Day At The Track

Bettor Be Steppin is the favorite in Nadia Lobell

03:07 AM 16 Sep 2015 NZST
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Better Be Steppin, harness racing
Better Be Steppin and driver Corey Callahan
Ken Weingartner Photo

Meadow Lands, PA - Bettor Be Steppin, the richest 3-year-old female pacer in North America this season, will step out for the first time since winning last month's Valley Forge Stakes when she faces eight rivals in Wednesday's $170,000 Nadia Lobell at The Meadows in western Pennsylvania.

The Joe Holloway-trained filly leaves from post No. 2 with driver Corey Callahan and is the 5-2 morning line favorite in the event for 3-year-old filly pacers. Bettor Be Steppin has won five of 11 races this year, finished second on three occasions, and earned $419,150 for owners Val D'Or Farms, Rojan Stables, and Ted Gewertz.

In addition to winning the Valley Forge on Aug. 22 at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, Bettor Be Steppin's victories include the Lynch Memorial and two divisions of the New York Sire Stakes. She also finished in a dead-heat second with stablemate Divine Caroline in the Shady Daisy and was second in a division of the Adioo Volo.

Post time is 12:55 p.m. for Wednesday's first race at The Meadows. The Nadia Lobell is race No. 6, with a post time of 2:35 p.m. approximately.

"I look forward to driving her every time she gets in (to race)," said Callahan, who has sat behind Bettor Be Steppin in her last 20 starts dating back to last season, posting eight wins and a total of 15 on-the-board finishes. "She's an exceptional filly. Joe has done an excellent job managing her; she's always on her toes. It's nice to know you've got a good live horse that's ready to race every week. It's been a lot of fun this year, that's for sure."

The Nadia Lobell field also includes Divine Caroline, Adioo Volo division winners Sassa Hanover and Storm Point, Pennsylvania Sire Stakes champion Safe From Terror, New Jersey Sire Stakes champion The Show Returns, and Lynch Memorial runner-up Single Me.

Sassa Hanover, the 3-1 second choice on the morning line, Safe From Terror, and Storm Point are from the stable of trainer Ron Burke. Sassa Hanover, who has won 13 of 25 lifetime races and earned $704,002, enters the event off a 1:52.1 win in a division of the New York Sire Stakes at Yonkers Raceway on Aug. 31.

She will be driven by Yannick Gingras.

"Sassa Hanover has kind of turned it around here the last few weeks and has gone some pretty good miles," Callahan said. "She drew the rail and Yannick and Burke are ultra-aggressive with everything, so that might make it a little tricky. But over the year, (Bettor Be Steppin) has been the most consistent and the best filly in her group.

"She's professional in every sense of the word, one of those push-button horses. She doesn't have any quirks, she doesn't do anything crazy. She does everything you ask her to do. It makes my job a lot easier, that's for sure. She's handy. She's quick off the gate, but she also can race from behind. Most of your horses nowadays, it's such a speed game, if you have one that is handy enough and can handle the pressure on the lead you can make a lot of money with them. Most of these horses now, that's where you see them. You love to work out trips, but it's tough sometimes."

Callahan, who earlier this year won his sixth consecutive driving title at Dover Downs and is one win behind Tim Tetrick for second place at Harrah's Philadelphia, is on the verge of surpassing 500 wins for the sixth consecutive season and could reach $10 million in purses for the first time. Callahan set a career high in purses with $9.70 million in 2013 and hit $9.08 million last year. He entered Tuesday with 479 wins and $7.11 million in earnings.

"I hope so, that's been my goal the last couple years," Callahan said about reaching $10 million. "A lot of that has to do with getting better horses to drive. I'm getting live drives and when you get those, it makes it a lot easier to get them in the race and pick up those top three finishes. I'm very fortunate that way."

Following is the field in post order for the Nadia Lobell with drivers, trainers and morning line odds:

1. Sassa Hanover, Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke, 3-1

2. Bettor Be Steppin, Corey Callahan, Joe Holloway, 5-2

3. The Show Returns, John Campbell, Chris Ryder, 15-1

4. Totally Rusty, Andrew McCarthy, Ross Croghan, 6-1

5. Safe From Terror, Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke, 6-1

6. Imagine Dragon, Scott Zeron, Frank Antonacci, 15-1

7. Single Me, Eric Goodell, Ross Croghan, 12-1

8. Divine Caroline, David Miller, Joe Holloway, 5-1

9. Storm Point, Dave Palone, Ron Burke, 12-1

by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA

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