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Betterthancheddar wins tight finish in Crown 3CP

Saturday, October 29, 2011  By: John Siscos

Toronto, ON --- Betterthancheddar, steered remarkably by Mark MacDonald, knifed his way through on the inside in the late stretch to nail favored Roll With Joe on the wire, taking the $500,000 Breeders Crown 3-year-old Colt Pace on Saturday (Oct. 29) at Woodbine Racetrack.

Appearing hopelessly blocked in at mid-stretch, Betterthancheddar and MacDonald somehow found a seam in traffic and furiously paced through on the inside to edge Meadowlands Pace winner Roll With Joe by a nose in 1:49.2, with Alsace Hanover just a half-length back in third in a blanket finish. Up The Credit, the Pepsi North America Cup winner in June, closed for fourth, only a length away from the winner.

Little Brown Jug winner Big Bad John had cut out most of the mile, getting to the half in :53.4, then the three-quarters in 1:21.2. But he was inhaled in early stretch, eventually finishing last.

Trained by Casie Coleman, Betterthancheddar, unraced at two, was winning his eighth of 16 starts this year, including the Cane Pace in September at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs.

MacDonald, who has successfully teamed with Coleman in the past, with horses like Sportswriter, inherited the drive when George Brennan was stranded in New Jersey after bad weather made it impossible for him to make it to Toronto in time for tonight's Crown.

Owned by Steve Calhoun and West Wins Stable, Betterthancheddar, a son of 2000 Breeders Crown winner Bettor's Delight and Lady Ashlee Ann, had won the fastest of two elims last week in 1:49.1, but still went postward the 9-2 third choice.

Betterthancheddar paid $11 to win.

"I figured Roll With Joe and Big Bad John were going to keep coming," said Mark MacDonald. "They were the two I thought I had to beat and then around the last turn it didn’t look like Big Bad John was the one to beat as he was getting a bit tired.

"I’m pretty sure that Casie would be cursing me out if I didn’t find a way to get him out somewhere so I got lucky and got up the rail. I just slipped out there late."

"He didn’t make me look as much of a fool with my foot in my mouth tonight," said Coleman. "I have touted this horse since he was a 2-year-old. He’s just been a freak ever since day one. He had a lot of health issues, but everything is good now. He is on his game and Mark did an awesome job stick handling him and getting him up the outside, although, it didn’t look so good halfway up the lane but he got through.

"He has never had any soreness issues, knock on wood, but I couldn’t get this horse healthy. Now that he's healthy he's wicked, wicked fast and ready to rock and roll."

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