Good horses, they say, can come from anywhere, yet it’s hard to imagine too many competitive Standardbreds being plucked from show horse auctions. Yet that’s exactly where trainer Scott Betts and his partners, Tim Betts, Tar Heel Racing and Stephen Moss, found Lifeintheslammer.
Now, after just a bit of re-rigging, the four-year-old daughter of Royalty For Life-Tequila Slammer seeks her seventh straight victory in Thursday’s $18,500 championship of the Mary Wohlmuth Memorial Trot for three- and four-year-old fillies and mares at Hollywood Casino at The Meadows. She’ll leave from post three, in race four, with Dave Palone aboard. First post for the 11-race card is 12:45 p.m..
Scott Betts said dipping into below-the-radar auctions isn’t unusual for his group.
“We always keep our eye on this sale because we’ve found horses there before,” he said. “Tim actually found three we were thinking about, but we bought her because she went for $30,000. The others brought $80,000 or $90,000.”
At three, Lifeintheslammer competed on the tough Ontario Sires Stakes circuit with limited success — nary a victory. That kept her eligible for non-winners of two life, a perfect fit for the Mary Wohlmuth. Betts discovered he didn’t need a complete overhaul for his new acquisition.
“She was hitting her shins, so we tried to straighten that out. We turned her shoes around up front, and she started trotting clean. She won’t wear a head pole, though, so we use a line pole and a neck strap.”
In the first five wins of her current streak, Lifeintheslammer absolutely dominated, winning by an amazing 42-3/4 combined lengths. Last week, though, she was all out to hold off the Lightning Lane thrust of Margaretaville, gutting out a head win.
“Dave got off and said, ‘Don’t worry,’” recalled Betts. “He had a flat tire and was trying to make sure the tire didn’t come off the rim.”
After Thursday’s final, Betts said Lifeintheslammer will get a break before taking on overnight company at the Meadowlands. If she does well, Betts may give her a shot at the Graduate Series, for which she’s paid in. It’s the first time the prestigious series includes events for four-year-old mares.
“I think the big track will really make her happy. She doesn’t get around the turns very well.”
Thursday’s program also features the $19,500 championship of the Dale McConnell Memorial Trot for three- and four-year-old horses, colts and geldings (race six). Hurrikane Willie G (post seven, Jim Pantaleano) has been installed as the 2-1 morning line favourite.
On Wednesday, the highlight is the $20,500 championship of the Donna Dunn Memorial Pace for three- and four-year-old fillies, which goes as race nine. Gray Skies (post three, Dave Palone) has been installed as the 5-2 morning line favourite. The program includes a pair of carryovers with a combined value of nearly $34,000. The Jackpot Pick 5 (race four) offers a carryover of $27,529,19 while the carryover for the final-race Super Hi-5 is $6,271.03.
(With files from MSOA)