There were eight Excelsior A Finals contested on Saturday night at Saratoga Casino Hotel. The culmination of the summer-long Excelsior series saw eight divisions which each went for a purse of $55,000 on a beautiful late summer evening in the Spa City. Two and three year old trotters who competed starting in late spring and through the summer saw their stakes campaigns culminate on Saturday night. It was “Miller Night” at Saratoga as reinsmen Andy and Marcus Miller prevailed in three of the eight Finals. Marcus Miller piloted Century Ferrari (American Ideal) to victory in the three year old colt and gelding pace in a sizzling 1:52.4 for his father trainer Erv Miller. Century Ferrari got the jump on his race’s favorite Rickybobbynthehaus (Tyler Buter) and held that one off in the stretch before securing his fourth win of the season. Marcus Miller also sat behind the Anette Lorenzon-trained Alleyesonme As (Heston Blue Chip) in the two year old filly pace as she went coast-to-coast in 1:54.2. Andy Miller recorded a win on Saturday night as his Book Seven (Chapter Seven) went wire-to-wire in the two year old colt and gelding trot Final, stopping the timer in 1:59.4. Julie Miller trains the freshman trotter who moved his seasonal record to five for nine with the victory. Scott Zeron was the other out-of-towner to pilot a winner in a $55,000 Final as he guided the Blake Macintosh-trained Fool Me Again (Roll With Joe) to a 1:53.4 score in the three year old filly pace.
Four local drivers logged victories among the eight Finals on Saturday night as well. Jimmy Devaux got the evening started for the Spa regulars by guiding Ideal Perception (American Ideal) to a front-running score in 1:54.2 in the two year old colt and gelding pace. Tony Alagna trains the freshman pacer whose victory was his third of the season. John Stark Jr. trains and drives C And T’s Credit (Credit Winner) who cruised to a first-over win in the two year old filly trot, stopping the timer in 2:00 for an open-length score. Mark Beckwith and Frank Coppola Jr. each catch-drove a Finals winner on Saturday as Beckwith guided Certify (Credit Winner) to a career-best victory in 1:55, paying immediate dividends for his new connections as the three year old gelding went coast-to-coast in his first start out of the Lance Hudson stable. Coppola’s win came while sitting behind George Ducharme’s Hanna Dreamgirl (Chapter Seven) in the three year old filly trot. Hanna Dreamgirl sprung the biggest upset of the night, swooping the group in 1:58.3 and doing so at odds of 19-1 with Coppola at the controls.
Live racing continues on Sunday afternoon at Saratoga with a matinee beginning at 12 Noon.
Photo: Melissa Simser-Iovino