The plan was to have a non-stakes race under his belt prior to the Molson, but instead the strapping five-year-old will come into the race fresh off a dominant nine-length qualifying win at Mohawk Racetrack in 1:52.2.Despite the lack of a prep race, co-owner Steve Calhoun is confident that the pacer will be ready to go on Friday night.
“He’ll be ready,” says the resident of nearby Chatham, Ontario. “Casie (trainer Casie Coleman) always does a tremendous job of bringing her horses ready and I expect nothing less with ‘Cheddar’. We would love to have gotten a race into him before this but that’s the way it worked out.”Betterthancheddar established himself as one of the very best older pacers in the game last season at age four. He won nine of 11 starts while banking $800,000 and posted major victories in the $500,000 Ben Franklin at Harrahs Philadelphia and the $216,500 Robert Quillen Memorial at Harrington Raceway in Delaware.
He was put on the shelf following that scintillating 1:49.2 victory after it was discovered he had a minor, soft tissue injury. Calhoun says that the pacer relished the time off and expects he could be even better this year.“He has matured into a very impressive individual,” he explains. “He has gained probably 200 to 250 pounds and is more muscular than he was last season. Casie knew he was special from day one and he should just be a bit tougher and stronger this year which will help him in what looks like a very deep division.”
The Molson Pace is an example of that depth, featuring the two-time defending champion and richest pacer of all-time Foiled Again ($4.835 million) along with a supporting cast that includes exciting four-year-old prospects State Treasurer and A Rocknroll Dance. Combined, the eight entrants in the Molson Pace have banked more than $11 million lifetime.Calhoun expects to have several family members and friends from the area on hand to cheer on Betterthancheddar this Friday night and is excited to be competing on his home turf.
“I’ve been coming here since I was a kid and Casie and I have been fortunate enough to compete in this race before with some success,” he admits. “It would be a big thrill to win it and I’m just looking forward to the challenge of competing against such a great field.”
First post for the 12-race program this Friday at The Raceway is 7:05 p.m.
Molson Pace – What You Need To Know:
· Post time – 7:05 p.m.
$5K Guaranteed Pool Early Pick-4
$10K Guaranteed Pool Late Pick-4
$7,500 Guaranteed Pool Super Hi-5
· Mystery Voucher giveaway with program purchase
· Molson ‘After Party’ featuring Rockstar Live
· FREE programs and streaming video at www.westernfairdistrict.com