With no Open on the Monday card at Saratoga Casino Hotel, an $11,500 race for fillies and mares served as the feature. The eight-horse field featured a few distaffers who have competed in Opens recently. American Tour N (American Ideal) won the Fillies and Mares Open on October 16th before moving back to the claiming ranks soon thereafter.
The Brett Derue-trained mare went coast-to-coast last week (Nov 27) with Jim Mckneight Jr. in the sulky and on Monday was her race’s 8-5 betting favorite as she looked to repeat. Mckneight changed tactics with American Tour N taking her back in the early going as Open dropper HS Shauna (Phil Fluet) cut the mile.
HS Shauna and American Tour N squared off following a first half that went in just 59 seconds and the two top-flight claiming mares went toe-to-toe before American Tour N wrestled the lead away and began to impose her will late in the game. The Derue trainee powered away from her rivals to score in 1:56.1 to record her twelfth win of the season.
HS Shauna continued her big campaign finishing second for the tenth time in 2023 to go with ten victories of her own. So Diva (Chris Long) earned the show spot on Monday. American Tour N paid $5.20 to win and led an exacta and triple that came back $15.40 and $163, respectively.
The nine year old mare is owned in partnership by Steve Picarazzi of Saratoga Springs and her trainer Brett Derue of Queensbury, NY. Derue and Picarazzi scored a double on the card when their DW’s Darlene repeated in an $8,000 event for fillies and mares.
The three year old filly was guided to victory by leading driver Jimmy Devaux who piloted five winners on the twelve race card.
Live racing continues on Tuesday afternoon with a matinee that begins at noon.