Veteran pacer Betterlatethnnever (Western Terror) has been a winning machine over the course of the last several years. The Jimmy Nickerson-trained pacer got his career off to a late start but once he started, he has never stopped. On Saturday night, the ten year old was the longest shot on the board in the evening’s $15,000 Open Pace with reinsman Mitch Cushing in the sulky. After the race’s favorite traveled unopposed on the lead in a first half in 56 seconds, he faltered heading to three quarters and a host of closers swallowed up the favorite around the final turn. Betterlatethnnever closed with a power surge on the far outside and emerged victorious after a scramble in the stretch, stopping the timer in 1:53.1 to record the upset at odds of 9-1. The win was the tenth of the season for the Nickerson trainee and though it was the first in the local Open in 2019 for Betterlatethnnever, it wasn’t his first career victory in a Saratoga Open. Back in the ’17 season at the age of eight, Betterlatethnnever won an Open in a career-best 1:50.1, a mark that still stands as a lifetime mark for the classy pacer. Century Endeavor (Gerry Mattison) finished second in the Saturday feature while Lord Willoughby A (Larry Stalbaum) earned the show spot. Betterlatethnnever paid $21.20 to win and led an exacta and triple in the six-horse feature that returned $110 and $307.50, respectively. The Open win was the first at Saratoga in the young career of driver Mitch Cushing.
Live racing continues on Sunday afternoon at the Spa with a matinee beginning at 12 Noon.
Photo: Melissa Simser-Iovino