Sitting pocket to pacesetter Blood Money, Bettors Wish edged out of the pocket moving into the final turn and blew away from his competition in progress to a 1:51.4 victory in the $300,000 Art Rooney Final on Saturday, May 25 at Yonkers Raceway.
Blood Money marched from post 7 towards the top along with Bettors Wish, Buddy Hill and Captain Malicious to his instead. A four-wide charge for command swung to the backstretch led by Blood Money, who crossed to the pylons passing a :27 opening quarter. Bettors Wish secured the pocket as the pace remained quick passing a :55.4 half.
Rollwithpapajoe tipped first over from fifth heading to the half before going off stride into the turn, leaving Branquinho uncovered to the backstretch. Buddy Hill angled from the pylons to race first over before driver Dexter Dunn popped pocket with Bettors Wish approaching a 1:24.1 third quarter. Blood Money retreated rounding the final turn while Bettors Wish widened his lead sprinting for the wire. Branquinho kicked off cover to take second about seven lengths from the winner while Air Force Hanover rallied from last for third.
“I knew tonight was a real test,” trainer Chris Ryder said after the race. “[We] 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.”
“I thought Brian [Sears on Buddy Hill] was about to tip off my helmet and he was travelling good,” Dunn said after the race. “I thought if I stayed in here I could get stuck in a two-hole trip. He felt pretty good at the time; 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 saw Joe [Bongiorno on Rollwithpapejoe] made a break around here so I decided to pop. It could’ve been a bad move but luckily the horse pulled through.”
Undefeated from three starts this season and winning his eighth race from 15 overall, Bettors Wish has amassed $525,488 in earnings for owners Chris Ryder, Bella Racing Ltd., Fair Island Farm Inc. and Kenneth Solomon. He paid $3.90 to win.
Taking the lead into the first turn, Bestseller Hanover parked 1-9 favourite Queen Of The Pride before she tired, went off stride and handed the 6-1 shot victory in the $109,234 Lismore Pace.
Driver Jason Bartlett blasted the Scott Blackler trainee to the top and opened a three-length lead on Rock N Mcroll tucking into the pocket ahead of Mi Nina Bonita chasing from third into a :28.2 opening quarter. Queen Of The Pride sat fourth around the turn before tipping first over and brushing towards the leader through a :58 half, but could not clear as the field spun into the backside.
Queen Of The Pride stuck a nose in front of Bestseller Hanover as Bartlett kept the favourite wide past a 1:25.3 third quarter and into the final turn. As Queen Of The Pride put down a couple of bad steps before eventually going on a gallop, Bestseller Hanover scooted clear of As Time Goes By lengths behind in second and Rockn Philly taking third.
“I raced against [Queen Of The Pride] the last two weeks and noticed [Jordan Stratton]’s had to hold her together to get her over the turns,” Bartlett said after the race. “That’s kind of the reason I left; I said ‘Well, if he wants to go out of there fast, we will go fast and see what happens in the first turn.’ I didn’t realize she was that quick off the gate. I scored her down—I spoke to her a little bit—and she was right there on her toes. And [if I] took back, they’re going to go to the half slow—we’re going to be in a bad spot—and so we took our shot.”
Owned by Millar Farms, Bestseller Hanover won her fifth race from 13 starts, earning $162,658. The Somebeachsomewhere filly returned $14.20 to win.