Maywood Park (6/4/11)
Contact: Tom Kelley
WELL TO DO GURU MUCH THE BEST IN BETZOTIC STAKE
Using the inside post to perfection, driver Casey Leonard put Well To Do Guru on the lead from the word go and the ageless gelding responded with one his of his biggest performances in quite some time as he made every call a winning one while knocking off seven other Illinois conceived and foaled pacers in the $40,000 Betzotic Stake on Friday night at Maywood Park in a blistering 1:50.4. The final time was a National Season’s Mark for an aged gelding on a half-mile track.
|Driver Casey Leonard guided Well To Do Guru to a national season's mark of 1:50.4 while winning Friday's $40,000 Betzotic Stake at Maywood Park.|
Charging away from the gate as soon as the wings folded, Well To Do Guru and Leonard were intent on controlling things as they battled a hard-leaving Power Of A Moment (Marcus Miller) through a wicked opening quarter in 26.3.
“Knowing that we had the inside post and that the probable horse to beat was Power Of A Moment and he had the eight-hole, I definitely went into the race intent on being in control of things,” explained Leonard.
Continuing to keep one of the top Illinois-bred stars of the past two seasons at bay as they battled through a half in 54.0, Leonard wasn’t worried that the top two were going to wind up burning themselves out.
“I could tell Power Of A Moment was starting to tire from being outside for that long and that’s certainly understandable,” said Leonard. “I knew we were really rockin going past the half but I figured once we hit the turn I would be able to back into the rest of the field a bit through the third quarter and that gave my horse the little break he needed.”
Cruising by the three-quarter-mile mark in 1:23.0, the gelded son of Richess Hanover began to get away from a leg weary Power Of A Moment but was forced to brace for a big three-wide sweep from Big Daddy Woo Woo (Dean Magee) as the field moved around the final bend.
“I had a `death-grip' on Guru heading past the three-quarter-mile mark and he was doing everything so easily,” he gushed about the Leonard family star. “I just let him go a little bit at that point and he stepped right away from the rest of the field.”
On cruise control the rest of the way, the Terry Leonard-trained seven-year-old was never seriously threatened as he rolled under the wire with his third win in nine starts this season. Big Daddy Woo Woo rallied nicely to finish second while My Boy Luke (Mike Oosting) turned a ground-saving trip into a third place check. Power of a Moment wound up last in the field of eight after being parked the entire mile.
Dispatched as the favorite from that inside post, Well To Do Guru returned $5.00, $3.20, and $2.60 while pushing his career earnings up to $355,149.
Never a horse to see an excessive amount of action in any one season, Leonard gave credit to owner James Gorman for helping to keep Well To Do Guru a healthy and happy horse.
“Jim is just great in working with us to keep the amount of starts he makes to a minimum while still having the chance to make a good deal of money,” said Leonard. “We sit down at the start of the year and map out the races we’re going to shoot for and when we can get him some breaks throughout the season. It’s a strategy that has worked very well for us and has helped Guru from getting worn down while constantly having to face the best pacers in the state.”
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