Persistence pays off for connections of Racine Bell

Ken Weingartner

Hightstown, NJ — Racine Bell took time to get going, but there is no stopping her now.

A 4-year-old female pacer, Racine Bell will make her Grand Circuit debut in Sunday’s $100,000 Betsy Ross Mares Invitational at Harrah’s Philadelphia. For her career, the mare has won 16 of 34 races and hit the board a total of 27 times for trainer David Dewhurst and owners Chris Lawton and Dale Lawton. Purchased for $9,000 at the 2018 Blooded Horse Sale, she has earned $369,526.

Over 14 starts dating back to last October, the daughter of So Surreal-Ty’s Artist has won eight times and finished worse than third only once.

“She’s matured and grown up,” Dewhurst said. “But she’s been great for us at every point. There’s never been a dull moment for her.”

Purchased for $9,000 at the 2018 Blooded Horse Sale, Racine Bell has earned $369,526. Melissa Simser-Iovino photo.

It required some persistence, though, to reach that point. The first time Dewhurst took Racine Bell to the track to begin preparing her to race at age 2, she refused to move.

“We stood for one hour; she wouldn’t go,” Dewhurst said. “It took a long time for me to get her to go. She would go to the track and stop. It took a lot of patience to get her where she would at least go one mile. But once she figured it out, she’s been good ever since.”

At 2, Racine Bell enjoyed success on the New York Sire Stakes circuit and finished second in the series championship. Last year, she posted three NYSS wins in the preliminary rounds and finished fifth in the final, when she was hampered by a breathing issue. A month later, she beat older rivals in the Open Handicap for fillies-and-mares at Saratoga.

This season, Racine Bell opened with a third-place finish before putting together a six-race win streak against top-class mares at Saratoga and Yonkers, with the final two victories in that span coming from post eight at Yonkers.

Racine Bell then headed to The Meadowlands for two starts, finishing second to Betsy Ross contender Soho Burning Love A before last week’s third-place finish behind Lyons Sentinel, a 2019 Dan Patch Award winner, and Keep Rockin A, another Betsy Ross invitee.

“She’s very good on any size track,” Dewhurst said. “She doesn’t have to take the track with her, she will go anywhere. She’s just professional about everything. She’s well-mannered. You can do anything you want with her. She’s just very laidback.”

Racine Bell will face seven foes in the Betsy Ross, including Grand Circuit winners Machnhope, JK First Lady, Rocknificent, Treacherous Reign, and Snobbytown. Machnhope captured this season’s first Grand Circuit final for pacing mares, the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series championship on April 19 at Yonkers.

“It’s exciting when you’re racing elite horses,” Dewhurst said. “You don’t have to get too nervous with her. She just goes out and does her thing.”

Racing begins at 12:40 p.m. Sunday at Harrah’s Philadelphia. The 15-race card also includes the $100,000 Commodore Barry for older male pacers and the $100,000 Maxie Lee Memorial for older trotters plus two divisions of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes for 3-year-old male pacers. For more on those races, click here. For complete entries, click here.

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