Bettor’s Wish is back on track

Ken Weingartner

Hightstown, NJ — When Bettor’s Wish finished eighth in the Graduate Series championship last month, it snapped a streak of 24 consecutive top-three finishes for the Chris Ryder-trained pacer. When he was third in his following start, it marked only the second time in his career that he went back-to-back races without either a win or second-place finish.

But as he heads to Friday’s $225,000 Dan Patch Stakes for older male pacers at Harrah’s Hoosier Park, the 4-year-old stallion does so after returning to his winning ways on Hambletonian Day. Bettor’s Wish won the Sam McKee Memorial in a lifetime-best 1:47.3 this past weekend and is the 2-1 morning-line favorite in the Dan Patch.

“He’s back on track, I would say,” Ryder said. “I was really happy with him. We’re on target, everything is good.”

Bettor’s Wish won the Sam McKee Memorial in a lifetime-best 1:47.3 this past weekend. Lisa photo.

Bettor’s Wish was harness racing’s top money-winning horse in 2019, banking $1.64 million. He won 13 of 19 starts, finishing second in all six defeats, and was the Dan Patch Award winner for best 3-year-old male pacer. The son of Bettor’s Delight-Lifetime Star finished second to pacing mare Shartin N in voting for Pacer of the Year and Horse of the Year.

For his career, Bettor’s Wish has won 20 of 36 races and $2.07 million. He is owned by Ryder, Bella Racing, Fair Island Farm, and Bettors Wish Partners.

Bettor’s Wish and driver Dexter Dunn will start the Dan Patch from post three. Backstreet Shadow, who finished second to Bettor’s Wish in the McKee Memorial, is the 3-1 second choice from post six with driver Tim Tetrick. Backstreet Shadow is one of five Ron Burke-trained horses in the race.

Century Farroh, third in the McKee Memorial, is 7-2 from post two with David Miller driving for trainer Ian Moore.

Bettor’s Wish was put on Lasix following the July 11 Graduate Series final and skipped the William R. Haughton Memorial the following weekend. He finished third in an open at The Meadowlands on Aug. 1 before bouncing back in the McKee.

“Yeah, we did have a little trouble getting him in the winner’s circle as a 4-year-old,” Ryder said following the McKee. “He needed the Lasix and didn’t have the liver right (the previous) week. He got tired going down the lane and that was really our fault not the horse’s. I was hoping we’d have it corrected (in the McKee) and he came through.

“It’s a thrill to have him, it’s a thrill to have Dexter drive him.”

Following the Dan Patch Stakes, Bettor’s Wish is eligible to the Canadian Pacing Derby, Dayton Pacing Derby, Allerage Open Pace, Breeders Crown, and TVG.

“There are not so many races this year,” Ryder said. “But it’s OK, at least we have them. We’re in good shape. I’m excited.”

The Dan Patch Stakes is race 11, with an estimated 9:50 p.m. (EDT) post time. Racing begins at 6:30. For Friday’s complete Harrah’s Hoosier Park entries, click here.

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