Chris Long & Optical Illusion N

Trainer Lisa Zabielski and driver Chris Long teamed up for a pair of winners on the Saturday card at Saratoga Casino Hotel. Zabielski and Long won their first Open of the year when Optical Illusion N (He’s Watching) prevailed in the $16,000 feature. Long retook the lead heading to the opening quarter with the race’s 4-5 betting favorite and set a fast tempo with the Zabielski trainee who rattled off fractions of 27 and 56 seconds in lap one. Optical Illusion N was tasked with fending off a strong first-over bid from Belmont Major N (Jimmy Devaux), a task in which he succeeded holding off that rival to prevail in 1:52.1. Belmont Major N went a long way overland to finish second while Rocknroll Runa A (Matt Athearn) earned the show spot. A nominee for Pacer of the Year in 2022 at the Spa, Optical Illusion N’s victory was his first in the Open this season. He led an exacta and triple that paid $39.80 and $215, respectively. The seven year old New Zealand invader, who won twelve times in ’22, is owned by Kim Zabielski and his trainer Lisa Zabielski. Long and Zabielski teamed up later in the card for a victory with Mount Royal who scored in leg one of the Step Up To The Plate claiming series for pacers. Long piloted three winners on the Saturday card in total.

Live racing continues on Sunday afternoon with a matinee that begins at noon.

Mike Sardella

Photo: Jessica Hallett

Saratoga Casino Hotel | Saratoga Springs, New York


Win photos can be purchased race nights at the photographer's booth in the lower clubhouse, or by calling 518-681-9351.

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