Happy Heart (Woodstock) came into Thursday’s feature at Saratoga Casino Hotel with a pair of second-place finishes in the Open Pace for fillies and mares in 2019. The Melissa Beckwith trainee scored three victories in the local feature last season and on Thursday recorded her first of the year as she closed sharply up the inside in the five-horse Open. Brian Cross picked up the catch-drive and sat third throughout the mile with Happy Heart before the rail opened up at the top of the stretch. With the race’s odds-on favorite Coveredndiamonds N (Jay Randall) starting to tire on the lead, pocket sitter Westsluckycam (Bruce Aldrich Jr) moved to the outside turning for home. The passing lane opened up for Happy Heart who was dismissed at odds of 7-1. The six year old mare surged up the rail and scored in 1:54.1. Westsluckycam finished second while Coveredndiamonds N had to settle for third in the $15,000 Open. Happy Heart paid $17.20 to win and led an exacta that returned $90.00.
Live racing resumes on Saturday evening at Saratoga with a first post scheduled for 6:45pm.
Photo: Melissa Simser-Iovino