Week in and week out Bettor’s Edge has used his high turn of gate speed to battle top-quality stock at the Meadowlands but had yet to win in 2018 even though his resume showed five straight on-the-board finishes heading into Saturday night’s (March 10) featured $20,000 Preferred Handicap for pacers.
So this time, he tried it from off the pace, and it resulted in his first victory of the year.
In the early going, Rodeo Romeo sped to the top at the quarter in :26.4 before 3-5 public choice Awesomeness, in search of his third straight win, made his way to the point just before the three-eighths. The favorite hit the half in :55.1 as Bettor’s Edge started his march toward the leaders while racing uncovered from the back of the pack.
Rodeo Romeo, sent off at 15-1, popped out of the pocket on the far turn to challenge Awesomeness and had a nose in front as they turned for home while Bettor’s Edge picked up that cover.
Brett Miller then tipped Bettor’s Edge to the outside with an eighth of a mile to go and the lifetime $2 million earner blew by the dueling leaders to win by a half-length in 1:50.1, sprinting the final quarter in :26.2. Awesomeness held second with Western Fame finishing third in his first start of the year.
Was it a conscious decision to not leave the gate?
"Yes. It was a great audible on Brett’s part," said winning trainer Jennifer Lappe. "And when he got away last I knew my horse was going to love it. It was a refreshing change for him. He’s been used hard in all of his starts since the layoff and all he needed to do was race with a breather early."
Bettor’s Edge returned $13.60 to win as the fourth choice in the wagering for owners Lappe and Robert Santagata. Lifetime, the 9-year-old gelded son of Bettor’s Delight has won 37 of 164 starts.
A LITTLE MORE: Great Vintage, driven by Yannick Gingras and trained by Jimmy Takter, took the seventh race conditioned pace in 1:49.2, which equaled the second-fastest North American mile of the year. Only Major Uptrend has gone faster, by virtue of his 1:49 clocking at Dover Downs on Feb. 15. … The Pick-4 pool surpassed the $90,000 mark for a third straight Saturday ($91,904) and after a sequence that included a pair of favorites, the payout was $351.40 for a 50-cent bet. … Anthony Napolitano drove three winners on the program while Jim Pantaleano and Gingras had two apiece. … The Late 20-cent Jackpot Super High-Five failed to result in a single-ticket winner, upping the carryover to $139,614. … All-source wagering totaled $2,875,940, the second highest handle of 2018. … Racing resumes at the Big M Friday at 6:35 p.m. (Meadowlands)