Bulldog Racing’s Alpha Bettor found his best stride late to win Sunday’s Grade 2, $200,000 Eclipse Stakes, at Woodbine.
Alpha Bettor, a five-year-old son of Alphabet Soup trained by Dan Vella, saved all the ground in the 1 1/16-mile ‘Poly’ event and glided up the rail, under rider Justin Stein, to make his seasonal debut a winning one.
Don Cavallo led the five-horse field through splits of :24.21, :47.40 and 1:10.72 with Delegation, a front-running winner of the prep for this event, stalking outside from second position and Alpha Bettor tucked in along the rail in third.
Delegation, and a rallying James Street, angled out and took dead aim at Don Cavallo through the turn, but the rail opened up for Alpha Bettor who finished a game and determined winner, by a neck, in a final running time of 1:42.69. Delegation won a place photo over James Street.
Stein, who took Saturday’s Queenston Stakes with Black Hornet, believes a patient ride worked in his favour.
“I had a perfect trip. I had to wait a little longer than I wanted to, but it worked out for the better,” said Stein. “Everyone was asking their horses to run and I was able to save a little more horse and it made the difference. Once he got his head in front, he ran a game race. I could just feel him wanting to win the race.”
Vella is hopeful that Alpha Bettor, a winner of the Grade 3 Seagram Cup last August, will continue to improve with age.
“He’s bred to be an older horse and he’s getting better all the time,” said Vella.
Alpha Bettor, bred in Kentucky by Adena Springs, banked $120,000 in victory while improving his record to 6-4-1 from 21 career starts.
He returned $29.60 and $5.80, pairing with Delegation ($2.10) for a $50.10 (3-5) exactor. A 3-5-4 (James Street) triactor was worth $63.10. There was no show wagering offered on the race.