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Bolt The Duer Wins Messenger; Bettor B Lucky Takes Maud

Published: November 10, 2012 11:32 pm ET

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Bolt the Duer and driver Mark MacDonald prevailed from the pocket Saturday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's $415,820 Messenger Stakes for three-year-old colts and geldings.

It was a case of role reversal in the third jewel of the Pacing Triple Crown for Bolt The Duer, who had cut the mile only to finish second to Pet Rock in the Art Rooney Pace this past June. This night, it was Pet Rock (George Brennan) leading the charge.

Away alertly from post position No. 7, Pet Rock worked around Bolt The Duer--he in play from post No. 5--securing the lead before a :27-second opening quarter-mile. Pole-sitting Hillbilly Hanover (Jim Morrill Jr.), sent off as the 3-2 choice despite entering the race 0-for-19 this season, was nestled third. Domethatagain (Brent Holland) broke behind that one.

Pet Rock rated a comfy :29.1 second quarter (:56.1 half) before A Rocknroll Dance (Dave Miller) pulled from fourth. That moved forced Pet Rock to turn up the tempo, which he did through a :27.3 third quarter (1:23.4). Lawgiver Hanover (Eric Goodell) raced from second-over.

The quick third stanza kept A Rocknroll Dance and the rest of the outer flow at bay, but could not shake Bolt The Duer. The match-race Messenger was on.

Pet Rock held a length lead into the lane, but Bolt The Duer ducked inside and was about to exact some revenge. He whipped Pet Rock by the exact same trip/same margin--a passing lane half-length--that Pet Rock beat him in the Rooney. The 1:51.2 mile was the fastest edition of the Messenger held at Yonkers(Allamerican Ingot's 1:50.3 at The Meadows in 2003 is the stakes record). He also became harness racing's newest millionaire.

Hillbilly Hanover was third, beaten four lengths, with A Rocknroll Dance and a recovering Domethatagain completing the cashers. Lawgiver Hanover, New York Sire Stakes champ Major Bombay (Brian Sears) and Steelhead Hanover (Jason Bartlett) rounded out the order.

For Bolt The Duer, a son of Ponder trained by Peter Foley for All Star Racing, he returned $6 (second choice) for his eighth win in 16 seasonal starts ($822,005). The exacta paid $27, the triple returned $61.50 and the superfecta paid $135.

"I couldn't have asked for a better trip," MacDonald said of the colt who set a world record in the Adios over the summer. "Pet Rock was the horse I wanted to sit behind, and my colt felt great.

"I have to give all the credit to Peter. I honestly thought [Bolt The Duer] was done after [Lexington] Kentucky, but he was as good tonight as he's been all season."

"It's been a season with a lot of highs and some disappointments, but I couldn't be happier right now," Foley said. "After Lexington, we took him to get checked out and found blood in his lungs. We put him on Lasix, skipped the Breeders Crown and pointed him toward this race."

Birthday boy driver Jim Morrill Jr. and Bettor B Lucky won a blanket photo in the companion $229,440 Lady Maud Pace for three-year-old fillies.

That Bettor B Lucky won was not a surprise. After all, she out-drew her six rivals and had earned more than $358,000 this season. However, she hadn't raced for a purse in exactly six weeks and hadn't even qualified in 30 days after some heart issues, which forced her to miss the Breeders Crown.

Showing heart was not an issue this night. She protected the pocket as Economy Terror (Eric Goodell)--leaving from post position No. 4--lead through early intervals of :27.2 and :56.2. Handsoffmycookie (Dave Miller) sat third as Romantic Moment (Brian Sears), the 1-2 choice, found a seat fourth.

It was the New York Sire Stakes champ Romantic Moment trying it first-up, though not getting very close to the leader through a :27.3 third quarter (1:24). Economy Terror had a length and a half turning for home, but her hooves were getting heavy.

Bettor B Lucky, despite some funky steps before straightening out, edged from the pocket, with 'Cookie' getting her shot inside. The three lasses raced in unison toward the wire, resulting in a genuine Kodak moment.

It was Bettor B Lucky's nose which found the line in a 1:52.1, a stakes record as well as a track stand for sophomore pacing fillies. Economy Terror was second, with Handsoffmycookie third, beaten a head. Ramalama (Jason Bartlett) and Romantic Moment completed the cashers, the latter becoming a career millionairess with latest pay envelope. Major Look (George Brennan) and Rockaround Sue (Mark MacDonald) rounded out the order.

For Bettor B Lucky, a statebred daughter of Betto's Delight co-owned (as Burke Racing) by trainer Ron Burke, Weaver Bruscemi, W. J. Donovan and Lawrence Karr, she returned $9.90 (second choice) for her sixth win in 17 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $53, with the triple returning $149.

"You didn't know what to expect from her tonight, but she was loaded," Morrill said. "I had the trip I wanted [behind Economy Terror]. I had to gather her a bit to angle her out of the pocket, and that may have cost me a step or two, but she's a very talented filly."

(With files from Yonkers Raceway)

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