Trainer Jackie Greene is no stranger to Open Pace victories at Saratoga Casino Hotel. In fact, no trainer has won the Open more times in the past several years than Greene. Her Artful Way is the three-time defending Pacer of the Year at the Spa and since that veteran is a common participant in the Saturday night feature, some of Greene’s other top flight pacers are forced to race out of town. With Artful Way not in to go this week, Greene entered Hudson Phil (Shanghai Phil) into Saturday’s $15,000 Open Pace and the rising star started from post two. Hudson Phil finished second in his most recent try in the local Open in February before making two starts at the Meadowlands. Driver Jay Randall wasted no time in putting the four year old pacer on the front-end on Saturday and the youngster had to endure sizzling fractions on a chilly night in the Spa City. Parking out a rival, Hudson Phil clicked off a first quarter in 26.4 before reaching the half in 54.2. The demanding fractions didn’t seem to take their toll as Hudson Phil kept rolling along and actually opened up a big lead in the stretch before stopping the timer in 1:52.1, the fastest clocking of the year for any horse on the young season at Saratoga. Hudson Phil paid $6.20 to win as he bested last week’s Open winner Carolina Beach (Mark Beckwith) who had to settle for second. Havefaithinme N (Bruce Aldrich Jr) earned the show spot. An eight time winner in 2018, Hudson Phil recorded his first victory of the ’19 campaign on Saturday in what was his first career win in the local Open.
Live racing continues on Sunday afternoon at Saratoga with a matinee beginning at 12:00pm.
Photo: Melissa Simser-Iovino