05/28/2014 5:07PM

Yonkers: Father and son have rooting interest in All Bets Off

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Mike Lizzi
All Bets Off is co-owned by the Panhellenic Stable.

Spiro Apostolatos first got introduced to harness racing by his dad, who raced horses at Roosevelt Raceway. On Saturday night, Spiro’s Panhellenic Stable will send out the 7-5 favorite in the $300,000 Art Rooney at Yonkers Raceway—All Bets Off.

“They always know I’m interested in New York-breds,” said Apostolatos of the acquisition last year of All Bets Off, a two-year-old that had been campaigning on the New York Sire Stakes circuit.

For Apostolatos, owning New York-breds gives him the opportunity to enjoy the races with his dad much like he did growing up. Last week the two were not in attendance when All Bets Off captured one of two elimination races for the Rooney in impressive fashion. With the Bettors Delight-sired colt landing post four for the final, they will be looking forward to spending some quality time, perhaps in the winner’s circle following the eleventh race.

A recent sale of a few horses has left Apostolatos with roughly 20 in his stable and he claims ownership is as much a hobby as it is a business. He’s had moments of success since he began acquiring horses in 1998. While a victory in Saturday’s $300,000 race would be big to Apostolatos and his partners on the horse, it will be difficult for it to match a win he enjoyed a few years back.

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“My greatest thrill definitely came when Dink Adoo captured the Dygert,” said Apostolatos, referring to the race at Balmoral Park in 2008. Dink Adoo, a trotter that spent the better part of eight seasons racing for Apostolatos, had been close in the race on a number of occasions but finally got the job done as a nine-year-old.

“I couldn’t be at the race,” Apostolatos said, “But it was incredible watching him weave through traffic and win that race.”

His stable has already had a decent campaign in 2014, with Easy Again getting a fair share of the purse money in the Levy series. The five-year-old has made $160,000 this year and looks to add to that account in the $38,000 Open Handicap (race eight).

Apostolatos has been mostly surprised by the success he has enjoyed with Easy Again this year. “I was in Harrisburg last fall and Mark (Weaver) and I were looking at the horse and we both had the exact same price tag on him,” Apostolatos said. It was one of many astute purchases Weaver has made over the years.

All Bets Off was a horse purchased last year after finishing second to He’s Watching. Ironically it was He’s Watching that was expected to dominate the Rooney, but in his absence it appears to be All Bets Off’s race for the taking.

A handy winner in 1:52 3/5 in just his third start of the year, All Bets Off will be driven by Matt Kakaley again on Saturday night. His biggest challenge is expected to come from Stevensville, a homebred from the Ray Schnittker stable that won by open lengths in 1:53 in his $40,000 Rooney prelim. Tim Tetrick arrives late on the scene at Yonkers to guide the son of Somebeachsomewhere from post six.

Live racing concludes with the Saturday 13-race program at Yonkers and returns again on June 13.