Ellis Park Press Release: Horse owner-breeder Bobby Hunt had wanted to run Betrothal and Runaway Betty on the same day last year at Ellis Park. But the 2-year-old Runaway Betty hadn’t progressed far enough to make her first start.
Making this highly unusual is that Runaway Betty is Betrothal’s only foal.
But instead Hunt, a prominent Lexington equine surgeon, had to settle for mom and daughter winning at Ellis 51 weeks apart. Betrothal, off a four-year layoff at age 8, won last July 18 in a $4,000 claiming race for horses who hadn’t won in a year – a condition for which she qualified with three years spare. Fast forward to Friday’s Ellis card, and the now 3-year-old Runaway Betty won her debut by a head at 10-1 odds in a $38,000 maiden race for Hunt and his brother, Don, who trains the horses.
“She had a tendon injury when she was 4, so I retired her from racing,” Bobby Hunt said of Betrothal. “She was a real nice little race mare. I bred her when she was 6 and had this foal. She was out in the back 40, turned out with the cattle, just turning 8. I felt sorry for her because she was bored, covered in ice when we had the ice storm.
“So I brought her back up and we started riding her, because she was always a pretty mover, and I thought we’d make a show horse out of her. She picked up the bit a little too aggressively for that, so we said, ‘Heck, let’s try to train her some more.’ She kind of went through her paces in training. My goal last year was to run the 2-year-old and her mother on the same day. But Betty wasn’t far enough along and I decided to hold back and run her as a 3-year-old. We just wanted to give Betrothal one last hurrah.”
Betrothal was a won-and-done, going back into retirement and quite happy this go-round running around a field with broodmares. “I’ll breed her next year,” Hunt said. “I just breed them every couple of years. It’s just a golf game to me, a recreational thing.”
Meanwhile, the Hunts have high hopes for Runaway Betty, whom they think ultimately will be a two-turn grass horse.
“She’s very professional, has a real Quarter-Horse mind to her, everyone in the family does,” Bobby Hunt said. “Just very studious, a good solid, strong horse who from Day One knew what she was supposed to do instinctively.”
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