Bettor Sweet paced to a 1:47.2 world record in the first of two $50,000 Graduate eliminations Saturday night at the Meadowlands.
The clocking eclipsed the previous record for a 4-year-old gelding on a mile track, 1:48, set by Color Me Best in 1999.
Soul Chaser and McCedes took the field to the quarter in :27.1 before even-money favorite Shark Gesture circled to the lead in a swift :54 half. Driver John Campbell and Bettor Sweet, with John Campbell at the lines, boldly seized the lead from Shark Gesture in a 1:20.4 third quarter and sprinted home in :26.3 for a half-length victory. Montecito N was a distanced third. Bettor Sweet paid $16.60 to win his second start off a two-month layoff.
“I was extremely happy with the race tonight,” Campbell said. “I got away mid pack and Shark Gesture retook down the backstretch. I started moving down the back and made the front in the turn and was able to hold him off. I knew Shark would be tough in the test. I thought my best shot to win the race was to get the front around the far turn. I expect him to race well in the final, to put in a big effort and to hold on. This is the first time he showed he could beat those types of horses.”
Bettor Sweet, trained by Joe Poliseno and owned by John Cancelliere, is now two for seven this season. The son of Bettor’s Delight unleashed a stakes record 1:49.4 mile to complete a sweep of the Oil Burner Series in December 2008, capping his sophomore campaign with nine wins in 17 starts.
Winbak Speed captured the second Graduate elimination in his signature front-end fashion for the team of driver Ron Pierce and trainer Wayne Givens.
Winbak Speed settled in third as Allamerican Idol reeled off a torrid :26.3 opening quarter before Pierce sent him up to assume command. He blazed through middle fractions of :54.2 and 1:22.2 en route to a two-length victory over Allamerican Idol in 1:49. Mucho Sleazy finished third off a ground-saving journey.
Winbak Speed has now won eight of 14 starts and $265,895 this season. Lifetime, he is 28 for 104. The 6-year-old son of Village Jove was a $30,000 claim by Delaware-based trainer Wayne Givens and co-owner Niel Garguilo in January 2008 at Dover Downs.
“Wayne all along thought we had something good, and here we are,” Garguilo said. “He’s getting better and Ronny (Pierce) just told me he’s the best he’s ever been. He’s a little horse with a big, big heart.”
The top five finishers in each of Saturday’s elimination races advanced to the $210,000 Graduate final next Saturday, May 16. The field for next week’s title, in alphabetical order, is: Allamerican Idol, Bettor Sweet, Blueridge Western, McCedes, Montecito N, Mucho Sleazy, Shark Gesture, Western Shore, Winbak Speed and Won The West. (Meadowlands)