Alluneedisfaith N (Art Major) recorded his first local Open victory at Saratoga Casino Hotel on Saturday in what was a huge night for driver Shawn Gray. He was a beaten favorite in his two Spa starts coming into Saturday’s try when he drew post six in the six-horse Open Pace. The 5-2 second-choice in the wagering, Alluneedisfaith N got away last in the $16,000 feature and with fractions nothing close to blistering up front, the chances appeared bleak for the Alicia Gray trainee after the first half went in 56.4.
The favorite was carving out the fractions while confronted by a first-over Optical Illusion N (Billy Dobson). Those two slugged it out as Alluneedisfaith N remained sixth and last at the three-quarter pole. Gray fanned the New Zealand import to the far outside around the final turn and the eight year old made the kind of move rarely seen when racing against top flight competition. The classy veteran powered past his rivals to score in 1:52.3 to register his first win in a local Open highlighted by a final quarter of 27.1.
Alluneedisfaith N paid $7.30 to win and led an exacta with Keystone Dakota (Brett Beckwith) second that returned $35.40. Optical Illusion N finished third and rounded out a $156 triple. Gray’s win behind Alluneedisfaith N, who is owned by Doug Overhiser of Illinois, was one of four consecutive victories and five on the night in total for the veteran reinsman who sits fourth in the driver standings for the season.
Live racing continues on Sunday afternoon at Saratoga with first post time set for Noon.
Photo: Melissa Simser