Bettor's Wish & Aflame Hanover Win Elims for The 64th Messenger Stakes
YONKERS, NY — It was a ‘Non-Bettor’s Wish’ Saturday night (Aug. 24th) during Yonkers Raceway’s eliminations for the 64th Messenger Stakes.
Bettor’s Wish (Dexter Dunn), the lone $30,000 supplemental entrant into the second jewel of the Pacing Triple Crown, summarily disposed of his five rivals in a non-wagering elim.
A pole-sitting second early in the $40,000 off-the-card elim, Bettor’s Wish took over from American Mercury (Tyler Buter) before a 28-second opening quarter-mile. After a pedestrian, 58-second intermission, Escapetothebeach (Corey Callahan) tried it first-up from fourth.
Bettor’s Wish led through a 1:26.1 three-quarters, eventually holding off American Mercury by a half-length in 1:53.2.
Escapetothebeach backed away but held third, with Branquinho (Jason Bartlett) fourth. That quartet goes into next Saturday night’s (Aug. 31st) $500,000 finale of the Messenger. Lyons Johnnyjnr (Dan Dube) and Captain Trevor (Jordan Stratton) completed the order.
Bettor’s Wish, a Bettor’s Delight colt has hit the board in 22-of-23 career tries (13 wins, 7 seconds, 2 thirds, $1,131,600). He now has eight wins and three seconds) in 11 ’19 tries ($859,544). Chris Ry8der co-owns (with Bella Racing, Fair Island Farm & Bettor’s Wish Partners) and trains.
“He was just so great, so easy to drive,” Dunn said. “I can’t wait for next week.”
The on-the-card, $40,000 elim saw Aflame Hanover (Callahan, $6) finish what he started.
From post position No. 3, he never had an issue (:27.4, 56.3, 1:24, 1:52), whipping pocketed pole-sitter U S Captain (Bartlett) by a length-and-a-half. Waterway (Joe Bongiorno), paired with the runner-up as the 17-10 wagering choice, was a closing third, while 37-1 rank outsider Reigning Deo (George Brennan) was a ground-saving fourth to advance.
Buddy Hill (Eric Goodell) and Air Force Hanover (Stratton) were fifth and last, respectively.
For second choice Aflame Hanover, a Russell Hanover gelding co-owned by (trainer) Linda and Tony Schadel, it was his fourth (consecutive) win in 16 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $17.60, with neither triple nor superfecta wagering offered.
“He was super,” Callahan said. “He did everything I asked. His hopple hanger broke, but that didn’t bother him.”
Aflame Hanover traversed the Keystone State exclusively, only leaving (before Saturday) to finish fifth and fourth, respectively, in the elim and final of Mohawk’s North America Cup.
Open draws for next Saturday’s four-pack of stakes--$$500,000 Yonkers Trot No, 65, Messenger, $124,334 Hudson Filly Trot and $122,224 Lady Maud Pace—take place Monday afternoon (Aug. 26th).