In 2017, Babinga Wood (Dragon Again) won the award for Claiming Pacer of the Year at Saratoga Casino Hotel. Trainer Bob Uhl acquired Babinga Wood last season and enjoyed immediate success with him. After he was claimed from him, Uhl re-acquired Babinga Wood whose 2018 campaign didn’t begin until a bit later in the season than most. The six year old has found his form again and after an open-length romp in a conditional race in July, Babinga Wood moved up to winners over competition where last week he prevailed in a career best 1:52. On Saturday night, it was up into the Open Pace for the Uhl trainee who drew the rail but was dismissed at odds of 10-1. Deetzy (Billy Dobson) moved out to the early lead in the $14,500 feature but was hounded from nearly the get-go. Deetzy posted first half fractions of 27 and 54.3 and just kept rolling as he clicked off three quarters in 1:22.2. All the while, longshot Babinga Wood sat patiently before popping the pocket turning for home. Deetzy dug in but Babinga Wood surged past before stopping the timer in 1:51.4, a new lifetime best for the up-and-comer just a week after setting his previous career mark. Deetzy had to settle for second while Rock On Moe (Brian Cross) earned the show spot. Babinga Wood paid $23.00 in his first Open score and led an exacta and triple that came back $94 and $363.50, respectively.
Live racing resumes on Thursday afternoon at Saratoga as Thursday matinees return starting this week with first post time set for 12:15pm.
Photo: Melissa Simser-Iovino