Alpha Bettor wins the Eclipse Stakes.

Alpha Bettor wins the Eclipse Stakes.

Michael Burns

Alpha Bettor Guts Out Eclipse Stakes Victory

In first start of year, Dan Vella's son of Alphabet Soup edges 2-5 pick Delegation.

Alpha Bettor, making his first start of the year, upset 2-5 pick Delegation with a late surge along the inside for Justin Stein in a fast renewal of the $197,961 Eclipse Stakes (Can-II) May 12 on the Polytrack at Woodbine.

In the lone Mother's Day graded stakes in North America, Bulldog Racing's 5-year-old son of Alphabet Soup reached the wire a neck in front of Delegation, with James Street another head back in a terrific finish. Alpha Bettor produced a 13-1 upset in a five-horse field for trainer Dan Vella while completing the 1 1/16-mile journey in a swift 1:42.69, slightly off Woodbine's Polytrack mark of 1:42.22.

Alpha Bettor was making his first start since a fourth-place effort in the Autumn Stakes (Can-II) Nov. 10 at Woodbine, where he has made all 21 of his career starts (including two on turf). He has six wins and four seconds.

Bred in Kentucky by Adena Springs, Alpha Bettor is out of the Relaunch mare Scatter Buy.

Vella is hopeful Alpha Bettor will continue to improve with age. "He's bred to be an older horse and he's getting better all the time," he said.

Alpha Bettor had a perfect trip stalking along the inside for Stein as Don Cavallo, returning to blinkers for trainer Reade Baker, hustled away from Delegation early to lead the heavy favorite by one to two lengths through fractions of :24.21, :47.40, and 1:10.72.

Delegation, poised to challenge under Gary Boulanger, rallied three-wide at the head of the stretch. But after getting a narrow advantage, he could not contain the charging Alpha Bettor, who exploited an opening at the rail when Don Cavallo drifted out.

James Street, closing well on the far outside, was also in the mix right until the end. The top three finishers were virtually even with a furlong to run.

Alpha Bettor won the Seagram Cup (Can-III) for his first stakes triumph at 23-1 odds last August. Under 120 pounds, the chestnut horse paid $29.60 and $5.80 while boosting his earnings to $442,240.

Delegation, heavily favored after defeating James Street handily in an allowance race April 21, paid $2.10. The exacta was worth $50.10. There was no show wagering.

James Street, the 122-pound highweight, was followed by Perfect Afleet and Don Cavallo.