Bettor's Wish wins 29th Art Rooney Pace

Bettor's Wish wins 29th Art Rooney Pace

BY FRANK DRUCKER, Publicity Director, Empire City @ Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, May 25, 2019—As a yearling, Bettor’s Wish sold for all of $20,000.

“But he’s not a $20,000 horse anymore.”

So said co-owner and trainer Chris Ryder Saturday night (May 25th) after his charge—and driver Deter Dunn—made short work of Yonkers Raceway’s $300,000 Art Rooney Pace. It was Kiwis on Parade during a cool and windy Westchester evening.

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The 29th Rooney, for 3-year-old colts and geldings (actually, it’s an open event, but why quibble?), turned into a romp for the odds-on ($3.70) choice.

One of the last week’s two elimination winners, Bettor’s Wish drew post position No. 6 in the finale. He found himself three-wide early, outside of Captain Malicious (Mark MacDonald) and Buddy Hill (Brian Sears) and inside of Blood Money (Scott Zeron).

Blood Money made the lead before a 27-second opening quarter-mile, then a :55.4 intermission. Going down the backside the second time, Rollwithpapajoe (Joe Bongiorno) was advancing out of fifth before he broke stride.

That allowed Buddy Hill a path out of third, and he was about to leave the cones, Bettor’s Wish extricated himself from the pocket. The one disposed of Blood Money soon after a 1:24.1 three-quarters, preparing to bust the race wide open.

Bettor’s Wish slapped three lengths on his rivals in and out of the final turn, then ran it up. The final margin was a half-dozen lengths in a season’s-best 1:51.4. Second went to Branquinho (Tyler Buter), while Air Force Hanover (Dave Miller) was third. That tandem offered solid closes, especially ‘Air Force,’ the faster (1:52.4) elim winner who was stuck behind the eight–ball here.

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Buddy Hill and Blood Money picked off the remainder, while Captain Malicious—uncoupled stablemate of the runner-up—Price Hanover (Dan Dube) and he misbehaving Rollwithpapajoe completed the order.

For Bettor’s Wish, a Bettor’s Delight colt also co-owned by Bella Racing, Fair Island Farm and Kenneth Solomon, he’s won all three of his seasonal starts ($180,000). The exacta paid $24, the triple returned $242.50 and the superfecta paid $1,138.

“I thought if I stayed in here I could get stuck in a two-hole trip,” Dunn said. “It was pretty intense going in the first turn. We’d done a bit of work, but he travelled really good past the half. I decided to pop (before the three-quarters). It could’ve been a bad move, but the horse pulled through.”

“When I first qualified him, I thought he was a very good horse,” Ryder said. “I drove him and he won the race, but broke a hopple.

“I knew tonight was a real test. He didn’t have the best of posts, but I figured if he’s the best he’ll get there one way or the other. I’m very thankful of the way Dexter drove him.

“This wasn’t an easy race for a driver and he did a great job.”

Ryder said Bettor’s Wish is off to the North America Cup. For his part, Dunn finished off a helluva week, which began by winning last Sunday’s (May 19th) Confederation Cup at Flamboro Downs with Done Well.

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Saturday night’s pair of $44,000 Open Handicaps were won by…

--Trot—Weslynn Dancer (Zeron, $5.80) in 1:54.4,

--Pace—Micky Gee N (Jordan Stratton, $3.80) in 1:52.2.

The Raceway now takes a hiatus until Friday night, June 7th.

Mike Lizzi photos

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