Happy Heart (Woodstock) has been occasional participant in the Fillies and Mares Open at Saratoga Casino Hotel for the last few seasons. The Melissa Beckwith-trained mare scored a victory in the feature at the Spa this year back in May and following a second-place finish in the $15,000 Open last week drew the rail for her Thursday try. Mark Beckwith was in the sulky and got a pocket trip for Happy Heart as they sat behind the race’s favorite Eclipse Me N (Steve Genois). Eclipse Me N worked hard early, pacing the first quarter in 27.2 before getting a half in 56.3. Untested through three quarters in 1:25.1, Eclipse Me N’s strides shortened around the final turn and that is when Happy Heart made her move. All the while, Come Get The Cash (Jay Randall) was closing in after tipping off cover. Happy Heart got the jump on that one and wound up prevailing in 1:54 to record her second Open win of the season. Come Get The Cash extended her “on the board” streak as she was the runner-up on Thursday while Bontz N (Billy Dobson) came on to finish third following victories in the previous two installments of the Open. Happy Heart paid $11.20 to win in the mild upset and led an exacta and triple that returned $76.50 and $269.50, respectively. Happy Heart is owned by Tom McTygue and the Masie Stable, both of Saratoga Springs.
Live racing resumes on Saturday evening at Saratoga with a 14-race card featuring eight finals of the Excelsior A series of the New York Sire Stakes. Each of the eight divisions will go for a purse of $55,000. First post time is set for 6:45pm.
Photo: Melissa Simser-Iovino