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Chester, PA – The Betterthancheddar sophomore gelding Bet On Blake was hard-used early, but still had enough to catch favored As Always late while winning the pacing division of the $14,400 twin features at Harrah’s Philadelphia on Wednesday (Dec. 29) afternoon.

Bet On Blake, leaving from post seven over “good” going for driver George Napolitano Jr., was three-wide to the three-sixteenths then two-wide until getting the top from Big Bang Bang at the :27 quarter. Favored As Always launched a midrace move which carried him to command just past the :55.3 half, then went on to the three-quarters in 1:23.1.

It came down to the pocket-sitter and the pace-setter in the stretch, and Bet On Blake proved to be better than his rival by a neck while taking a new mark of 1:52.1. The three-year-old, claimed out of a $30,000 base-tag race two starts ago by Albert Sterling and Latz A Luck Stable, has already returned $9600 while under the care of Team Laterza, locally headed by Dennis A. Laterza.

In the featured event on the trot, the Andover Hall gelding Choco’s Choice also parlayed a pocket journey into a lifetime fastest clocking, tallying in 1:56.2 for driver Marcus Miller. Preacher Man took the field through fractions of :28.3, :58, and 1:27.1, but had no late response as Choco’s Choice moved outside for the stretch and won by 2½ lengths over Keeper Of Secrets.

The four-year-old did not get to the races at two or three, but he is making up for lost times now, as this was his seventh win in sixteen starts for trainer James Groff and owner Bernard O’Brien.

Simon Allard won four of the last five races to be the most successful driver of the afternoon with his quadruple.

The next-to-last card of 2021 is set for Thursday at 12:25 p.m. at Harrah’s Philadelphia, with a $16,200 fast-class trot matching up the likes of Dayson and Baldaquin. Friday’s New Year’s Eve post time is at 2:30 p.m., paralleling the college football Championship semifinals. Program pages for these cards are (for Thursday) or will be (for Friday) available at