Hudson Phil’s (Shanghai Phil) third consecutive Open Pace victory was recorded in a bit of an unconventional fashion on Saturday evening at Saratoga Casino Hotel. The Jackie Greene-trained pacer remained the public’s top choice in the wagering despite being assigned post eight for his try in the $15,000 feature. Driver Jay Randall powered Hudson Phil out to the early lead once again but after pacing a half in 56.1, the four year old Open star was overpowered in the backstretch by rival Starznheaven (Shawn Gray) who took over the lead past three quarters in 1:23.2. Starznheaven failed to clear though despite pacing his third quarter in 27 seconds and Hudson Phil rallied back on the rail to re-claim the lead turning for home. All the while, Yonkers invader Stars Align N (Steve Genois) was waiting for the passing lane where he wound up surging in the stretch to prevail in 1:52. The inquiry sign was immediately posted though and Stars Align N wound up being disqualified for causing interference in the first turn of the race and was subsequently placed last. That meant Hudson Phil was the winner for the sixth time in the local Open Pace this year for Greene and Randall. Starznheaven wound up being placed second while Military Master A (Mark Beckwith) ended up third following the DQ. Hudson Phil was the 3-2 betting favorite in the race and led a $17.20 exacta and $148.50 triple. The victory was the tenth this year in the Open Pace for trainer Jackie Greene who has three wins with Artful Way and one from Some Attitude to add to the six Saturday scores from Hudson Phil in the ’19 campaign.
Live racing continues on Sunday afternoon at Saratoga with a first post set for 12 Noon.
Photo: Melissa Simser-Iovino