success and longevity can be attributed to her off-the-pace style of racing. The mare led at three-quarters only once in her past 35 races at Yonkers. During that span, she paced her last quarter in 28 seconds or faster on 33 occasions and was the fastest or co-fastest finisher 25 times.

“The closers are a lot easier to keep sharp,” Lachance said. “The front-runners are almost impossible to keep good for a long period of time. The closers, it’s just easier; it’s one run at the end and that’s it. The front-runners have to go four quarters, basically, and hope to get one off, but there’s always somebody coming. With her, she has to race one quarter, so it’s a lot easier.”

On Friday, Lit De Rose heads to the $35,000 Invitational for fillies and mares at Yonkers, where she will start from post two in a field of six. She is 4-1 on the morning line. Last week, she finished fifth in her seasonal debut following a more than three-month respite.

“She had a long year, a lot of starts, so we gave her a little bit more of a break this year to freshen her up, and figured we’d get her ready for the Matchmaker,” Lachance said.

The six-week Blue Chip Matchmaker Series begins March 15.

“I’m looking forward to it, absolutely,” Lachance said. “It’s a grind. It’s hard to keep them good for six weeks in a row, but her style helps and she’s tough. She’s showed that she can do it. So, we’ll see.”

Racing begins at 7 p.m. (EST) at Yonkers. For free programs, visit the Standardbred Owners Association of New York website here.

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