Bettor's Wish, Kissin In The Sand victorious in last starts
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Bettor’s Wish closed out his racing career in style with a powerful performance in Saturday’s (Nov. 21) $340,000 TVG Series Open Pace championship, defeating Backstreet Shadow by 2-3/4 lengths in 1:48.1 at The Meadowlands. This Is The Plan finished third.
Bettor’s Wish led to the first turn before yielding to Southwind Ozzi in a :27.1 opening quarter. Southwind Ozzi’s time on top was short-lived as driver Dexter Dunn directed Bettor's Wish back to the lead and took the field to the half in :54.2 and three-quarters in 1:22. He was never threatened in the stretch.
Sent off as the 1-2 favorite, Bettor’s Wish paid $3.00 to win.
“I barely asked him tonight, to be honest,” Dunn said. “It was all him. It’s been him his whole career. He’s a true racehorse.
“It was a special feeling crossing the line with him tonight. He’s been an amazing horse to me.”
Bettor’s Wish, a 4-year-old stallion by Bettor’s Delight out of Lifetime Star, won 24 of 44 career starts and $2.60 million. He failed to finish among the top three only three times in his career. He received the Dan Patch Award for best 3-year-old male pacer in 2019 and was second to Shartin N in voting for both Pacer of the Year and Horse of the Year.
Other victories this year for Bettor’s Wish included the Sam McKee Memorial, Dayton Pacing Derby, and Allerage Farms Open Pace.
Bettor’s Wish is owned by trainer Chris Ryder, Bella Racing, Fair Island Farm, and Bettors Wish Partners. He was bred by Brittany Farms.
“I’m very sad to retire the horse tonight, but it’s the right time, it’s the right thing to do for his stud career,” Ryder said. “I’m really, really going to miss him. He’s raced so good for us so many times, it’s like I’ve got to pinch myself when I look back on those races. There are so many good memories.
“I’d really like to thank my ownership group. They stood behind me 100 percent and let me race him wherever and whenever and that’s made it a whole lot easier. The whole trip has just been very exciting and something I’ll never forget.”
Bettor’s Wish bred 58 mares in New Jersey this year before beginning his 4-year-old campaign. He will stand at Diamond Creek Farm of Pennsylvania in 2021.
Kissin In The Sand took the lead at the half, fended off a challenge from Shartin N on the final turn, and pulled away from the field in the stretch to win Saturday’s $150,000 TVG Series Mare Pace championship in a stakes-record 1:48 at The Meadowlands. Three-year-old filly Peaky Sneaky was second and Shartin N was third.
It was the final start of Kissin In The Sand’s career. The 5-year-old mare finished the season with a seven-race win streak and pushed her lifetime victory total to 27 in 58 starts. She earned $1.74 million for owners Marvin Katz and Hatfield Stables and trainer Nancy Takter.
“She was outstanding tonight,” winning driver Dexter Dunn said. “She’s had an amazing career, she’s an amazing mare, and I was lucky enough to get on for the last four or five starts to enjoy the last run home.”
Kissin In The Sand left from post nine and settled into third as Peaky Sneaky and Shartin N exchanged the lead in an opening :26.3 quarter. Kissin In The Sand made her move on the backstretch and got to the front just as she hit the half in :53.4. She remained on top to three-quarters in 1:20.3 and came home in :27.2 to win by 2-1/2 lengths over stablemate Peaky Sneaky.
“She kicked in the straight really good,” Dunn said. “She knows when it’s go time. Once we got the plugs out, she went to another gear and finished off a very strong mile.”
Sent off the 4-5 favorite, Kissin In The Sand paid $3.80 to win.
Kissin In The Sand, by Somebeachsomewhere out of Kiss Me Kate, was bred by Christina Takter, John Fielding, R A W Equine Inc., and Concord Stud Farm. She was a Dan Patch Award winner at age 3. Among her wins to close out this season were her first Breeders Crown as well as the Dayton Distaff Derby, Milton Stakes, and Allerage Farms Mare Pace.
“When she was 3, I actually took care of her myself because I had a much smaller stable, so I had a very close relationship with her,” trainer Nancy Takter said. “That’s why she’s so special (to me).
“She’s matured so much through the years. She was a pain in the butt to break. I remember four years ago when she came into my barn, I called Marvin Katz and said she’s either going to be great, or she’s going to be terrible. So I’m happy she decided to be great. She was just tough from day one and her performance tonight just shows how tough she really is.”
Kissin In The Sand will be bred to another of Takter’s recently retired stars, Tall Dark Stranger.
“Hopefully, they’re a match made in heaven,” Takter said, adding with a laugh, “I already told Marvin and Bud (Hatfield) that I get to train the first baby.”--By Ken Weingartner/USTA