Trainer Lisa Zabielski enjoyed a strong start to the Bunny Lake Pacing Series at Saratoga Casino Hotel on a Monday matinee in which she scored a training double. The card was highlighted by the first leg of the annual Bunny Lake Pace, a series for fillies and mares that started in 2021. The third installment of it got underway with three divisions on Monday. Zabielski’s Bri Express N (A Rocknroll Dance) had little difficultly recording her third consecutive victory going coast-to-coast with leading driver Jimmy Devaux in the bike. Bri Express N, her race’s 1-5 betting favorite in her $12,500 division of the Bunny Lake Pace, made it look easy stopping the timer in 1:55.1.
Zabielski’s Dancethebigdance N came into leg one of the series as perhaps the one to beat. The New Zealand invader is in the midst of a strong season at Saratoga and headed into the kickoff of the Bunny Lake Pace off a career-best 1:53.2 score. On Monday as the odds-on favorite in her division, Dancethebigdance N had to settle for second as longshot Monkeysea Monkeydo tracked her down in the stretch to win a photo in 1:55.2. Larry Stalbaum owns, trains and drives Monkeysea Monkeydo who was a beaten favorite in her first two local tries heading into Monday when she parlayed her pocket ride to the upset score while dismissed at odds of 30-1. Zabielski’s training double was completed later in the day when claiming pacer Meadowbrook Jenny went wire-to-wire with Devaux in the sulky, scoring in 1:54.4 to record her ninth win of the ’23 campaign.
The final division of leg one of the Bunny Lake Pace went the way of HP Mary Sunshine (Sunshine Beach), who was the fastest winner of the three divisions of the series, as she closed up the passing lane to stop the timer in 1:54.4. Brett Beckwith catch-drove HP Mary Sunshine for trainer Francis Raia II and sat the rail with the four year old who prevailed in a lifetime best 1:54.1 in the start leading up to Monday’s series debut. HP Mary Sunshine paid $11.60 in the mild leg one upset.
Live racing resumes on Saturday evening with a first post time of 5pm.
Photo: Jessica Hallett
Saratoga Casino Hotel | Saratoga Springs, New York