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Post Time Special: All Bets Off
Wednesday, October 25, 2017 - by Jessica Otten, for Post Time with Mike and Mike

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Elkton, MD --- With a mark of 1:48.2 set at Rosecroft Raceway at the age of 5, 27 wins from 100 starts and 63 in-the-money finishes and $2,836,082 in lifetime earnings, it's safe to say that All Bets Off oozes class as a racehorse.

Not many horses have accomplished what he has and fly under the radar as he seems to. The connections of All Bets Off had one thing in common to say about him: “He is a true and honest race horse.”

The numbers that the 6-year-old son of Bettor's Delight from the Dexter Nukes mare Armbro Penelope has put up the past couple of years support their assessment.

All Bets Off will be racing in the $421,000 Breeders Crown Open Pace final this Saturday (Oct. 28) at Hoosier Park. He will start from post position nine and is 8-1 on the morning line.

 
USTA/Mark Hall photo
All Bets Off is closing in on $3 million in lifetime earnings.

In 2013, All Bets Off campaigned on the New York Sire Stakes circuit, after making his racing debut at Georgian Downs for trainer Mike Sinclair. His first race left a lot to be desired, so they shipped him to Buffalo Raceway for the first leg of the NYSS. In that effort he still seemed to take some time to get going and wasn't close to the superstar that we see today.

All Bets Off's first victory came at Tioga Downs on July 21, 2013 against non-winners of one company. That start appeared to really build his confidence as he started racing very well against NYSS company and after a couple of second-place finishes was purchased by the Ron Burke connections.

As most of you know, trainer Ron Burke runs a huge operation and one of the first things we picked up on while talking with him is he is very passionate about not only All Bets Off, but all of his horses. We kicked off the interview with a little throwback, because I was curious to see what Burke had thought of All Bets Off as a younger horse.

“When we bought him he was a little bit on the small side, we thought maybe we had overpaid for him at first," Burke said. "Then after we raced him we knew it was a pretty good idea that we bought him.”

The Art Rooney Pace was the first serious start of his sophomore campaign in 2014 and he was facing some of the top 3-year-old pacers in the country. The colt handled both the elimination and the final with absolute ease. All Bets Off wired the field in winning his elimination in 1:52.3, then came back with a 1-1/2 length, 1:52.2 win in the final.

The 2014 campaign was a very big year for All Bets Off as he went on to win the inaugural edition of the Carl Milstein Memorial at Northfield Park, the NYSS final at Yonkers Raceway, and the Messenger at Yonkers Raceway. Following those efforts, he tapered off a little bit and was shut down for the year.

All Bets Off has had his fair share of starts in Grand Circuit stakes during his career. Part-owner Frank Baldachino couldn't be happier with his success and consistency. “Bets has won major Grand Circuit races at 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 years old," he beamed.

When talking with Burke, I asked him if any one start stuck out to him.

“The Messenger sticks out to me, that was really big. It was also Matt's first big win,” Burke said, referring to All Bets Off's 1:51.1 open-length score in the $500,000 event. “It was also really neat to watch him win the Potomac (as a 5-year-old). They went in (1:)48(.2) and he went a great mile, it was fun to watch. He is just a great horse, he never disappoints you and always tries his heart out.”

Ironically, driver Matt Kakaley had a similar response.

"My biggest thrill with All Bets Off after racing him all over the United States and Canada would have to be the Messenger at Yonkers Raceway,” Kakaley said.

There is no doubt that All Bets Off is a special horse to all of the connections, but I think this is especially true for driver Matt Kakaley. Part owner Mark Weaver agreed.

“It has been extra special to see Matt mature right along with him," he noted. "They've both developed into one of the best in the game.”

Burke added: "It really was Matt's first horse, keeping it, and going along with him. Before they were all of Yannick's (Gingras) horses and Matt started to pick up what he did not drive. But Matt has been there pretty much all the way with him.”

Weaver explains how important All Bets Off’s accomplishments have been to the operation.

"Bets has been great for us for quite a while," he remarks. "He has allowed us to stay competitive in the aged ranks following in the footsteps of Foiled Again and Sweet Lou.”

Burke added, “For us anymore, million dollar winners aren't as special as they used to be, then when the horses get up to two million it gets a little more special. But when you get over three million dollars you're really getting into a select group, like in our barn it’s Foiled Again, Sweet Lou, and Won The West and maybe Hannelore Hanover is going to get there. It takes a very special horse that races for a few years to get there and that is obviously very special to us.”

They say “It all comes down to the Breeders Crown” and Post Time was able to get reactions from both Kakaley and Burke after All Bets Off's fifth place finish in his Crown elimination. Kakaley said that things didn't go his way.

“The trip really didn't work out for us," he stated. "And now we are stuck with the nine hole (for the final) which definitely isn't good. Hopefully some things go our way and we have a little luck on our side.”

During elimination night the horses that won were either on the lead or close to it, All Bets off was first up with no cover.

“The race wasn't in his favor, we were just figuring out he needed to be forwardly placed with the way the races were working out and he wasn't," Burke said. "We scoped him and he maybe wasn't as good as we liked, so that gives us another week to work on him.”

Burke said that post position draw may require a strategy adjustment.

“The nine hole is tough, so we may have to change tactics, the one thing he can do that most people don't know is he can leave," he said. "But when we do we just have to keep rocking. The race will have to come to him. He's very consistent and very versatile, I am sure Matt would have liked to start from somewhere else, but you have to start from what you get and go from there.”

It may not be easy, but if All Bets Off wins the Breeders Crown, he will eclipse the $3 million mark in earnings.

The Breeders Crown is the best of the best and All Bets Off has already proven over a very consistent and sometimes spectacular career that he belongs in that conversation. He isn't one that should be easily dismissed, despite his challenging post.

Post Time with Mike and Mike presented by BetAmerica will be live from the Breeders Crown at Hoosier Park on Friday and Saturday night beginning at 8 p.m. For more information, visit www.posttimewithmikeandmike.com.


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