Angel Nation (Archangel) was tasked with besting a pair of trotters who have been on a tear of late. The Melissa Beckwith-trained Angel Nation started from post four in Friday’s Open Trot at Saratoga Casino Hotel and was squaring off against Reign Of Honor (Shawn Gray), who has won six of his previous eight starts, and Joxter (Dan Daley) who had hit the board in all ten starts to begin his season, usually while competing in the Open either locally or at Vernon Downs.
Angel Nation got the jump on his major dangers when he left and cut the mile in the Friday feature although Joxter, the race’s favorite at odds of 3-2, marched up on the outside to race parked out from just after the start. The Beckwith trainee went through a first half in an honest 56.2 with Joxter to his flank. All the while, the longest shot on the board Oh So Pine (Larry Stalbaum) sat the pocket behind Angel Nation and became a factor late in the mile.
Reign Of Honor got away last and although he shook free around the final turn, his move proved to be too little too late. Angel Nation drew clear in the stretch and opened up by a couple lengths but made a break under the shadow of the wire. The five year old survived an inquiry and stood as the Open’s winner paying $8.20 in a mild upset. Joxter toughed it out to finish second while Oh So Pine earned the show spot. Reign Of Honor had to settle for fourth.
The exacta and triple in the feature returned $25.80 and $168, respectively. Angel Nation is owned by Bill Hartt of Carmel, ME in partnership with trainer Melissa Beckwith. Brett Beckwith piloted the winner in the $16,000 Open for trotters.
Photo: Cheyanne Mandy