Will 'Bettor' Be 'Foiled' In Repeat Bid?

Published: November 11, 2011 09:53 pm EST

One of the top rivalries in the sport will be on display on Saturday night at Balmoral Park as Breeders Crown winner and defending American National Aged Pace champion Bettor Sweet faces Foiled Again, one of only 12 pacers in history to eclipse $3 million

in career earnings and the oldest pacer to ever win $1 million in a season, along with seven other high class pacers in the $175,000 American National Stake for four-year-olds and up.

Fresh off his exhilarating head decision in 1:48.4 over Foiled Again in the $500,000 Breeders Crown, Bettor Sweet will be looking to defend the American National title he captured by knocking off two-time defending champ Won The West by a head last year in 1:50.

A private purchase for $175,000 back in 2008 by owner John Cancelliere, Bettor Sweet has been nothing short of spectacular since arriving for Canceillere and his brother Tom, who now handles the training duties. The two have made a big splash in the harness business over the past five years purchasing established race horses with hefty price tags, and they have now made their presence felt in the yearling ring taking home a full brother to Donato Hanover for $825,000 and a full brother to Somebeachsomewhere for $430,000 at the Harrisburg Sale.

After paying immediate dividends while being acquired late in his three-year-old season, Bettor Sweet had no trouble making the transition into the racing wars with the older set. As a four-year-old the son of Bettors Delight set a World Record of 1:47.2 while taking a Graduate elimination in May of 2009. Though he was forced to miss the final of that race due to sickness, Bettor Sweet picked up a check in nearly every major stake race that summer, topped by a victory in the Classic Series Final and a pair of seconds in the Haughton Memorial and the Canadian Pacing Derby.

Although his 2010 season was cut short by some problems he still managed to earn $329,612 while adding that American National title to his resume.

“He had some problems at the beginning of the year so we shut him down for a couple of months and took our time bringing him back,” said Tom Cancelliere. “We race horses because we absolutely love it and we’ll never put a horse on the track that is not 100 per cent.”

In addition to his World Record on a mile track, Bettor Sweet also became the fastest aged pacer in history on a five-eighths mile track back in June of this year when he tripped the timer in 1:48.1 at Tioga Downs while taking the Bettor’s Delight Stake. That win also made the six-year-old the richest son of all time for Bettors Delight, who will be moving to Canada next season.

Foiled Again is the richest horse in the field with earnings of $3,338,006 and 57 career victories for the ownership group of Burke Racing, Weaver Bruscemi and JJK Stables.

The seven-year-old son of Dragon Again Foiled Again is a two-time winner of the Quillen Memorial as well as the Battle Of Lake Erie. He also boasts victories in the Molson Pace and is fresh off a track record score in the Indiana Pacing Derby, where he stopped the clock in 1:49.2.

Although he was considered a half-mile specialist by many, his regular driver Yannick Gingras vehemently disagrees with that assumption.

“He beat some of the best in the game in the Graduate this year at the Meadowlands,” said Gingras. “With all he’s done I sure hope he gets the respect he deserves. He’s a great horse, one of the toughest horses that ever lived. I’m happy for the horse, the owners and grateful for all the thrills he’s given me. To have driven him all this time is definitely special to me.”

And it should make for another special night when these two get together!

Miller Hoping Lucky Jim Minds His Manners

A classy and well matched field of seven older trotting stars, led by 2009 Dan Patch Award winner Lucky Jim, will square off in Saturday night’s eighth race, which is the $143,000 American National Aged Trot.

The race boasts such previous champions as Buck I St Pat, Enough Talk, Peaceful Way, Mr Muscleman and Moni Maker.

Trainer Erv Miller is hoping that a trip back to the Windy City where he still keeps a large string of horses will get Lucky Jim, the 5-2 morning line favourite from the inside post, back on track after the six-year-old son of SJs Photo made a break while storming up on the outside of horses in the Breeders Crown last time out.

“I was really disappointed when he made that break because he seemed very good coming into that race and he had warmed up very well that night,” said Miller. “He also needs to be babied just a little bit in the turns and I just think that he got going too fast once the plugs were pulled on him.”

A career winner of more than $1.9 million for owners David and John Prushnok and William Gregg, Lucky Jim boasts 28 lifetime wins. Named the 2009 Dan Patch Award as best older male trotter after winning 17 of 18 starts that season Lucky Jim has even tried his luck overseas competing in the 2010 Elitlopp in Sweden.

Keeping a light schedule these days Lucky Jim has shown no signs of slowing down as he gets older.

“He’s had a little trouble from time to time with his feet so we don’t race him every week and we don’t overdo it with him,” Miller explained. “He’s still as fast a trotter as I’ve ever seen and when he’s on his 'A' game he’s as tough as anybody in the country to beat.”

That confidence is backed up by the fact that Lucky Jim is still the co-holder of the fastest mile ever trotted on a mile race track with a 1:50.1 clocking, which was taken during his victory in the prestigious Nat Ray Stake during his four-year-old season.

Another starter in here has also been forced to overcome breaking some breaking problems but Kenneth Sommer’s Action Broadway, the lone mare in the race, has really put things together in 2011 posting 10 wins and $526,513 in earnings.

“She’s bred to be a good horse but her attitude early on in her career may have been a hindrance to her,” said trainer Virgil Morgan. “She made some breaks early in her career because she was so eager to trot she was trying to go from second gear to fifth gear. Now she’s a much more seasoned and much more mature trotter, which is why she is having the year that she is.”

Among her biggest victories to date are an upset score in the Armbro Flight Stakes at Mohawk Racetrack this year and a record-setting victory in the Casual Breeze Stakes at Mohawk during her sophomore season.

(With files from Balmoral Park)

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