Hightstown, NJ — Gus Dovi has fond memories of riding horses during his childhood in Sicily. Years later in the U.S., those remembrances were a factor in propelling him into racehorse ownership soon after the opening of The Meadowlands in 1976.
Now, he has Bettor Memories.
Bettor Memories, a 7-year-old male pacer, has been in Dovi’s small ownership stable since January 2016. Since then, the gelding has won 31 races and $653,430. More importantly to Dovi, the horse has consistently provided enjoyment.
“For me, it’s not all the money, although it’s very nice, don’t misunderstand me,” Dovi said. “It’s the idea that he’s racing against some very good horses. Me and my wife enjoy going to the track on the nights he races. If he’s competitive week after week, that’s the fun of it. If he’s in the top three, I’m very happy, always. I just have a passion for the Standardbred, it’s something I enjoy.”
Bettor Memories, trained by Richard “Nifty” Norman, has won three of six races this year and been worse than third only once. His next start is in Thursday’s $50,000 invitational handicap at Dover Downs, where he is the 7-2 second choice on the morning line. Backstreet Shadow is the 5-2 favorite and Jesse Duke N, unbeaten in three races since arriving in the U.S. from Down Under, is 9-2.
“He’s racing well this year,” Dovi said about Bettor Memories, who is a son of Bettor’s Delight out of Allamerican Memoir. “He’s been a pleasant surprise (since he was purchased). He came along very good and has done very well for us. I owe a lot of that to Nifty. He watches over him carefully; he manages him very well.”
Dovi, who lives in northern New Jersey, moved to the U.S. when he was 10. Following the opening of The Meadowlands, he got to know several horsemen through his printing business, which did work for the Big M.
“As a kid, I always rode horses,” Dovi said. “I’ve always loved the animal itself. It’s the reason I was fascinated when The Meadowlands opened up. They had the stables there and I used to really enjoy going down there. That’s the reason I got involved in the racing, because I like the animal.”
Dovi’s first memorable horse was J J’s Cornell in the early 1980s. Bettor Memories is his most recent. The horse was a Grand Circuit winner at age 3 and won a preliminary division of the George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series last season. He is eligible to the Levy, now called the MGM Borgata Pacing Series, which begins March 14 and concludes April 18 at Yonkers Raceway.
“I think Bettor Memories is the best one I’ve had,” Dovi said. “I enjoy watching him race, watching him compete. He has his good weeks and he has his bad weeks, like any other horse or any other athlete, but he’s very competitive. When he’s on his game, he’s very good.
“Of course, you always need a little luck, there’s no question. So, you hope for a little luck. But he’s a very nice horse. We’ll see what happens.”
Racing begins at 4:30 p.m. (EST) Thursday at Dover Downs. The invitational handicap is race 12 on the 14-race card. For complete entries, click here.