The ladies take center stage at Saratoga Casino Hotel every Wednesday afternoon and while there was no Open for fillies and mares contested this week, the matinee’s featured race did wind up with a stretch duel between two distaffers who between them have almost a million dollars in career earnings. Invader Certified Ideal (Western Ideal) came to town for trainer Sheena Mcelhiney and drew post seven in the $7,200 featured race for pacing mares. Though the eleven year old has piled up over $700,000 in earnings over the course of her illustrious career, Certified Ideal hasn’t had a big winning way about her in the last couple of years. Reinsman Shawn Gray sat behind the veteran who ten days ago won for the first time since 2019 when she went coast-to-coast at Pocono Downs. In that start, the classy mare displayed early speed and powered away from her rivals while on the engine. Gray attempted a similar plan on Wednesday with Certified Ideal who was pointed right out to the early lead in her return to Saratoga. The veteran laid down fast fractions, reaching the half in 56 seconds before checking-in at three quarters in 1:25.2. Certified Ideal finished the job, stopping the timer in 1:55.3 to record her second victory of the season. The race’s favorite Glenferrie Blade A (Mark Beckwith) got the pocket trip behind the winner and stuck with her for most of the mile before turning for home where Certified Ideal busted it wide open. Glenferrie Blade A wound up as the runner-up while Misty Memory N (Jimmy Devaux) earned the show spot for the fourth consecutive week in her four local tries. Certified Ideal was dismissed at odds of 12-1 paying $26.80 to win and leading an exacta and triple that returned $78.50 and $214.50, respectively.
Live racing resumes on Monday afternoon (March 29) at Saratoga with first post set for Noon.
Photo: Melissa Simser-Iovino