11/01/2013 2:21PM

Santa Anita: Better Bet scores big upset in Golden State Juvenile

Barbara D. Livingston
Better Bet and jockey Martin Pedroza win the Golden State Juvenile by a half-length Friday.

ARCADIA, Calif. – After failing to be a factor in his first three stakes, Better Bet ($96) was the shocking winner of Friday’s $200,250 Golden State Juvenile for California-breds at Santa Anita.

Ridden by Martin Pedroza, Better Bet led throughout the one-mile race for 2-year-olds to win by a half-length over 34-1 Electric Eddie. Better Bet was the second-longest shot in the field.

Pedroza hustled Better Bet away from the outside post in a field of nine and dueled with Tribal Mystic through early fractions of 23.03 and 46.83 seconds. Tribal Mystic faded from contention on the turn, leaving Better Bet in front by two lengths in early stretch.

The margin was reduced through the final furlong, but Better Bet held on, finishing in 1:37.53. Tamarando, the winner of the Grade 1 Del Mar Futurity in September, finished third, followed by Cinmars Dance, Life Is a Joy, California Chrome, Gangnam Guy, Sir Barclay, and Tribal Mystic.

Better Bet races for owner and trainer Mike Harrington, who bred the Southern Image colt with his wife, Patricia.

“He’s a better horse than he’s been running,” Mike Harrington said. “Fortunately, in a $200,000 race, it turned out right.”

Better Bet has won 2 of 8 starts and earned $190,130. He beat maidens in his fifth career start at Del Mar on July 21 but followed that victory with a fourth in the Graduation Stakes at Del Mar on July 31, a fifth in the I’m Smokin Stakes on Sept. 2, and a seventh in the Grade 1 FrontRunner Stakes here Sept. 28.