Happy Heart (Woodstock) has been as solid as any pacing mare at Saratoga Casino Hotel in 2019 and on Thursday, the Melissa Beckwith trainee sprung the upset in the afternoon’s feature. Happy Heart was dismissed at odds of 16-1 despite drawing the rail in what wound up being a five-horse Open for distaffers following a scratch. The Fillies and Mares Open featured a 1-9 betting favorite as last week’s winner The Charging Moa N (Jay Randall) was back in town to try to defend her title from last Thursday’s eye-popping effort in the ladies Open. The Charging Moa N wound up first over this week and took over the lead past three quarters in 1:25. Happy Heart got shuffled back a bit before moving off the rail and fanning three-wide around the final turn. The six year old surged in the stretch and her closing effort was enough to track down The Charging Moa N to prevail in 1:54. Larry Stalbaum catch-drove Happy Heart on Thursday and piloted the mare to what was her third win in the local Open in 2019. Paying $35.20 in the upset, Happy Heart completed a training triple for Beckwith on the afternoon as her Best Honey Hanover and Mach Of Shame won conditional races earlier on in the matinee. The Charging Moa N came up second-best on Thursday to round out a $71.50 exacta. Happy Heart is owned by Tom McTygue and the Masie Stable, both of Saratoga Springs, NY.
Live racing resumes on Saturday evening with a first post time set for 6:45pm. There will be a Pick Five carryover of $1,361 on Saturday with the Pick Five beginning in race one.
Photo: Melissa Simser-Iovino