Locals Doug McNair, Scott McEneny and Brad Grant celebrate popular victory.
story by Chris Lomon | quotes by Sandra Snyder
After finishing second in last week’s elimination, Bettors Up went one better in the final of the $440,000 Fan Hanover for sophomore pacing fillies on Saturday at Mohawk Racetrack.
The diminutive daughter of Bettors Delight—Fresh Idea came up with a gutsy performance in her biggest race to date, seizing the lead in the backstretch and then working overtime late to fend off fellow longshot Agent Q to eke out a nose nod.
“I’ll tell you, it was close,” said co-owner Brad Grant of Milton, ON. “I didn’t come downstairs until they put it up on the teletimer there, but it was great.”
Last Saturday, Bettors Up was sent to the front, endeavoring to wire her rivals in the second of two Fan Hanover eliminations before being collared in the final strides by Tequila Monday, who won by a length in 1:50.4.
On this night, Bettors Up, with Doug McNair in the sulky, rolled the dice again, employing somewhat similar tactics, but this time with a more pleasing result.
McNair had his charge, sent off at 11-1, ready to roll off the gate, as David Miller, piloting Agent Q, also had designs on calling the shots.
It was Agent Q who took the field through an opening quarter in :26.4, before McNair decided to put Bettors Up on the front end, the duo carving out a half in :55.1.
As the field turned for home, Bettors Up was under siege, as favorites Tequila Monday and Idyllic Beach each took aim at the leader. When Idyllic Beach made a misstep and Tequila Monday wasn’t able to gain any ground, Agent Q made one final push in the final strides, but couldn’t get by her rival.
The final time delivered a career-best mark of 1:49.4.
“I don’t mind when we’re on the right side of the photo,” said McNair. “I got away and once there was no one leaving I kind of wanted to sit in the two-hole behind Dave (Miller, Agent Q) and Trevor (Henry, Al Mar Got A Fever) beat me to the two-hole, so I took a shot. I was in a bad spot and I definitely wasn’t wanting to come first up. Dave knows all the horses and he knows that’s a good mare so I was happy to follow her.”
Scott McEneny, who trains Bettors Up for his wife, Michelle and her fellow owners Grant and Teresa Davidson, was ecstatic with the brave effort.
“That was close, I don’t like when they are that close,” Scott said. “I bought her for $15,000, only because of her size, but she has the biggest heart and the tougher you race her, the more she likes it. She equaled the world record last year as a two-year-old and got a little stale at the end of the year, but she’s come back good so far this year.”
Over 16 starts in her career, Bettors Up has won eight, including three divisions of the Pennsylvania Sires Stakes and a division of the Eternal Camnation last year, recording $433,837 in earnings.
Prior to the Fan Hanover, she had made four starts in 2017, improving from a seventh-place finish in her debut against conditioned mares on May 6 to a polished 1:51.1 triumph on June 2 ahead of the Fan Hanover eliminations.
At two, Bettors Up’s only other stakes action was in the Three Diamonds at Woodbine, where she finished sixth in the final.
Tonight, she was more than up for the challenge.
Bettors Up paid $24.40 for the win.