There were three co-features on Thursday’s card at Saratoga Casino Hotel. The trio of features was for New York sired trotters with each division going for a purse of $11,000 or more. Phil Fluet’s Notmeitsyou (Chapter Seven) was the runner-up in the Final of the recently concluded Jim Derue Memorial Trotting Series and had come up second-best in four consecutive starts heading into Thursday’s try. Fluet trains and drives the three year old who again flashed his recent seconditis as he came on just too late to catch Activist (Credit Winner). Activist was purchased by leading trainer Melissa Beckwith after the two legs of the Derue and before competing in the second consolation of the series. He paid immediate dividends for his new connections when he scored in the $12,500 second consolation. On Thursday, Activist (Mark Beckwith) got the jump on Notmeitsyou and built a big lead, one that proved insurmountable, as he held off the favorite to score in 1:58.2 over a track labeled ‘good.’ The win-time served as a new lifetime mark for Activist who is now two-for-two since joining the Beckwith barn.
The biggest upset among the co-features was pulled off by Catalina Cash (Cash Hall) who went coast-to-coast in a seasonal-best matching 1:59.2 and did so while dismissed at odds of 34-1. Pete Lancaster was the winning driver as he sat behind the Amanda Kelley trainee who was a rare longshot to never face an anxious moment en route to the upset. The win was just the second in 30 starts this season for Catalina Cash.
Michigan Ray continued his hot stretch for trainer Richard Ruffles as he worked hard to secure the Thursday win in his $11,770 division of the co-features. Michigan Ray, who was driven to victory by Jay Randall, stopped the timer in 1:59 after being used pretty hard throughout the mile. The three year old trotter’s victory was his fourth in seven starts since the purchase by Ruffles who has enjoyed a strong season at the Spa in 2018.
Live racing continues on Friday at Saratoga with a 6:45pm first post.
Photo: Melissa Simser-Iovino