Day At The Track

Bettor Sweet looks for Breeders Crown double

04:16 PM 25 Oct 2012 NZDT
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Bettor Sweet Bettor Sweet
Bettor Sweet - The son of Bettors Delight proved just how tough he was
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Bettor Sweet - Paced to a 1:47.2 world record
Lisa Photo

If you ask John Cancelliere to reflect upon Bettor Sweet's career highlights it's not the world record of 1:47.2, the second world record mile in 1:48.1f, last year's Breeders Crown triumph or the fact he's one of harness racings richest pacers of all-time in North America that's provided him with the ultimate thrill.

"It's just being around him," explained the Clark, N.J., resident. "The moments are one thing. You can't replace the exhilaration of winning, but I think my brother (Tom, who trains him), I and our families just like being around all our horses. It's very special and there's something very special about him. It would be great to say his 1:47.2 mile or something like that, but it's really just everything about him. It's the whole Bettor Sweet package; the good, the bad and the ugly."

Purchased privately for $175,000 on Sept. 15, 2008, Bettor Sweet had only paced nine pari-mutuel miles in his two-year career. The son of Bettor's Delight-Sweet Future had some trouble staying on stride and at this point in his profession had collected $36,737 with four wins, one second and two third-place finishes.

After winning his first race for his new connections, the gelding was fourth in the $137,375 James B. Dancer at Freehold Raceway on Oct. 11, 2008, then second in a conditioned race at Freehold on Oct. 18 before coming home third in his $35,000 Progress Pace elimination on Nov. 2. He captured the $390,000 final on Nov. 9 at odds of 32-1.

Bettor Sweet then was seventh in his $25,000 Breeders Crown elimination on Nov. 22 at the Meadowlands and sixth in the $500,000 final on Nov. 29, but capped off his sophomore year with three consecutive victories in legs of the Oil Burner Series and the $63,500 final on Dec. 20.

"He used to crossfire all the time," Cancelliere said. "We were watching him at Chester one day and he was very impressive. He came from like seven back and walloped everybody so we talked to the owner. Our first horse was Philos Hanover (p,5,1:49.3f, $523,246) and we were looking to replace him to be in winners and Opens down in Chester, Pa. Then along came Sweet.

"It's funny because Philos really started it all and we still have him, but to say Sweet has far exceeded our expectations would probably be an understatement," he continued. "We just thought he was an interesting little guy and he does have quite a personality."

At four, Bettor Sweet compiled a record of 18-3-5-3, earned just under $700,000 and established his lifetime mark of 1:47.2. As a 5-year-old, Cancelliere’s younger brother Tom took over training duties from Joe Poliseno, who had urged Cancelliere to buy the horse. He started 13 times with two victories, two second place finishes, three thirds and banked $325,668.

Last year at age six, Bettor Sweet paced 24 miles with an 8-7-2 record, $879,000 in purse money and his Breeders Crown triumph. This year the gelding has gone to the gate 16 times with two wins, four seconds and three thirds while gathering another $312,649 to raise his career bankroll to more than $2.5 million. The two wins have come in his last two starts, one in the $155,000 Allerage at The Red Mile on Oct. 7 and the other in a $50,500 Open at Woodbine Racetrack on Oct. 20.

His next engagement on Oct. 27 will be to defend his crown in the $500,000 Breeders Crown Open Pace where he will leave from post seven in the evening’s 12th race.

“We are all gamblers so to speak, so you always like your chances,” Cancelliere said. “He’s coming along at the right time, let’s put it that way.”

And the gelding may possess something else that could give him an edge over his competition.

“He loves Mohawk and Woodbine,” his owner said. “Believe it or not, he likes to go away. He thinks it’s the greatest thing in the world, like he’s a kid going on vacation. This year we sent (2-year-old pacing filly) Power Pack (Hanover) up with him and he enjoyed the company. We are also trying something new with him. Tommy is playing musical stalls and he’s going from stall to stall so he gets different looks in different parts of the barn. In the end he may potentially outsmart all of us because he’s a pretty intelligent guy. He really is something else and people do give horses the credit they justifiably deserve.”

Like most horses, Bettor Sweet certainly has his own agenda he rigidly adheres to.

“He puts on quite a show,” Cancelliere said. “He has this thing we call the camel where he stretches between the chains, bends all the way down, then folds his ears back and tries to bite you. He also has the 'I have to jump around and act like a psychopath,' then he gives you a calm look. There’s the snakehead where he’ll flatten his ears out and looks like he is going to devour you. In fact after the Canadian Pacing Derby I was walking him around and he put his head on my shoulder. That’s him. He’s always calmer after a race as he’s more into himself at that point and resting, but it’s always just Sweet acting like Sweet.”

Naturally the Cancellieres would be overjoyed with a second Crown trophy, but John realizes it’s no small feat.

“He doesn’t like a lot of people messing around with him, so my brother Tommy works with him all the time,” he said. “I think they actually live together and my sister-in-law Susan put a bed in his stall so Tommy doesn’t come home, but Tommy’s that way with all our horses. It’s a very personal thing for us and we enjoy them a little differently. We have our own babies we foaled here on the property and they are our babies. It’s the same concept with this guy too.

“We are hoping to win, but we understand it’s very difficult to repeat,” Cancelliere continued. “It’s difficult to win one and we can only pray.”

$500,000 Breeders Crown Pace Final

Post-Horse-Driver-Trainer-Line

1-Put On A Show-Jody Jamieson-Chris Ryder-7-1

2-Aracache Hanover-Doug McNair-Gregg McNair-7-1

3-Up The Credit-Billy Davis, Jr.-Carl Jamieson-30-1

4-Hypnotic Blue Chip-Dave Palone-Kevin McDermott-12-1

5-Golden Receiver-Tim Tetrick-Mark Harder-7-2

6-We Will See-Ron Pierce-Cosmo DePinto-12-1

7-Bettor Sweet-David Miller-Tom Cancelliere-2-1

8-Foiled Again-Yannick Gingras-Ron Burke-3-1

9-Razzle Dazzle-Brian Sears-Richard Silverman-30-1

10-Foreclosure N-Jim Morrill, Jr.-Ron Burke-20-1  

 by Kimberly French, USTA Web Newsroom Senior Correspondent

Courtesy of the United States Trotting Association Web Newsroom

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