11/04/2014 10:59AM

Dover: All Bets Off should get respect in Matron

Geri Schwarz
All Bets Off sits third in 2014 earnings for 3-year-old pacing colts.

All Bets Off is the Rodney Dangerfield of the 3-year-old colt pacing division. Despite a stellar record and hefty earnings, he simply gets no respect. The son of Bettor’s Delight will look to garner some much deserved attention in Thursday’s $186,550 Matron, one of eight such rich races for 2- and 3-year-olds at Dover Downs.

Competing mostly in New York, All Bets Off has accumulated a stellar 11 wins in 15 starts this season. The Ron Burke-trained colt sits third among sophomore pacing colts with $908,625 earned, just a bit more than $100,000 behind McWicked at the head of the 3-year-old class.

All Bets Off and McWicked will hook up for the second time in 12 days on Thursday. In their last meeting All Bets Off powered down the road to win the $500,000 Messenger Pace at Yonkers Raceway while McWicked was a non-threatening third.

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“He was so good at Yonkers last time,” said regular driver Matt Kakaley, who has guided him in all but two of his starts this year. “He’s a great horse. I love sitting behind him.”

Having won races at Yonkers, Monticello, Northfield, Batavia, Pocono, and Philadelphia this year, many could see All Bets Off as more of a small track horse. He did win in 1:50 2/5 over the seven-eighths track at Vernon against NY Sire Stakes company, but he has yet to be tested on a mile track against the best in the sport, something he will need to accomplish whether in the Breeders Crown this year or in 2015 as a 4-year-old.

Burke said he was 50/50 on whether to pay the $62,500 supplement fee into the Breeders Crown. “If he raced well on Thursday we would lean towards it,” he said. Victories in the Matron and Crown would vault All Bets Off to the head of his class on the earnings leaderboard and perhaps earn him divisional year-end honors.

Kakaley is simply enjoying the ride behind the horse he calls the best horse he has ever steered as a full time driver. The 26-year-old native of Michigan has seen his star rise since becoming a regular driver back in 2007. Having handled horses to $7,350,841 in earnings (through 11/3/14), he is a near lock to exceed his career best $7.5 million season from last year and could flirt with $8 million if All Bets Off heads to the Crown and proves victorious.

“It wasn’t too long ago that I was getting my P (provisional) license at Pompano and driving in the Amateur races,” said Kakaley about the rapid ascent. “Obviously Ron Burke has been my biggest contributor, along with all his owners. They have dealt with my bad drives and the learning curve over the years.”

On Thursday Kakaley will start from post one in the 11th race behind All Bets Off. While McWicked with driver David Miller will pose a threat from post three, Luck Be Withyou (Tim Tetrick, post two) and Lyonssomewhere (Yannick Ginras, post seven) are also major contenders.

“I like the draw; he can leave so fast,” said Kakaley, perhaps tipping his hand on tactics as the gate unfolds.

Kakaley also picks up the drive behind Rich Wisdom in the $193,200 Matron for rookie pacing colts. He’ll meet up with a trio of very talented youngsters in the once-beaten Yankee Bounty, his conqueror In The Arsenal, who has won his last three starts, and NYSS champion Cartoon Daddy.

His other Matron drives come behind Well Hello There in the $199,600 split for 2-year-old filly pacers and Amped Up Hanover in the $200,350 3-year-old colt trot. Kakaley admitted he would need some luck to best the likes of Sassa Hanover (10-8-1-0) and others in the stacked filly pace. His task is even more difficult facing Father Patrick and Nuncio in the sophomore trot (race 10). The pair meet for the first time since the October 5 Kentucky Futurity where Nuncio came out in front. But Nuncio will have his work cut out for him starting from post eight to Father Patrick’s pole-position starting slot.

The octet of Matrons gets underway in the first race (4:30 p.m.) on the 15-race Dover card. 

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