A ‘non-Bettor’s Wish’ in first elim of Messenger Stakes

Yonkers, NY — It was a ‘non-Bettor’s Wish’ Saturday night (Aug. 24) during Yonkers Raceway’s eliminations for the 64th Messenger Stakes.

Bettor’s Wish (Dexter Dunn), the lone $30,000 supplemental entrant into the second jewel of the Pacing Triple Crown, summarily disposed of his five rivals in a non-wagering elimination.

Bettor’s Wish held off American Mercury by a half-length in 1:53.2. Mike Lizzi photo.

A pole-sitting second early in the $40,000 off-the-card elim, Bettor’s Wish took over from American Mercury (Tyler Buter) before a :28 opening quarter-mile. After a pedestrian :58 intermission, Escapetothebeach (Corey Callahan) tried it first-up from fourth.

Bettor’s Wish led through a 1:26.1 three-quarters, eventually holding off American Mercury by a half-length in 1:53.2. Escapetothebeach backed away but held third, with Branquinho (Jason Bartlett) fourth. That quartet goes into next Saturday night’s (Aug. 31) $500,000 finale of the Messenger.

Lyons Johnnyjnr (Dan Dube) and Captain Trevor (Jordan Stratton) completed the order.

Bettor’s Wish, a Bettor’s Delight colt, has hit the board in 22-of-23 career tries (13 wins, seven seconds, two thirds, $1,131,600). He now has eight wins and three seconds in 11 ’19 tries ($859,544). Chris Ryder co-owns (with Bella Racing, Fair Island Farm and Bettors Wish Partners) and trains.

“He was just so great, so easy to drive,” Dunn said. “I can’t wait for next week.”

The on-the-card, $40,000 elim saw Aflame Hanover (Callahan, $6) finish what he started.

Corey Callahan guided Aflame Hanover to the win in the second Messenger elimination at Yonkers on Saturday. Mike Lizzi Photo.

From post position three, he never had an issue (:27.4, :56.3, 1:24, 1:52), beating pocketed pole-sitter U S Captain (Bartlett) by a length-and-a-half. Waterway (Joe Bongiorno), paired with the runner-up as the 17-10 wagering choice, was a closing third, while 37-1 rank outsider Reigning Deo (George Brennan) was a ground-saving fourth to advance.

Buddy Hill (Eric Goodell) and Air Force Hanover (Stratton) were fifth and last, respectively.

For second choice Aflame Hanover, a Russell Hanover gelding co-owned by (trainer) Linda and Tony Schadel, it was his fourth (consecutive) win in 16 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $17.60, with neither triple nor superfecta wagering offered.

“He was super,” Callahan said. “He did everything I asked. His hopple hanger broke, but that didn’t bother him.”

Aflame Hanover traversed the Keystone State exclusively, only leaving (before Saturday) to finish fifth and fourth, respectively, in the elim and final of Mohawk’s North America Cup.

Saturday’s pair of $46,000 Open Handicaps were won by…

–Pace, None Bettor A (Bartlett, $2.30) in 1:50.4;
–Trot, Will Take Charge (Stratton, $8.70) in 1:54.4.

Undeservedly reduced to sidebar status were…

American History (Bongiorno, $5.60), who matched the all-age track record (1:50) in winning the $37,000 4-Year-Old Open Handicap after teletimer-busting intervals of :26.2, :53.1 and 1:20.2;
–Double-millionaire Bit of A Legend N (Stratton, $4.60), who grinded out a 50th career win (in his 150th life start), winning the $30,000, 11th-race pace (1:52.4).

Open draws for next Saturday’s (Aug. 31) four-pack of stakes–$500,000 Yonkers Trot, $580,000 Messenger, $124,334 Hudson Filly Trot and $122,224 Lady Maud Pace—take place Monday afternoon (Aug. 26).

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