Plainville, MA — It’s been over three months since Something Bettor A made his final Australian start at Tabcorp Park Melton before embarking on the long journey to the United States in September to get underway for his new connections. Since getting back to work earlier this month, it didn’t take long for him to make his mark, winning the $20,000 conditioned pace at Plainridge Park on Tuesday afternoon (Nov. 22) — just his second start in North America.
Beyond The Past (driven by Drew Campbell) left from post six to take the lead, leaving pylon starter Something Bettor A (Ron Cushing) in the garden spot for the duration. Beyond The Past set swift fractions of :26.1, :55.3 and 1:24.1 while Something Bettor A was breathing down his neck every stride. Halfway through the final turn, Cushing left the pocket and Something Bettor A switched into glide. Something Bettor A was clear by a length at the seven-eighths and, as he headed down the stretch, pulled away by 1-1/2 lengths to win in a new lifetime mark of 1:53.
It was the seventh career win for Something Bettor A ($4.80). The lightly raced 5-year-old son of Bettor’s Delight-Distant Memory is owned by Cushing along with Kevin Sywyk. Heidi Gibbs trains the winner.
There were also two $17,500 paces for fillies and mares on the program, and both winners were steered to victory by Matty “Ice” Athearn. The first winner was Betterthanhope N, who is another recent Australian import who made her local debut in August.
Athearn left from post seven with Betterthanhope N and didn’t clear until past the quarter, but once on the point, she finished the job. The field stayed in single file until the five-eighths, when Tobin’s Diva (Luke Hanners) pulled from fourth and drew alongside Betterthanhope N before the last turn. The two matched strides around that bend, but at the top of the stretch, Betterthanhope N rebuffed the challenge, drew clear by a length, and then maintained her advantage to the line to win in 1:54.4.
It was the second straight win for Betterthanhope N ($8.40), who is owned and trained by Randy Bickmore, whose two wins made him the leading conditioner on Tuesday’s card.
Athearn then scored with another streaking filly named Sweet Charlie, who captured her third straight win.
The Charging Moa N (Luke Hanners) was the fastest of five leavers and took the field to the quarter in :26.3. Hilaria (Mike Steveson) was unable to seat in the melee and continued forward on the rim, pushing the half to :55. Heading up the backstretch, Hilaria began to fade while Athearn pulled Sweet Charlie from sixth and went three-wide around Hilaria. Then, Sweet Charlie was forced to remain three-wide as Sarah’s Lily (Bruce Ranger) slipped off the pegs under Hilaria. They were three across the track in the last turn and to the top of the stretch, where The Charging Moa N tired, leaving Sarah’s Lily and Sweet Charlie to battle it out. They matched strides to mid-stretch when Sweet Charlie paced clear under a highly animated drive by Athearn and won by 1-1/4 lengths in 1:53.2.
Sweet Charlie ($5.80) is owned by Linwood Higgins and is trained by Gretchen Athearn.
Bruce Ranger led all drivers for wins, registering a hat trick during the afternoon.
Please note that there will be no live racing or simulcast at Plainridge Park this Thursday (Nov. 24) due to the Thanksgiving holiday. However, the final card of live harness racing this year will be held on Friday (Nov. 25) at 1 p.m. There will be a $5,680 carryover and a mandatory payout in the Wicked Hi-5 pentafecta in the sixth race.
Free full past performance race programs for all live race days can be downloaded by visiting the track’s website.