Aberforth (Andover Hall) swooped the group to win the fourth annual Jim Derue Memorial Trotting Series Final on Sunday afternoon at Saratoga Casino Hotel. The Francis Mahoney-trained four year old was the 9-5 top choice in the wagering in the $32,200 Final and his backers couldn’t have been encouraged when the young trotter spotted the field about ten lengths in the early going as he gapped throughout a first half that went in 58.2. Driver Shawn Gray asked Aberforth for his best down the backstretch and the razor sharp highstepper responded surging up alongside leader Iwantmytwodollars (Jim Devaux) before bypassing that one en route to victory in 1:59 on a chilly, windy afternoon in Saratoga. Longshot Strong Crazed (Stephane Bouchard) finished second while Mugshots Bro (Mark Beckwith) came on for third. The exacta and triple paid $108 and $601, respectively. Aberforth, who is owned by Ali Kilpatrick of North Bennington, VT adds his name to the list of previous Derue Memorial winners which includes Jelectric, The Lindy Treaty and Showmeyourguns. Grand Vision set a lifetime mark to win the $15,000 Jim Derue Memorial Consolation in 1:59.1 with Frank Coppola Jr in the sulky.
Live racing resumes at Saratoga on Thursday afternoon with a first post time set for 4:00pm.
Photo: Melissa Simser-Iovino