10/26/2014 12:06AM

Yonkers: All Bets Off wins Messenger Pace

Mike Lizzi
All Bets Off went wire-to-wire in the Messenger Pace at Yonkers Raceway.

All Bets Off went to the front as soon as the gate opened and never was challenged on his way to winning Saturday’s $500,000 Messenger Stakes for 3-year-old pacers at Yonkers Raceway.

Driven by Matt Kakaley for trainer Ron Burke, All Bets Off won by 2-3/4 lengths over Luck Be Withyou in 1:51 1/5, with McWicked third. The time was the fastest ever for a Messenger Stakes at Yonkers.

“I was leaving no matter what,” Kakaley said. “I wasn’t going to duck him. He can leave so quick, I just had him jammed up on the (starting gate) pretty good and he just sprinted out of there.

“He was rolling along and he had a good hold of me. He was in the bit and felt fresh, so I was pretty confident.”

The Messenger is the third leg of the Pacing Triple Crown. Jimmy Takter’s Lyonssomewhere won the first jewel, the Cane Pace, and started the Messenger from post No. 3. Limelight Beach, who won the second leg of the Crown, the Little Brown Jug, did not enter the Messenger.

No Pan Intended is the last horse to win the Pacing Triple Crown, in 2003.

All Bets Off had raced only once since Sept. 13 prior to his Messenger elimination last week. He finished fourth in the elim, but rolled through fractions of :26 3/5, :55 1/5 and 1:23 to win the final.

“Ronnie said he was a horse that probably needed a little more work,” Kakaley said. “He wasn’t as good, he wasn’t himself, last week and that’s obvious. But I had all the faith in the world in Ronnie and his team. They always bring them ready to show up, and they showed up tonight.”

All Bets Off has won 11 of 15 races this year and earned $908,625. He is owned by Burke Racing, Frank Baldachino, The Panhellenic Stable, and Rosemary Shelswell.

The victory provided Kakaley with his first Triple Crown winner.

“It’s huge,” Kakaley said. “This is the biggest race I’ve won. This year has been a great year for me. Ronnie has been giving me a lot of opportunities and things have been going really well. So thanks to him.”

Act Now, the 1-5 favorite, took the lead from Tyra in the early moments of the race and cruised to a 1:53 win in Saturday’s $150,854 Lady Maud Stakes for 3-year-old female pacers at Yonkers Raceway.

Fancy Desire, who was parked for much of the mile, finished second and Beautiful Lady was third.

George Brennan drove Act Now (Western Ideal-CPA) for trainer Nik Drennan and owners Joe Davino and Patrick O’Brien. She has won five of 12 races this year and $307,444.

“She was really good,” Brennan said. “She was a little hotter than I wanted, she was hitting my bike a little, that’s why I got down there a little quicker in three-quarters (in 1:24 3/5) but she was well in hand. She was good.”

-Courtesy of Harness Racing Communications, a division of the U.S. Trotting Association. For more information, please visit www.ustrotting.com

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