Sardella’s Column

Let’s Go Higher Still on Top at the Spa

 

It is very rare for any horse, whether pacer or trotter, to compete at the highest level for several consecutive years at Saratoga Casino and Raceway. To thrive while racing against the cream of the crop in the Open is very difficult and to maintain the level of excellence that it takes to compete at the pinnacle of the sport at Spa is even rarer. The accomplishments of pacing mare Let’s Go Higher are so impressive that we may have never seen a distaff pacer exhibit the consistency and accrue the earnings that she has in her three seasons competing at the Spa. 

               In her three year old campaign in 2011, Let’s Go Higher had a strong season recording six wins and four seconds in 22 starts en route to over $67,000 in earnings. After being only lightly raced in 2012, the mare started out her 2013 season in Chicago under the care of her owner Jesse Delong. Following three starts in the Midwest, Let’s Go Higher came east to the Rohr barn and continued to travel. Early on in her ’13 campaign, Let’s Go Higher competed at various tracks and started to get better and better. Propelled up into Open company midway through that season, the-then five year old pacer simply became a star. While Saratoga was the most common place for her to compete, Let’s Go Higher brought her talents to a host of tracks in ’13 and had success everywhere she went. There was a two month span that summer in which the mare raced at five different tracks, winning at four of them and finishing second at the other. While her lifetime mark was set at Vernon Downs that summer, a 1:50.3 mark that still stands today, Let’s Go Higher started to become a regular in the local Filly and Mare Open in the later stages of her breakout campaign and wound up being named the Filly and Mare Pacer of the Year at Saratoga for her efforts. Let’s Go Higher piled up earnings just shy of $200,000 behind fourteen victories in her sensational ’13 campaign.     
             In 2014, the Heidi Rohr stable’s star continued to travel, facing off against the top distaff pacers at a host of different tracks. While her location varied, her results seemed the same. As consistent as could be, Let’s Go Higher proved that her ’13 season was no fluke as she followed it up with a year in which she amassed over $200,000 in earnings. Best defined as a hard-hitting mare, Let’s Go Higher not only won at a various tracks but did it with a variety of trips. She certainly is no one-trick pony as she has secured several wins on the front end while consistently proving she could succeed while coming from off the pace as well. The well-traveled mare piled up thirteen wins in her six year old season to go with four seconds and seven thirds in 35 starts. In 15 local starts last year, Let’s Go Higher scored seven wins and hit the board a total of eleven times. She finished second in the voting for Filly and Mare Pacer of the Year in 2014 while seeking to become the first mare in nearly a decade to win the award in back-to-back seasons.
             While oftentimes horses don’t stay in their prime for more than a couple of years, Let’s Go Higher is proving she is not your ordinary pacer as she is putting together yet another terrific campaign. After a hard fought ’14 season, Let’s Go Higher didn’t make her debut as a seven year old until April 10th. She wasn’t much of a factor in her first start while competing at Yonkers Raceway but it didn’t take long for her to begin to round back into form. Let’s Go Higher was a strong third in her return to Saratoga while competing in the $18,000 Open for distaffers but it wasn’t until early May in a start in the Vernon Downs Open that she rediscovered her winning ways. Ever since that impressive 1:50.4 score over the Miracle Mile in Central New York, Let’s Go Higher has been a force no matter where she’s competed. She followed up a third in the local Open with another victory at Vernon in late May before setting her sights back on the Spa. Still on top of her game at age seven, Let’s Go Higher finished second in the mile 1/16 Open behind last year’s Filly and Mare Pacer of the Year Road Bet. The final time of 1:58.3 was just a few fifths of a second off of the world record for a pacing mare in a mile 1/16 race. On June 5th, Let’s Go Higher would not be denied and recorded her first local Open win of the year going wire-to-wire in 1:53.3 with regular driver Billy Dobson in the bike. With no Open the following week at the Spa, Let’s Go Higher hopped in the trailer once again and headed down to Yonkers where she had to settle for second despite pacing 1:51.4!
             On Friday night, it was back to the Spa for another try in the $18,000 1 1/16 mile Open. The race’s 3-2 favorite in the betting, Let’s Go Higher had to endure a tough first over journey before wearing down Road Bet to prevail in a fast 1:59.1 in what will be the final 1 1/16 mile race for the Open mares. In her eleven starts in 2015, Let’s Go Higher has now recorded four wins to go with three seconds and two thirds. Her consistency has never been more apparent than in the early stages of her ’15 campaign as the mare has hit the board in nine out of eleven tries en route to just shy of $50,000 in earnings. And she’s just warming up! Let’s Go Higher, who has piled up over $550,000 in career earnings, appears to be fresh and ready for a summer run through the Open that will certainly make her a candidate, if not a favorite, for Filly and Mare Pacer of the Year at Saratoga once again. While there are a few other top flight mares that will no doubt mix it up with them, it should make for an interesting battle between ’13 award winner Let’s Go Higher and the defending champ Road Bet as we move forward through the summer season. While she continues to move between Saratoga, Yonkers and Vernon Downs, there is no question that the Spa is home for Let’s Go Higher who now is in her third season of competing locally against top flight mares and is still on top.
             Live racing takes place every Thursday starting at 4:00pm and on Fridays and Saturdays beginning at 6:45pm. Sunday matinees kick off each week at 12:45pm. Until next week, I’m Mike Sardella wishing you the best of luck and we’ll see YOU at the finish line!    


            





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