Bettors Wish Progeny Sweep NJSS Finals

Better Is Nice winning at The Meadowlands
Published: August 5, 2023 01:35 am EDT

Bettors Wish is off to a great start as a sire, as his first-crop offspring Better Is Nice and Pulp Fiction both put up impressive victories in a pair of $240,000 New Jersey Sire Stakes finals for two-year-olds on the pace at The Meadowlands on Friday night (Aug. 4).

Better Is Nice (Bettors Wish-Thtsoveryverynice) used a burst of speed to make the lead before the half on the way to an easy 2-1/2-length win over Alritealritealrite in the division for colts and geldings in a lifetime-best 1:50.4 with Andy McCarthy doing the driving. The 3-5 favourite returned $3.40 to win.

“We didn’t think he would be a high-profile colt,” said trainer Tony Alagna, who co-owns as Alagna Racing with Pryde Stables Inc. and Birnam Wood Farms. “We had him in the sale, but he only brought $25,000, so I bought him back. He’s a real playful horse who reminds us of Abuckabett Hanover. We called him ‘Little Bucky’ all spring. He’s much better tracking horses down but he can do it either way. I bred to Bettors Wish because I had the faith he could deliver.”

Pulp Fiction (Bettors Wish-Im Trigger Happy) led at every call in the split for fillies, finishing the mile four lengths in front of Odds On Steno in a lifetime-best 1:52.2 to stay perfect in three career tries, all in the NJSS. Sent to the gate as the 1-5 public choice, the Let It Ride Stables homebred returned $2.60 to win.

“I know she can get out of the gate well,” said winning driver Todd McCarthy. “There weren’t quite as many fireworks as I thought there would be [up front]. She still has a lot to learn, but every time I asked her, she went on with it. [Trainer] Mike [Hall] has done a great job with her.”

The Kindergarten Series for two-year-olds continued on Friday with seven $20,000 divisions comprising the third leg.

The trotting colt divisions were won by Karl and driver Yannick Gingras in 1:54.1 for trainer Nancy Takter and Amazing Catch in 1:55.1 for trainer/driver Ake Svanstedt while driver Tim Tetrick swept the filly splits with Slip Sliding Away edging out Svanstedt stablemate Sierra Girl in 1:54.4 and the Lucas Wallin trainee The Moment winning in 1:55.4.

Huntinforchrome won the lone division for pacing colts in 1:50.2 for the brother-sister, driver-trainer team of Joe and Jenn Bongiorno. The Gingras-Takter team also clicked in the pacing filly set with Caviart Belle in 1:50.4 while the Ron Burke-trained Sea Shanty Hanover and David Miller won the other filly division in 1:52.2.

Gabe Prewitt made Dave Little sweat on the 19th and final night of the track’s “Battle of The Meadowlands Masterminds” handicapping contest, but came up short one winner in his attempt to dig out of a $3,000 hole as Little took not only the overall title but was the nightly winner as well.

Little nudged past Jessica Otten by $5 on the night after Pulp Fiction delivered an easy score, giving Little $525 for the night. As for the 10-week competition, Little finished with a bankroll of $11,643.05. Ken Warkentin was second with $9,225.00, Prewitt third at $8,296.40 and Otten fourth with $8,121.50.

Prewitt’s shot at a last-ditched rally faltered when 6-5 favourite Sarasota Hanover failed in the sixth, costing him the title.

Yannick Gingras led the driver colony with three winners on the night. Ake Svanstedt led the trainers with a hat trick of his own. 

A $47,167 carryover led to $158,635 in “new money” being bet into the 20-cent Pick-6 pool for a grand total of $205,802. Those with winning tickets collected $1,035.56 after winner’s odds during the sequence were 7-2, 1-5, 10-1, 9-5, 5-2 and 9-5.

All-source handle on the 14-race card was $3,359,926, the 48th time from 62 race cards that betting busted the $3-million barrier this year.

Racing resumes Saturday, Hambletonian Day, at noon. For fans that can’t make it out to the track, The Hambletonian, which has a post time of 4:45 p.m., can be seen live on Fox Sports (Fox 5 New York in the Metropolitan Area).

(With files from Meadowlands; Photo of Better Is Nice winning his NJSS Championship)

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