Driver Jay Randall is having another terrific year at Saratoga Casino Hotel. The veteran reinsman sits third in the local driver standings at the conclusion of this week’s action. Heading into Sunday’s card, Randall had a difficult choice to make. He was listed as the driver for both Ulster (Glidemaster) and Bobs Hope (Donato Hanover) in the afternoon’s $15,000 Open Trot. Ulster, who is the defending Trotter of the Year at the Spa and was piloted by Randall is all eight of his Open wins last season, was making his 2019 debut. Bobs Hope has been the dominant force in this year’s installments of the Sunday feature at Saratoga. Randall drove him to all four of his Open wins heading into Sunday’s try. Randall opted for Ulster, who one would think he would now stick with moving forward.
Jimmy Devaux subsequently picked up the catch-drive behind the Amanda Kelley-trained Bobs Hope, who was the public’s 3-5 betting favorite on Sunday despite being assigned the outside post. Ulster made it to the front end and was untested through three quarters in a reasonable 1:26.2. Bobs Hope, who left to get away third, revved up the engine and powered up to challenge Ulster around the final turn. Those two squared off in the stretch before Bobs Hope got the better of Ulster, who had to settle for second in his return. Bobs Hope stopped the timer in 1:55.3 to record his fifth Open win in seven tries at Saratoga in the ’19 campaign. Ulster was a strong second in his seasonal debut while Freddie Mac (Bruce Aldrich Jr) earned the show spot. For Devaux, the win was one of four on the day for the red-hot reinsman who also piloted four winners on the Saturday card. As for Randall, the regular driver for the Trotter of the Year at the Spa in three of the last six seasons, he stuck with Ulster who gave every indication in his return that ’19 may be another terrific campaign for the veteran trotter.
Live racing resumes on Wednesday afternoon at Saratoga with a 12:00 Noon first post. There will be a Pick Five carryover of $2,644 on Wednesday with the Pick Five starting in the matinee’s first race.
Photo: Melissa Simser-Iovino