Following a Canadian season's record 1:49.1 performance amongst the Preferred ranks at Georgian Downs in his four-year-old debut last weekend, Betterthancheddar turned in another sub-1:50 mile on Saturday night while winning the $50,000 Open Pace at Mohawk Racetrack.
Driven by Scott Zeron, Betterthancheddar settled away second behind the Doug McNair-driven Ok Commander and played follow the leader through fractions of :26.4, :55.3 and 1:23.3.
Meanwhile, Georgetown N and J.R. Plante advanced first over from seventh with the season-debuting millionaire Bigtime Ball and Roger Mayotte following their cover.
Georgetown N made it up alongside Betterthancheddar before the final turn, but the heavy 2-5 favourite had room to pull the pocket as they moved into the stretch and scooted away to win by two lengths in 1:49.4 with a :26-second final frame. Ok Commander stayed for second and Bigtime Ball closed well for third.
"We really worked out a great trip," said Zeron, who later travelled to Georgian Downs to score his biggest career win yet in the Upper Canada Cup with another Coleman trainee, Michaels Power. "We sat in the two-hole and I just had to give him his head and let him go a little bit. He’s scary fast and I’m really honoured to be able to drive that horse."
Betterthancheddar paid $2.60 to win. The son of Bettors Delight out of Lady Ashlee Ann won 10 of his 18 sophomore races while banking $777,116 for trainer Casie Coleman and Ontario owners Steve Calhoun of Chatham and the West Wins Stable of Cambridge. He picked up his biggest wins late season in the Cane Pace, Breeders Crown, American National and Windy City Pace to earn him an O'Brien Award nomination.
Also on the card, North America Cup eligible State Treasurer ($2.50) sprinted home in :26.3 to win his conditioning assignment by five lengths in a career-best 1:50.2 with Jody Jamieson in tow. The Real Desire-Ideal Treasure colt is trained by Dr. Ian Moore for owners Sally MacDonald of Souris, P.E.I. and Sophie MacDonald of Regina, Sask. State Treasurer has been assessed at odds of 60-1 in Trot Magazine's 2012 Pepsi North America Cup Spring Book.
Western Canada Pacing Derby champion Silver Eagle ($5.20), driven by Randy Waples, later earned his first victory in Ontario with a dazzling 1:49.4 effort, which shaved three full seconds off his lifetime mark. The four-year-old Brandons Cowbody-Allamerican Viking gelding sat a three-hole trip before charging home in :27.1 to win by two and a quarter lengths. Silver Eagle was claimed for $75,000 in his Ontario debut on April 28 by Holland Racing Stable Inc. of Aurora, Ont. and subsequently joined the Ben Wallace stable. The win was his first in five seasonal starts.