Day At The Track

Bettor's Wish rebounds in Sam McKee

07:28 AM 09 Aug 2020 NZST
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Bettor's Wish, harness racing
Bettor's Wish (#8 on the inside) holds off Backstreet Shadow in the Sam McKee Memorial
Lisa Photo
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Bettor's Wish took the lead on the backstretch and held off all challenges to win Saturday's (Aug. 8) $229,660 Sam McKee Memorial for older male harness racing pacers by a neck over Backstreet Shadow in a career best 1:47.3 at The Meadowlands. Century Farroh finished third.
 
Backstreet Shadow took the lead in a :25.3 opening quarter before Bettor's Wish charged to the front in a :52.1 half. Dancin Lou came first-over to battle Bettor's Wish into the final turn, but Bettor's Wish rebuffed his effort as they reached three-quarters in 1:19.4.
 
The job was not finished, though, as Backstreet Shadow looked to rally in the stretch, but Bettor's Wish and driver Dexter Dunn fended him off for the victory.
 
 
 
"We were going pretty hard, but he's just such a tough horse and he never gives in," Dunn said. "He got a little tired at the end off those fractions, but he stuck his head out.
 
"He's done that his whole career. He's given 110 percent every time and put up some amazing performances. It's a pleasure to drive him."
 
Bettor's Wish was the sport's top earning horse in 2019, when he won 13 of 19 races and $1.64 million. He was voted the Dan Patch Award winner for best 3-year-old male pacer and was runner-up to Shartin N for Horse of the Year.
 
This year, the son of Bettor's Delight has won two of five starts. He pushed his career earnings to $2.07 million. He is owned by trainer Chris Ryder, Bella Racing, Fair Island Farm and Bettor's Wish Partners.
 
Bettor's Wish, the 3-1 second choice behind 2-1 favorite Dancin Lou, paid $8.80 to win.
 
The Sam McKee Memorial, formerly the U.S. Pacing Championship, honors the late Meadowlands Racetrack announcer and Communicators Hall of Fame member Sam McKee, who passed away in 2017.
 
"It's a great race to win," Ryder said. "It's hard to describe. It's an honor to win it for Sam. I hope he's looking down on us today."
 
by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA
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