Veteran pacer Dinner Guest (No Pan Intended) did something on Wednesday afternoon at Saratoga Casino Hotel that is very rare in harness racing. Normally, parlaying a pocket trip to victory after drawing the rail in a low-level condition race wouldn’t be anything of note but Dinner Guest is fourteen years old.
An award winner in 2018 as top Claiming Pacer of the Year at the Spa, the Frank Multari-trained veteran earned his first victory of the season on Wednesday as he came on to prevail in 1:55.4 in a conditional pace that went for a purse of $4,815.
Dinner Guest enjoyed a nine-win campaign last year but mustered up only a couple of second-place finishes as well as five thirds in a winless ’19 season before shaking loose late on Wednesday to score in 1:55.4. Veteran driver Dan Cappello Jr. sat behind the fourteen year old who went over the $730,000 mark in lifetime earnings with the win.
It is rare enough for any horse to still be racing at the age of fourteen, the maximum age for a standardbred to compete in a pari-mutuel event, but to still have enough in the tank to register a victory is certainly uncommon and impressive. The win was career number 76 for the classy veteran who is wrapping up a sensational dozen years of racing.
Live racing continues on Thursday afternoon with first post time set for 12 Noon. There is a $5,000 guaranteed Pick Five pool on Thursday as the Saratoga Harness Horseperson’s Association has teamed up with Saratoga Casino Hotel to offer the guarantee. The Pick Five, which begins in race one, is a fifty cent minimum wager.
Photo: Melissa Simser-Iovino