by Frank Carulli
May 28, 2019
Shartin N usually makes winning look easy, but the reigning older female Pacer of the Year belied her 32-for-44 record with a gut-wrenching victory in the $100,000 Betsy Ross Stakes at Harrah’s Philadelphia Sunday.
She needed every ounce of class to defeat millionaire Caviart Ally by a quarter length in 1:49.2 in the first of three six-figures stakes on the card.
Caviart Ally driver Andrew McCarthy was determined to take the lead role at the 5/8-mile oval, even if it meant doing it through a :25.2 opening quarter mile. The pace slowed through a :30 second quarter, forcing the hand of Shartin N driver Tim Tetrick. Shartin N pulled out of the pocket for a 3/8-mile battle to the finish, pulling even for the stretch drive and proving best near the wire.
“I had a good barrier draw and I wanted to make the most of it,” said McCarthy. “Shartin N was just too good.”
Shartin N paid $4.40 to win as the favorite in the 8-horse field. Caviart Ally completed an $8.40 exacta and finished a quarter length in front of trip-sitting Apple Bottom Jeans, who ran third.
“Once she was head-and-head turning for home, I was pretty confident,” said Jim King Jr., who trains Shartin N for Richard Poillucci, JoAnn Looney-King, and Tim Tetrick LLC. “She’s just overcome everything that’s been thrown at her.”
Tetrick had little time to relish the moment. He got back in the bike for a winning ride behind Guardian Angel As ($5.80) in the $100,000 Maxie Lee Invitational Trot.
Guardian Angel As brushed to the lead early, while 2015 Hambletonian winner Pinkman (Dexter Dunn) was content to track in the pocket. Trolley (Marcus Miller) emerged with a first-over challenge on the final turn, but Guardian Angel As shrugged it off and pulled away from Pinkman for a 2-3/4-length win in 1:51.
Guardian Angel As improved to 18-43 for trainer Anette Lorentzon and owners ACL Stuteri AB and Kjell Johansson.
Not to be outdone, last year’s Meadowlands Pace and Little Brown Jug winner, Courtly Choice, rallied to win in the $100,000 Commodore Barry Invitational Pace to surpass $1 million in earnings.
Courtly Choice ($5.80), positioned third-over in a lively outer flow by Hall of Fame driver David Miller, out-kicked runner-up Rodeo Rock (McCarthy) by 2 lengths in 1:49.1.
Courtly Choice is trained by Blake MacIntosh and owned by the Hutt Racing Stable, Mac and Heim Stables, Danielle Plouffe and Touchstone Farms Inc.
BETTOR’S WISH HOLDS TRUE IN ROONEY PACE
Bettor’s Wish fulfilled a 3-to-5 promise with a runaway victory in the $380,000 Art Rooney Pace at Yonkers Raceway Saturday.
Bettor’s Wish (Dexter Dunn) emerged from an action-packed opening quarter mile in the pocket He followed Blood Money (Scott Zeron) through a :55.4 half and vacated the pocket near the ¾ pole after Rollwithpapajoe (Joe Bongiorno) broke stride while launching a first-over bid. By the time the field of 3-year-olds circled the turn, Bettor’s Wish was 3 lengths in front and on his way to a 6-length win in 1:51.4. Longshots Bramquinho (Tyler Buter) and Air Force Hanover (David Miller) rallied from far back in mid-track to complete a $242 trifecta.
“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.”
Chris Ryder trains and co-owns Bettor’s Wish along with Bella Racing, Fair Island Farm and Kenneth Solomon.
“I knew tonight was a real test,” said Ryder. “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.”