No horse has won the Open Pace at Saratoga Casino Hotel more than Crockets Cullen N has since 2019. Larry Stalbaum owns, trains and drives the veteran pacer who loves to win and recorded victories in the local pacing feature fifteen times between the 2019 and 2020 campaigns. This year, though the now ten year old came into Saturday night’s try with four wins on the season, he had yet to prevail in the Open Pace in ’21. That changed on Saturday for Crockets Cullen N as he got a ground-saving journey in the $14,000 feature before finding open road in the stretch and flying home. Crockets Cullen N got away third in the six-horse Open and stuck to the inside path as the leader Some Waratah A (Greg Merton), a four-time winner of the local Open Pace this season, set the fractions in the feature. Hudson Phil (Billy Dobson) sat the pocket to Some Waratah N and powered past that one late in the mile. All the while, the rail opened up for Crockets Cullen N who surged in the stretch before reeling in his rivals to record the first win of the season in the local Open for a horse who has made a home in the Saratoga winner’s circle over the last couple of years. On Saturday, the classy veteran stopped the timer in 1:53, paying $11.40 to win in the mild upset. Hudson Phil was the runner-up to complete a $34.60 exacta while Some Waratah A finished third to round out a $149 triple. Stalbaum went back-to-back on Saturday as his American Zest A cruised to a decisive victory in 1:53.1 in a $10,500 conditional race for pacers.
Live racing resumes on Monday afternoon with a first post set for noon.
Photo: Cheyanne Mandy