Happy Heart (Woodstock) continued her recent strong stretch in the Fillies and Mares Open at Saratoga Casino Hotel when on Friday night she scored a wire-to-wire win. The feature field was reduced to just four participants following a scratch and Happy Heart and driver Mark Beckwith took full advantage. The five year old mare cruised out to an uncontested lead and coasted through a first half of just 58.4. It was with about 3/8 of a mile remaining in the $16,000 Open that Happy Heart was presented with her first challenge when the winner of the last two Fillies and Mares Opens Sally Fletcher A (Bruce Aldrich Jr) came rushing up to challenge. Together, Happy Heart and Sally Fletcher A comprised the exactas in three consecutive Friday features but this week, it would be Happy Heart hanging on to win and feature first-timer OK Jewel (Jimmy Devaux) coming on to finish second. Sally Fletcher A had to settle for third in the mile paced in 1:56. For Happy Heart, it was the third Open win of the season and extended her streak of hitting the board in the Friday feature to six. Despite the fact that the 3-5 favorite prevailed in just a four-horse field, the exacta with OK Jewel second returned a solid $26.80. Happy Heart, who is trained by Melissa Beckwith, has now recorded eight victories on the year.
Live racing continues on Saturday night at Saratoga with a 6:45pm first post.
Photo: Melissa SImser-Iovino