06/29/2013 2:20PM

Woodbine: Alpha Bettor gets distance test in Dominion Day

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Michael Burns
Alpha Bettor wins the Eclipse Stakes in his first start of the year on May 12. He will stretch out from 1 1/16 miles to 1 1/4 miles in the Dominion Day.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Alpha Bettor defeated the leading older Polytrack routers at Woodbine on May 12 in the Grade 2 Eclipse Stakes. He will test his skills over 1 1/4 miles on the Canada Day holiday Monday in the Grade 3, $150,000 Dominion Day Stakes.

Alpha Bettor had been idle for six months when he won the 1 1/16-mile Eclipse over Delegation and James Street. At 13-1, he was the second-longest price in the five-horse field.

“He’d been training really, really well this spring,” trainer Danny Vella said. “We were expecting a big race, but any time you win, it’s always a bit of a surprise.”

Vella felt the 1 1/4 miles of the Dominion Day should be within the range of Alpha Bettor, a son of Alphabet Soup.

“He’s run very well at a mile and an eighth,” Vella said. “He was second in the Victoria Park Stakes as a youngster. It’s a little uncharted, that extra eighth, but he sure doesn’t act like he won’t do it.”

Delegation missed out on Canadian champion 3-year-old honors last year to Queen’s Plate winner Strait of Dover in a fairly tight Sovereign Award vote. Perhaps the highlight of his season was a third-place finish in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile at Santa Anita.

Delegation’s only poor performance was a distant eighth-place finish in the Grade 3 Hal’s Hope on Jan. 13 at Gulfstream. Trainer Mark Casse said Delegation bled then, so he gave him a break and then ran him in the allowance prep for the Eclipse after an allowance at Keeneland failed to fill.

Delegation led all the way over a speed-conducive track in that 1 1/16-mile prep, scoring by 3 1/2 lengths in near-Polytrack-record time. He was the heavy favorite in the Eclipse itself, in which he attended the pace in second before coming up a neck short.

“He had won so impressively the time before that maybe he bounced a little bit,” Casse said. “I think he’ll like [a mile and a quarter]. He’s the kind of horse who likes to go out and gallop along.”

Casse also entered Patrioticandproud, who has struggled in graded-stakes company in the United States since capturing an April 7 optional claimer at Keeneland.

James Street rallied wide from well back to finish a close third in the Eclipse. The two-time graded stakes winner was a wide, closing second in the 2011 Dominion Day.

Awesome Overture is unbeaten in three starts, including two front-running scores in allowance company. He could lead the way in his second race with Lasix.

The Presque Isle Downs-based Photo Shoot is the lone shipper in the eight-horse field.

Chris Butler More than 1 year ago
Yea, that bastion of great racing, Saratoga, will be openned in a few weeks with its tremendous daily menu of three, four or five maiden races, a couple of claimers and a couple of NY bred races, wow what great racing!!! Most over rated race meet in the country. Granted they do have tradition and a great Stakes program, but look closely at their daily cards...they stink!!!
Mike More than 1 year ago
a lot of Canadian bred garbage - without slot money they would have to pull the plug - same thing in the U.S.