08/01/2013 12:49PM

Woodbine: Alpha Bettor seeks Seagram Cup repeat

Michael Burns
Alpha Bettor wins the Eclipse Stakes in his first start of the year. On Saturday, he will try for his second straight Seagram Cup victory.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Alpha Bettor aims for his second straight win in the Grade 3 Seagram Cup at Woodbine on Saturday, when he will meet James Street and Ultimate Destiny in the mile and a sixteenth stakes. Fortunately for all of them, the best horse on the grounds, Delegation, has bypassed the $150,000 contest.

Alpha Bettor upset Delegation by a neck, with James Street finishing another head back in third, while landing his May 12 season opener in the Grade 2 Eclipse Stakes.

“His first race was huge, right off the shelf,” said trainer Danny Vella. “He got the perfect trip. Delegation didn’t run his absolute best race. Maybe he didn’t like being hounded all the way. It worked out for us. We were sitting in the garden spot right behind him and came up the inside.”

James Street edged out Alpha Bettor for third when they reached out from a mile and a sixteenth to 10 furlongs most recently in the Grade 3 Dominion Day Stakes, which Delegation won in a romp.

“He ran his race last time,” Vella said. “Delegation was just unbeatable that day. I think we were second-best that day, too. We went after Delegation [early], gave a couple pounds to James Street, and just got beat for second. He’s run two huge races, and we expect another one. He’s been training great.”

Ultimate Destiny is riding the wave of a three-race win streak, all for owner/trainer Alec Fehr. He won a pair of allowance sprints in May, and then barely won his first stakes over Good Better Best in the June 15 Steady Growth, a mile and a sixteenth route for Ontario-sired stock.

“He was in tight quarters on the turns in all three of his races,” Fehr said. “He had nowhere to go until around the quarter pole, where he was able to get out and do some running. He had a lot of work to do in that last race to catch Good Better Best. [Jockey Eurico Da Silva] said it looked tougher than it was, and then he galloped out really well past them.”

Fehr said he had hoped to run Ultimate Destiny in a third-level allowance this week that failed to fill, so the Seagram Cup is Plan B.

“It’s going to be seven weeks between races, and it was good to take some time off during the heat wave we had,” Fehr said. “After three good races, he earned a bit of downtime, anyway. He’s worked really well coming back. He’s doing great.”

James Street won the 2011 Seagram Cup, and was a non-threatening third in last year’s edition for trainer Josie Carroll.

Awesome Overture figures to lead the way, which he didn’t do when finishing up the track in the Dominion Day. He won his two previous outings on the front end in allowance company.