Saturday, February 19, 2022

Bettors Heart N returned from a month layoff last week and was a minor player when third in the weekly featured high-end TrackMaster rating (86.75 or less) fillies and mares pace, behind the duo of Divine Deo and JM Betonsix, whose rivalry had seen them finish in the top two for three consecutive starts.

But Friday night at The Meadowlands, it was Bettors Heart N’s turn to be in the starring role.

In her return to the races a week ago, Bettors Heart N, who went up against classier mares at Dover Downs and Yonkers Raceway last month, tightened up well and was ready to go for trainer Nifty Norman, scoring from off the pace in 1:50.4, just two-fifths-of-a-second off her lifetime-best.

“I kinda looked across and didn’t think there’d be a lot going on early and I just asked her out of there,” said winning driver Todd McCarthy. “We were lucky enough to find a pretty good spot.”

Bettors Heart N was away well from post five in the nine-horse field, and so was 5-2 second choice JM Betonsix, who was in search of her third win in four tries. ‘JMB6’ hit the quarter in :27.4 while Bettors Heart N sat the two hole as even-money favorite So Miki Hanover, fifth in last week’s Sweetheart Pace to Racine Bell, rolled up to the point at the three-eighths before reaching the half in :56.2.

JM Betonsix popped out of the pocket before three-quarters (1:24.1) to go after So Miki Hanover, and McCarthy was on top of things, following that move and swinging Bettors Heart N three-wide for the final three-sixteenths.

So Miki Hanover was determined, but Bettors Heart N was up to the challenge, grinding away at the leader’s edge before hitting the finish a neck to the good. Seventy-to-one longshot Man Dontforget Me was third, JM Betonsix an even fourth, while Divine Deo, who was dismissed at odds of 15-1, finished eighth while never being in the hunt.

“She paced home nicely,” said McCarthy of the winner. “She’s just a classy old mare.”

Bettors Heart N, a 9-year-old daughter of Bettor’s Delight-Valiant Heart N, returned $13.40 to her backers as the 5-1 third choice in the wagering. She now has 18 lifetime victories from 79 starts for owners Enzed Racing Stable, good for earnings of $324,549.

A LITTLE MORE: Leading driver Yannick Gingras kept his streak alive of winning at least twice on every race card in 2022. His 39 wins through the first 11 racing programs of the year are by far tops in the standings. … Ron Burke had a double (both driven by Gingras), lifting his training colony victory-leading total to 22. … There were no winning favorites in the 20-cent Pick-5, and those with winning tickets cashed in for a healthy $5,225.76. … All-source handle totaled $2,926,942, the busiest night of business at The Big M in 2022. … Racing resumes Saturday at 6:20 p.m.

PHOTO: Bettors Heart N and driver Todd McCarthy take the Friday night feature at The Meadowlands. (Credit: Lisa Photo)