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.

art rooney bettors wish.jpg

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.

art rooney 1.jpg

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.

art rooney 2.jpg

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

Gimpanzee stays perfect with win at Vernon Downs.

Gimpanzee stays perfect with win at Vernon Downs.

Bestseller Hanover wins 15th lismore

Bestseller Hanover wins 15th lismore