Breaking from the far outside, longshot Better Bet
was hustled into the first turn and assumed command going to the quarter pole under Martin Pedroza en route to a half length victory in Friday’s $200,000 Golden State Juvenile, as the 2-year-old colt by Southern Image negotiated one mile 1:37.53.
Off at 47-1 in the nine-horse Juvenile, Better Bet was well beaten in the Grade I FrontRunner Stakes at Santa Anita Sept. 28, and was ridden by Pedroza for the first time in the Juvenile.
“I watched the tape of his last race when (Alberto) Delgado rode him and I could see he got forced out really wide on the first turn,” said Pedroza. “He was out toward the middle of the racetrack and you could see that he didn’t run that bad. Today, I wanted to get him into the race and we were able to save ground pretty good into the first turn. When I asked him, he gave me everything he had.”
Trained, owned and bred-in part by Mike Harrington and his wife, Patricia, Better Bet layed a close second to 65-1 shot Tribal Mystic early, assumed command going to the three furlong pole and held off the late charge of Electric Eddie and Mario Gutierrez to hold sway.
Better Bet paid $96.00, $37.40 and $13.40. With the winner’s share of $110,000, he increased his earnings to $190,130. His overall record is now 9-2-1-1.
“I knew Martin fits this horse to a tee,” said Mike Harrington. “He needed a Pedroza. I’m not sure it was that important to get in front today because the horse is tactical…his last race, he had no shot. It just set up good for him today. He’s a better horse than the way he’s been running.”
Winless from three starts, Electric Eddie was off at 34-1 and was getting to the winner at the wire. Owned by Reddam Racing, LLC, and trained by Ben Cecil, he paid $25.20 and $10.80.
Tamarando, third in the FrontRunner Stakes in his most recent start and a winner of the Grade I Del Mar Futurity Sept. 4, was the solid 7-5 choice with Julien Leparoux but was shuffled far back early and missed second money by one length. He paid $2.40 to show. Stablemate Life Is a Joy was never a factor under Joel Rosario and finished fifth as the 5-2 second choice.
California Chrome, the third choice at 3-1, broke slowly from the rail and finished sixth under Alberto Delgado.