Alpha Bettor made his case for a Sovereign Award as Canada's champion older horse in 2013 when he nailed pacesetter Occasional View at the line by a neck to capture the $148,882 Autumn Stakes (Can-II) Nov. 15 on the Polytrack at Woodbine (VIDEO).
Bulldog Racing's veteran 5-year-old son of Alphabet Soup earned his third graded stakes of the Woodbine season with Justin Stein in the irons for trainer Dan Vella. The 107th running of the Autumn was held Friday after being postponed Nov. 10 because of high wind gusts.
Alpha Bettor, bred in Kentucky by Adena Springs out of the Relaunch mare Scatter Buy, won the Eclipse Stakes (Can-II) in May and the Seagram Cup (Can-III) Aug. 3, both at Woodbine. The chestnut horse was coming off a tough runner-up finish to James Street in the Durham Cup (Can-III) Oct. 6.
James Street, who was seeking a repeat victory in this year's Autumn, finished fifth as the 5-2 favorite in the field of nine older runners.
Alpha Bettor, sent off as the 4-1 third choice, was timed in a good 1:43.79 for the 1 1/16-mile distance.
"He's an amazing horse and has a ton of talent. The crew has done a great job with him," said Stein.
Occasional View, shipped in from Keeneland by trainer Ken McPeek after being claimed for $100,000 Oct. 24, grabbed the lead out of the gate from Pender Harbour on his outside and led the field through easy fractions of :24.97, :48.93, and 1:12.13. Awesome Overture, Ultimate Destiny, and Alpha Bettor were all stalking the leaders from a couple of lengths back down the backside.
With Omar Moreno piloting, Occasional View began to edge away from Pender Harbour as the field made its way through the turn and the former Augustin Stable homebred took command in the stretch to open a four-length advantage. But Alpha Bettor, asked for more in the drive by Stein, gathered momentum to run down the leader with determination.
Occasional View finished 2 3/4 lengths in front of third-place Pender Harbour, ridden by Gary Boulanger, with Ultimate Destiny fourth. Then came James Street, who was never a threat, Awesome Overture, Peyton, Bowman's Causeway, and Perfect Afleet.
Fourth in last year's Autumn after forcing the pace, Alpha Bettor improved his career mark to 8-5-2 in 26 starts with earnings of $660,914.
Although Alpha Bettor finished second last time in the Durham Cup, it was a deceptively strong effort after he battled with the favored Delegation on the lead only to lose the race in the final yards. Stein said allowing Alpha Bettor to relax in the early running of the Autumn made all the difference in the stretch run.
"He likes to have a bit of competition," said Stein. "The two races he won earlier this year, there was a late run to be made and he had a target. That's what he likes to do. In the (Durham Cup) he made the lead before the quarter pole and it threw him off his game. He relishes the competition and he really dug in to run (Occasional View) down."
The winner carried top weight of 123 pounds and paid $10.10, $5.50, and $3.90. Occasional View, who competed at Woodbine regularly in 2011 when trained by Carolyn Costigan, returned $6.70 and $6.40 while completing a $106.60 exacta. Pender Harbour paid $6.10.
Mezzano was a stewards' scratch.