Crockets Cullen N (Christian Cullen) put his six-race local win streak on the line as he competed in Saturday night’s Open Pace at Saratoga Casino Hotel. Larry Stalbaum owns and drives the Tracy Tarantino trainee who has thrived at the Spa over the last several months. Crockets Cullen N has shown to be versatile in winning six consecutive tries in the Open Pace heading into Saturday’s tilt in which he started from post seven in a star-studded group which competed for a purse of $18,000. Stalbaum powered Crockets Cullen N out in the early going but was relegated to the pocket spot behind invader Rock Diamonds N (Ron Cushing) who was making his local debut. Rock Diamonds N flew through a first quarter in 26.3 before backing things down in the second quarter to reach the half in 57.1 Hudson Phil (Frank Coppola Jr), the winningest horse in the Open Pace this season, moved first over on Rock Diamonds N and looked to have put the leader away around the final turn. Crockets Cullen N gapped the pocket a bit as the top two battled it out but shifted gears once again turning for home. The eight year old New Zealander once again showed that knack for the wire that he has displayed in recent months and came on in the final strides to score in 1:53.3 for his seventh consecutive win in the Saturday night feature. Hudson Phil toughed it out to be second while Rock Diamonds N had to settle for the show spot in his local debut. Crockets Cullen N paid $8.20 to win and led an exacta and triple that returned $51 and $218.50, respectively. The last time Crockets Cullen N competed at Saratoga and did not win the Open Pace came all the way back in August.
Live racing continues on Sunday afternoon as Stalbaum and Tarantino’s Mr Cool Seaeyre N puts his two-race win streak in the Open Trot on the line in the $18,000 feature. The matinee begins at 12 Noon.
Photo: Melissa Simser-Iovino