06/17/2016 10:57AM

Bergman: Coleman placing her bets on Betting Line in N.A. Cup

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Betting Line is the 5-2 morning line favorite in Saturday's North America Cup at Mohawk.

Great trainers know winning classic races doesn’t come by accident. A tremendous amount of care has to be taken with every detail to prepare a horse to peak at the right moment. That’s why it came as no surprise that trainer Casie Coleman returned Betting Line to steel shoes prior to last Saturday’s North America Cup eliminations.

Though the son of Bettor’s Delight did in fact win his prep, a division of the Somebeachsomewhere, Coleman knew instantly that there was a much better version of the colt and the racing world would need to see that one if there was any hope of reaching and winning a $1 million contest.

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Coleman of course is no stranger to the North America Cup, having captured the classic in 2010 with the Artsplace colt Sportswriter. That said, she’s had an affinity for sons of Bettor’s Delight and in Betting Line may have finally landed the top prize.

“I love the Bettor’s Delights,” said Coleman. “With him coming to Ontario they became a little pricy. I was only able to purchase one in my range last fall.”

But the one she purchased in 2014 with an outstanding pedigree is the one people will be talking about and likely wagering on Saturday at Mohawk.

Coleman had driver Jonathan Drury qualify Betting Line and drive him in his first few starts, but handed the lines over to David Miller prior to the North America Cup trials.

“That was the plan all along,” said Coleman of the shift. “JD did a great job with the horse getting him to this point and he will drive him again when there are conflicts in the scheduling. But I had David come to train the horse this winter for me in Florida just so he could get familiar with him.”

The two meshed perfectly in the North America Cup elimination heat this past Saturday, with Miller not squeezing too much out of the colt early to gain position and then patiently advancing without cover while racing off the pacesetting Lyons Snyder. Though not a very big colt, Betting Line is a determined one, and it was that presence in the stretch that proved the difference as he paced home strongly in a career best 1:49 1/5 clocking.

Coleman knew she had a good one last year and came away from a fourth-place finish in the Breeders Crown more excited than disappointed.

“That was a brutal trip,” Coleman said, recalling the race where Betting Line got stung past a 25 3/5 opening quarter and then never had a breather, setting torrid fractions of 53 2/5 and 1:22 2/5 while paving the way for closers Boston Red Rocks and Big Top Hanover to garner the first two spots.

“I think the most impressive part of that mile is that he was still digging in down the stretch and didn’t want a horse to pass him,” said Coleman.

Betting Line’s sire, Bettor’s Delight, captured the North America Cup in 2001 but has not produced a son to capture the contest. Coleman has sent sons of Bettor’s Delight to the North America Cup in attempts to honor the sire, but she came away empty.

In 2011 there was Betterthancheddar, a colt that lacked any 2-year-old experience but managed a second-place finish in the Somebeachsomewhere prior to a fifth-place showing in his N.A. Cup elimination heat.

Vegas Vacation went a huge trip in his 2013 North America Cup elimination scoring in 1:49, but he came away an also ran in the final won by Captaintreacherous.

In Betting Line, Coleman has a serious chance at a second North America Cup. “I’d love to win this race,” Coleman said. “It’s my home town track and it’s the biggest race, and I own a part of this horse. It would be great.”

Coleman selected post three for Betting Line at Tuesday’s post position draw and the colt could get his first opportunity at redemption for last year’s Breeders Crown. Boston Red Rocks, the Crown champion and also an elimination winner this past Saturday, will start next to Betting Line from post four. While his elimination heat went more than a full second slower than Betting Line, it’s hard to dismiss this son of Rocknroll Hanover considering that driver Tim Tetrick is in search of his third North America Cup win in the last four years. He guided the aforementioned Captaintreacherous for trainer Tony Alagna in 2013 and then returned last year, surprising eventual Horse of the Year Wiggle It Jiggleit with Wakizashi Hanover for trainer Jo Ann Looney-King.

Coleman has great respect for Control The Moment as well as Lyons Snyder. Control The Moment followed Betting Line into the stretch in his elimination but couldn’t stay with him in the crucial stages, finishing fourth. He drew post nine, which could force the hand of driver Randy Waples early.

Lyons Snyder appeared to have the field as well as Betting Line at his mercy in last week’s trials after a relatively soft opening half. The Well Said colt drew post two for the final and will need to show more staying power whether he chooses to race from on or off the pace.

Racing Hill, a colt that challenged Betting Line most aggressively in last year’s Breeders Crown before tiring, seems to have come back with similar purpose this year if the results have yet to develop. The Roll With Joe-sired colt looked to be ready to take advantage of his pocket trip coming inside in mid-stretch, but unfortunately he made a break in stride likely costing him at least second if not a close photo with Betting Line. Racing Hill drew post six for Brett Miller.

Winning a major race is never easy and no matter what the preparation, a race almost never goes exactly as planned. In Betting Line, Coleman has a horse that is as versatile as they come, and one would expect that driver David Miller gained an awful lot of confidence in his first effort behind the colt.

Saturday could in fact be a Bettor’s Delight for those backing Betting Line.

[MOHAWK: Watch the entire North America Cup card--Live on DRF Saturday!]