10/05/2013 7:07PM

Belmont Park: Artemis Agrotera defeats game Sweet Reason in Frizette

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Barbara D. Livingston
Artemis Agrotera, with Jose Lezcano aboard, wins the Grade 1 Frizette Stakes on Saturday at Belmont Park.

ELMONT, N.Y. – Sweet Reason may have earned more respect in defeat Saturday at Belmont Park than she did in winning her first two starts at Saratoga.

After veering in sharply while breaking from the rail in Saturday’s Grade 1, $500,000 Frizette Stakes, Sweet Reason rallied to finish second, 1 1/4 lengths behind the New York-bred Artemis Agrotera. Sweet Reason finished 2 3/4 lengths ahead of Stopchargingmaria in third.

While Artemis Agrotera earned a fees-paid berth to the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies at Santa Anita on Nov. 2, Sweet Reason might have earned the role of favorite.

Sweet Reason had won her first two starts – including the Grade 1 Spinaway – by a combined 12 lengths. But both races were in the slop. On Saturday, she ran a terrific race over a fast track after breaking last under Alex Solis.

“She gave up four or five lengths at the start, then she had to wait behind horses on the turn and had to go wide at the end of the turn,” trainer Leah Gyarmati said. “She was compromised. She ran huge, I think.”

Artemis Agrotera, an 11 3/4-length winner against New York-bred maidens at Saratoga on Aug. 16, also ran huge. A speedy daughter of Roman Ruler, Artemis Agrotera, under Jose Lezcano, was able to sit a length off the pacesetting Tea Time behind splits of 23.30 seconds for the quarter, 47.41 for the half-mile, and 1:11.81 for six furlongs.

Artemis Agrotera made the lead in upper stretch, and though Sweet Reason tried to rally, the winner never was truly threatened. Artemis Agrotera, owned and bred by Chester and Mary Broman, covered the mile 1:36.25 and returned $10.60 to win.

Noting how fast she was early in her win at Saratoga under Joel Rosario, Mike Hushion, the trainer of Artemis Agrotera, instructed Lezcano not to let the filly run off during the first part of the race.

“If he had tapped her on the shoulder the first part, she’d be gone,” Hushion said. “He didn’t. He did a nice job. That worked out well; leaves a lot more options for the future, too.”

The future will include the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, where Artemis Agrotera most likely will have to face Sweet Reason again.

Jeff Treadway, the owner of Sweet Reason, said he would like to go to the Breeders’ Cup if the filly comes out of the race well.

“I would think the dirt track is not an issue,” Treadway said. “Maybe Santa Anita will be more to her liking. We’d like to do it. She’ll tell us. We’re not going to push her too much just to do it.”