Betterthancheddar (by Bettor’s Delight) knifed inside a tiring Shadyshark Hanover to win the $342,875 Cane Pace on Saturday night, capping an extraordinary chapter in the first leg of the Pacing Triple Crown.
The Cane was orphaned earlier this week when Tropical Storm Lee cut a wide swath of flooding devastation across New York’s Southern Tier, wiping out the final weekend at Tioga Downs.
The cancellation left the Cane without a home, until Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs rode to the rescue. The race, as originally drawn, was swiftly transferred and the Triple Crown kept whole.
And quite a contest it turned out to be as Betterthancheddar, a minor player until now in the 3-year-old pacing division, delivered the race of his life.
Betterthancheddar and driver Yannick Gingras fired right to lead from post No. 7 in a brisk 25.4 opening quarter. They yielded to Shadyshark Hanover who clicked off punishing fractions of 53 and 1:20.4.
When Shadyshark Hanover started to fade, Betterthancheddar, 4-1, slipped by and was all out to hold off another inside challenge from 30-1 shot Townslight Hanover.
Powerful Mist surged on the outside to get third. Shadyshark Hanover was fourth.
The time was 1:49.2 as Betterthancheddar, unraced at 2, picked up his fifth win in 11 starts for trainer Casie Coleman and owners Steve Calhoun and Coleman’s West Wins Stable.
Roll With Joe had a trip from hell. The Meadowlands Pace and Battle of Brandywine winner drew post No. 8 and it cost him. Roll With Joe was hung wide early and wound up tracking poor cover when Eighteen stalled in the outer flow.
The 3-5 favorite, Roll With Joe finished sixth.
The Pacing Triple Crown now moves on the Little Brown Jug on Sept. 22 and concludes with the Messenger Stakes at Yonkers Raceway on Nov. 12.
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